In 1968, Hubert Humphrey won the Democratic nomination only to see his challenge for the presidency fall apart because of riots at the National Convention hosting city of Chicago. After Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not seek to be reelected and the assassination of Robert Kennedy, both on the heels of the assassination of John F. Kennedy earlier in the decade, the Party’s frustration culminated with the Chicago riots and Richard Nixon comfortably winning the White House for the Republicans. A difficult, but crucial lesson on the importance of party unity was handed to Democrats that day.
Fast forward to 2008, when Hillary Clinton’s challenge of Barack Obama nearly caused the party split again, creating a tension between Clinton and Obama Democrats that still exist today. The experienced Clinton ultimately threw her support behind Obama. In 2016, Democrats face a similar situation with Bernie Sanders, who has publicly thrown his support behind Clinton but seems intent on making an impact at this summer’s convention. My goal is not to convince you [Bernie supporters] that Clinton is an angel or that Sanders is an inferior candidate, but instead that the goals of our Party are what really counts.
1. By not supporting Clinton, you are supporting Trump.
Yes, the Trump reference, oops. No matter how rabid your support is for Bernie and how opposed you are to Clinton, you must believe that Clinton is a better candidate for the presidency than Trump as a Democrat. This is not meant to be a shot at Donald Trump, but simply a reminder that your party needs you as we go up against a nominee who’s support is also just as intense as that of Bernie Sanders supporters. In truth, Clinton and Sanders are not that different from each other politically and any reluctance to support Clinton is more over her image than stances on important issues. There are some differences, such as Bernie’s claim to bring back troops in the Middle East while Clinton has been relatively quiet on the issue, which has attracted many liberals over to Bernie’s side. The differences between Clinton and Bernie are understandable, but Trump? There are surely irreconcilable differences between Trump and any Democrat and although Clinton may be the direct threat from preventing Sanders’ influence, there is more at stake in this election than beating a fellow party rival.
2. If Hillary Clinton was a man or had a lower profile, would more Democrats support her?
If I were to tell you that a Democratic nominee has served as Secretary of State, New York State Senator and was a politically involved first lady in the past 20 years, the qualifications would stack up against any other previously elected president in history. But since it’s Hillary, it’s not that simple. Her own supporters can admit that her reputation has been tarnished from private scandals, her email account and some controversial military decisions as Secretary of State. On top of some already controversial events, she is the first female nominee in history. However, I, along with millions of other Americans am not supporting Clinton in this election because she is a woman, but rather because she is the most qualified and prepared candidate in my respective party. I would imagine that for the majority of Bernie Sanders’s supporters, the fact that Clinton is a woman is a non-issue. However, both parties have attacked Clinton supporters because opponents believe we are merely voting to ensure that there is finally a woman in office. Regardless of your opinion on a woman as president, this is a presidential election and bias towards a race or gender has no place. I merely ask that Bernie supporters see Clinton for what she is, a seasoned, experienced politician who agrees with many of your political views.
3. Congress, Congress, Congress.
Congress. In my opinion, this is the key word of the election, especially if you are a Democrat. After years of seeing Obama labor in his attempts to push our party’s agenda, we need a politician who is prepared to work with both Conservatives and Liberals in order to obtain our party’s goals. You may ask that I recall Clinton’s failure to push Bill Clinton’s health plan through Congress, a project that she was in charge of. I do recall, but this was 20 years ago, when Clinton was as overzealous as Obama has been at times during his presidency. Bernie Sanders’s opinions are not as wild or inconceivable the way Donald Trump’s are, but they may still be too liberal to go up against a conservative House. Let me remind you of a similar president in Jimmy Carter, who like Sanders, appealed to Americans on being an outsider and a moralist. Carter was not a bad person or politician, but he was not reelected because once he was in office, he was forced to work with the same Washington politicians that he had called out for being corrupt and in need of change. Clinton may also be very liberal in the same way Carter was, but she may be our best bet if we wish to see any liberal ideas make it through Congress.