I don’t think it’s new to say that I’ve been a strong Bernie Sanders supporter in this presidential election. My reasons, as I’ve written before, are simple. Bernie has been one of the few candidates in political history to take my issues, and my generation, seriously. He has focused his campaign on creating a sustainable America that my generation can be proud to inherit. And further, Bernie has been widely ignored by the media and only noticed as a “fringe candidate”, making my unyielding support necessary to promote him for the presidency.
That said, I’m voting for Hillary Clinton in November.
I got the chance to see Bernie Sanders speak at a campaign rally in Binghamton, New York. In my college town, he came and spoke about the need for radical change in America. The crowd was with him in every line of his speech, because this is an audience where Bernie thrives: average and lower-middle class Americans, who need these changes in order to survive in a changing America. I was probably one of the loudest cheering in the stadium that morning. However, there was something that struck me strange in each of Bernie’s speaking points — he never bashed Hillary or the Clinton campaign. He mentioned her, but silenced the jeers that followed her name. He did nothing but speak on his own behalf, and argue against the big money that dominates American politics. While he bashed the political culture that seemingly surrounds her, he never insulted Hillary — his greatest political nemesis — directly.
Leaving the rally, this was my biggest takeaway. Bernie represented a shift in politics to me, a political culture that I’d want to participate in. He wanted only the issues to dominate the conversation. He wanted Democrats to discuss nothing but the nominee who would best represent their takes on the issues that matter to them. Bernie has always prioritized a unified Democratic party over his presidential campaign. While he wanted this unified support to rally behind him, he showed the American public that this election is larger than just himself on Tuesday.
Bernie Sanders officially endorsed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. What does this mean?
While Bernie is still very much involved in the presidential election, and will be contesting Hillary’s nomination at the Democratic convention this summer, he is effectively announcing his defeat. However, he does not seem saddened to leave this race. In his latest email to his campaign’s mailing list, he explained his actions more, giving his supporters the idea that he is not conceding to Hillary, but rather, recognizing the opportunity to lead the way in the Democratic party’s unification.
In his email, “Forever forward” Bernie wrote: “I know that some of you will be disappointed with that decision. But I believe that, at this moment, our country, our values, and our common vision for a transformed America, are best served by the defeat of Donald Trump and the election of Hillary Clinton.”
He continued, “You should know that in the weeks since the last primary, both campaigns have worked together in good faith to bridge some of the policy issues that divided us during the election. Did we come to agreement on everything? Of course not. But we made important steps forward.” Bernie went on to list Hillary’s latest endorsement of a free college tuition program, modeled after the one Bernie’s campaign has been promoting, as well as her continued support for better healthcare systems that help middle America. Essentially, Bernie spent the entirety of his email speaking earnestly to his supporters, endorsing both Hillary and other politicians for the presidential and congressional races being run. Bernie might be losing the metaphorical battle, but he’s sending help to those fighting the war against the political culture he has staked his career against. I am still a Bernie supporter, but this support can mean understanding the intentions of Bernie’s campaign beyond just the political rhetoric we hear at rallies. This means understanding the larger implications of this election, and the future which I fight for by supporting Bernie Sanders. To me, this can mean supporting Hillary as the Democratic nominee.
This is not meant to say that I am giving unwavering support to Hillary and her campaign, as it has never been about that for Bernie’s campaign. I would never give full support to any politician without remaining skeptical — that’s the heart of political discourse, after all. Hillary needs to be criticized and debated. From the scandals her husband faced and his possible role in her administration, to the legacy Hillary left behind as the Obama administration’s Secretary of State (and the taste in left in some people’s mouths), to Hillary’s current controversies about her “damn emails”, she has a lot of questions left to answer. But it’s the answers that continue to convince me of Hillary’s worth as a political candidate, and a presidential nominee.
I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because of what she represents for the future of my country, a future in which I am forced to be invested. Hillary has shown that she is valuing the unity of the Democratic party above the pettiness of politics. Hillary has shown that she is looking after my generation, even if not as directly as Bernie had during his campaign. Hillary has earned my vote, and should continue to fight for the rest of my country’s votes until the brutal election day in November.
If you truly support Bernie Sanders, you won’t use your vote in November to write his name onto the ballot. You’ll vote for Hillary, to continue a fight with every issue Bernie has raised, and help unify the Democratic party like Bernie has laid the groundwork to do. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because I believe a brighter future in America is only possible with a unified Democratic party. I believe that the current Republican nominee presents a real threat to my country, culture and way of life. And I believe that every single member of my party has an opportunity to fight these threats, and continue Bernie’s fight after this presidential election. So, I’ll see you all in November at the voting booths. And you all know whose name will be at the top of my ballot.
Photo credit: Cover. See disclaimer.
Disclaimer: The pictures of Bernie Sanders in Binghamton, New York (above) are my own. Please contact for personal use and sharing.