Nominations and Recriminations

Warning: a non-American’s views on the behaviour of Democrats from both camps regarding the nomination. Please do not read if you think people outside of the country don’t have a right to comment, because it’ll just piss you off.

Ok, so I understand the problems with Bernie as a candidate and the reality of the choice right now between Hillary and Trump, but the rhetoric and crowing on all sides is getting to me. I know it isn’t my country, but there is literally nowhere on earth the result of this election doesn’t affect, so I feel comfortable in claiming the right to talk about it.

First, Bernie supporters: the numbers are not a conspiracy, they’re just numbers. We keep counting votes and regions after someone reaches a majority, but not because we think there’s some magic thing going to happen. Under the current system you have, whether you believe it’s fair or not, Hillary has won the nomination.

I understand and, to a degree support, the desire to keep going until all areas have an opportunity to vote. Not because, as has been characterised by HRC supporters, he’s a man so will keep going even after everyone else has made their decision, but because it’s important to know the numbers and get a snapshot of the demographics of socialist support in the US. People deserve the opportunity to say ‘I want a Democrat Party which is further left than it will likely be under Hillary’.

But, Bernie fans, there’s no conspiracy. Or, at least, not one beyond the massive oligarchy that runs the world, but not at this granular a level. They didn’t need to steal the nomination. Bernie got so much further than anyone should have realistically imagined he would, but he didn’t make his case to enough people and he made a series of glaring and major missteps. He was not the perfect candidate. His loss is on him and his more repellent supporters, who he did not distance himself from enough.

Now, Hillary fans, I know this has been a rough campaign, and many of Bernie’s followers have acted terribly, and I’m glad you guys are happy with the result. However, I have a couple of reservations.

First of all, yes, most people do completely get that the rational choice at this stage is to vote for Hillary because the alternative is Trump, but framing people’s reluctance to as bigotry or Republican brainwashing is also unhelpful. Yes, for a certain number of people it’s those things, and for others it’s sour grapes, but for many it’s because they see no winners here. There are varying degrees of awfulness, but that isn’t anything to be positive about.

Much as people may rail against the idea, there *is* a progressive argument to be made for not supporting Hillary in this, even with the possible result of a Trump presidency. It’s not the ridiculous leftist revolution idea, which is mostly just borne out of the privilege of knowing you’d not be a targeted group, but it is a brutal, utilitarian argument. It mainly depends on whether you view the US as just another country or as the most powerful and influential country in the world.

Leaving that aside, though, expecting people whose criticism of Hillary isn’t based on her clothes or her ‘shrillness’ to not react badly when told they’re misogynist, brainwashed Trump goons, or to not voice their criticisms when faced with the likelihood of her presidency, is foolish and actively harmful to your campaign.

Bernie didn’t make his case, but he has a lot of supporters. Hillary has to make her case to them, and it has to be stronger than ‘I’m not Trump’ if voters are expected to be enthused enough to go vote for her. Giving them a reason to vote for her starts with addressing their actual concerns. Obviously not the ridiculous ones – the conspiracies and the sexism – but the genuine concerns about her public record and actions in office. If not directly, then by offering some areas of policy where there is room to move left, and having a genuine conversation about them.

The stakes are high in this election, and the world is on tenterhooks, but for a range of different reasons. I don’t envy any of you the next few months or whatever the fallout will be, but whatever it is, its shockwaves will be felt around the world.


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