Salon Article Advocates Writing In Bernie Sanders If Clinton Wins Democratic Nomination

No Clinton

An article at Salon (More like Reagan than FDR: I’m a millennial and I’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton) is receiving some attention for providing reasons why the author would not vote for Hillary Clinton. Walker Bragman began by suggesting that the usual course would be to utilize primaries to try to select the candidate most aligned with the change he wants, and then vote for the lesser of two evils in the general election if it came to this. He argues that this strategy doesn’t apply this year due to the manner in which the DNC is resisting the possibility of selecting a change candidate in rigging the rules for Clinton.

Bragman then went through the arguments as to why he does not want to vote for Clinton. He started with Hillary’s personality repels me (and many others). The section would be better labeled with her character as opposed to personality, as it deals with her dishonesty and double talk.

The next section is more accurately labeled with On foreign policy, Clinton is a neoconservative. This section primarily deals with her approach to handling ISIS, and I would add more regarding her neoconservative views on Iraq and Libya.

The next section is On domestic policy, Clinton is basically a moderate Republican. Many examples are listed to back this up, concentrating on economic policy. I would have included her conservative views on civil liberties and social/cultural issues. Of course an article would have to be quite long to include all the reasons why liberals should not vote for Clinton–and I have pointed out other posts elsewhere along these lines in the past.

The final section is Choosing Hillary threatens the future of the Democratic Party. The section notes the conservative background of New Democrats such as Bill Clinton. I would also take this a step further. Hillary Clinton supports many ideas which Democrats would never accept from a Republican, but many Democrats defend when it comes from Clinton. Similarly, Democrats would be very skeptical of a Republican who received such large contributions from Wall Street, or who benefited financially from parties they were making decisions about. Yet many Democrats ignore unethical conduct from Clinton they would never accept from a Republican. Maybe this wouldn’t hurt the future of the Democratic Party, but it would leave us with a Democratic Party which stands for even less than the party now stands for. That threaten the future of the nation.

The article gives many excellent reasons to vote for Sanders over Clinton in the primaries, along with reasons to be upset if the system gives the nomination to Clinton without a fair fight. However, should Clinton win the nomination, it does not address the fact that the Republican candidate will be even more conservative than Clinton on some issues. While Clinton is more like Reagan than FDR, and is in many ways a combination of George W. Bush and Richard Nixon, the Republican Party has moved much further to the right in recent years.

This leaves the question as to whether it will matter if Clinton or a Republican wins–which is more difficult to say without knowing which Republican will be the GOP nominee. It is definitely possible that there will be no meaningful difference with regards to foreign policy and civil liberties issues if Clinton or a Republican wins. There is the danger that the next president will be hostile to government transparency, and nobody has reached the level of the Clinton corruption in using the office of the presidency to enhance their personal worth. We will probably see a continuation of the surveillance state and of the drug war regardless of whether Clinton or a Republican wins.

The biggest danger in a Clinton presidency would be that many Democrats will support conservative policies, leaving a weak liberal opposition to her policies, while there would be greater unity in opposing what might even be the exact same policies coming from Republicans.

The biggest upside to Clinton winning over the Republicans might be that after campaigning as a progressive for the nomination, she will continue to govern as one. At very least Clinton would support a handful of liberal positions such as reproductive rights if elected. While this would be favorable, it is hardly enough to be happy with the prospect of her election considering her many conservative views. Unfortunately we have already seen her swing to the right on some issues and she has shown throughout her career that she cannot be trusted to stand up for liberal ideas. Much of the differences we now see between Clinton and the GOP candidates are far less differences on the issues and more a matter of which party’s voters they are currently trying to attract.

The biggest differences could be the veto pen and the Supreme Court. There is now the possibility of a bill reaching Obama’s desk to repeal Obamacare from the Republican Congress–and we can be certain it will not be replaced with a single payer system. If this happens, Obama will veto it. Clinton would also veto it, along with other conceivable damaging legislation the Republicans might get through Congress. Clinton would also choose Supreme Court justices from a far different pool than any Republican president would, and it is possible they would be more conventional Democrats as opposed to ones as conservative as she is.

I don’t mean this to argue either way as to whether Sanders supporters should vote for Clinton or write in Sanders should Clinton win the Democratic nomination. It is far too early to argue over this, especially considering that we don’t know who will win either party’s nomination at this point. It is also way too early, and far too annoying, for Clinton supporters to constantly interrupt discussion among Sanders or O’Malley supporters on Facebook, and elsewhere in social media, to ask if they will vote for Clinton in the general election. It certainly shows a degree of insecurity about their candidate that they are so fearful that many Democrats will not turn out to vote for their candidate in the general election.

Not living in a battle ground state also makes it far easier for me to consider what would amount to a protest vote should Clinton win the nomination, while I might vote differently if I anticipated a situation like Florida in 2000. Rather than writing in Sanders, as many now say they will do, I would first take a closer look at the Green Party, feeling that this might help build a more long term opposition force from the left than writing in Sanders would. This is about policy positions, not personalities. And as for the comparison to Gore in 2000, there is a major difference. It was unfortunate that Bush and not Gore won due to their different views on foreign policy, leading to the Iraq war. In this case, Clinton shares the neoconservative views which we would have been better off keeping out of office in 2000.

An updated version of this post which elaborates more on some of the issues raised has been posted at The Moderate Voice


  1. 1
    feet_ontheground says:

    You don't take into account how very corrupt Hillary Clinton is and the reality that she Lies and Takes positions of political convenience all of the time.  She hedges her bets as to what she can 'get away with'.  You don't seem to take into account that we are now being ruled by an Oligarchy.  Part of What Bernie Sanders represents is a Leader That IS in a position to take on the billionaires class.  HIllary is  a member of the Oligarchy and they OWN her.  

    Once you accept that you may begin to understand that veto pen and SCOTUS are no longer enough to hold as a gun to our heads to get us to accept the candidate CHOSEN BY THE OLIGARCHY.

    The playing field is already very uneven.  Hillary is being propped up by a Corrupt DNC, Corrupt Corporate Media, and a Corrupt Democratic Establishment.  When you look at Bernie Sanders endorsements they are few because too many fear losing the gravy train they are enmeshed in.  They have already sold out.  

    It has been proven and verified that OUR government does not represent the people.  Instead the Wealthy Elite wield Enormous power over OUR Government.

    Those of us joining the Political & Cultural Revolution Against Oligarchy & Predatory Capitalism Are Fighting To Discover Whether there is Any 'Real' Democracy Left.  It may be just for show.  We will have to take this fight one stage at a time.

    First We Work To Win The Nomination For Bernie Sanders, from there we continue to build an organized movement and experiment with How WE Can Be Effective in creating the changes We Want to See W Our New President.

    If somehow that doesn't work, then we discuss a write in and the same organizing the movement to see if we can win without a party.

    If we fail in both of those efforts the revolution takes on new meaning because we will KNOW that our government is not legitimate and that will be clear to the world.

    This is not election as usual so vote for the lesser because SCOTUS.  This Election Is The People Vs Rule By Corporations & Billionaires.  THEY SUCK AT LEADING THIS COUNTRY & TOO MUCH IS AT STAKE !! #BernieOrBust #OurRevolution #WeStandTogether

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I did note how corrupt and dishonest she is in the post, and have discussed these matters in far more detail in other posts.

  3. 3
    Leila Deurell says:

    You're right. I can never vote for Hillary, Bernie is my guy all the way.

  4. 4
    Reality check says:

    are you kidding? make no mistake, a "write in" vote for Bernie Sanders after the primaries is a vote for the Republican Party!

  5. 5
    Michael Veloff says:

    This kind of article is very destructive to 3rd Party aspirations on the Left.  As a member of the Green Party of Ohio, I have had spoiler arguments used against me, now it is my turn to use the argument against this author.  Does the author seriously believe that Sanders could win in a General Election write-in and does the author understand that this type of voting activity is the ultimate wasting of the vote, is destructive not only to the GP, but helps the GOP as well by splitting the Dem vote?

  6. 6
    Natalie Gray says:

    I've bitten my lip and voted for Democrats I wasn't excited about quite a few times. I have become more progressive as I've aged…(I know, backwards), and I am tired of that. Nothing changes. In fact, things have gotten a lot worse since I started voting, and it is always necessary for us to vote for the lesser of two evils..Well, at this point, I think that if we vote for a Democratic Senate and Congress, but write in Bernie, we will just stop the Republicans from making any progress, just like they have stopped us. That would be better than voting for Hillary, who is not the lesser of two evils, but just corrupt and tired. Bernie will bring out voters and we could win the whole shebang. The Democratic party is too dumb to see that. This just might clean up the Democratic party. They all have a lot to lose, and while I would like to vote them all out, we can scare them into being Democrats again, instead of whatever they are now…Republican Lite does seem most apt.

  7. 7
    Peggy James says:

    Whether the scandals involving the Clinton's are true or false, they have created much confusion and mistrust among democrats. And, it is obvious to 1000's of intelligent people, that many of the democrats serving as public servants have been swayed by the easy money too. The main reason I lost respect for the republican leaders is their quest for more money instead of looking out for the country's best interest. Sadly, it is occurring in both parties. It has to stop!  Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren refuse to fall in the "crooked big money trap." They are dedicated true leaders. My vote is with Senator Bernie Sanders all the way to the White House. He has all the qualities and abilities of a true leader!  Bernie is kind, honest, humble, authentic, energetic, intelligent, experienced, and passionate about all the children succeeding in this country, thus building a stronger and brighter USA for future generations. If the Clinton's are true democrats and have democratic values, it is time they step aside and out of the race and support Bernie Sanders. We need to pass the petition and ask Hillary Clinton to step down before a republican candidate ends up as president!  We need to write to our democrat leaders and ask them to support Bernie Sanders for president so we can get integrity and honesty back in our government..

  8. 8
    Dave says:

    The problem with this article is that no consideration is/was given to the effect a Republican president will have on the composition of the Supreme Court which can affect generations of Americans and which could result in overturning many progressive precedents (Roe v. Wade maybe and others we take as a given). Look before you leap.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    Reality check–that is why I differentiated between protest votes in non-battle ground states versus voting in battle ground states.

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:


    That is why I suggested looking into the Green Party as opposed to writing in Sanders. Doing either is essentially a protest vote, with no chance of winning. However there could be a future in building a third party, while writing in Sanders is a lone protest act which does not lead to anything.

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    Dave, I did note the issue of the Supreme Court in this post on the Salon article.

  12. 12
    anon4mail says:

    I agree with most of what feet_ontheground said … except the part about solely focusing on helping Bernie win the primary. I also disagree with Ron Chusid that "It is far too early to argue over this (writing in Bernie Sanders in the November 2016 election), especially considering that we don’t know who will win either party’s nomination at this point."

    Fuck no! The DNC has ALREADY RIGGED the primary. I've already COMMITTED to WRITING IN BERNIE in November, no matter how the primary turns out … AND I WANT MY ELECTED DEMOCRATS TO KNOW THAT, so they have the opportunity to reconsider their plan to rig the primary. Perhaps they'd prefer to be a strong, united party, backing Bernie Sanders, rather than a bloody, infighting mess (like the Republicans are experiencing), with many seats lost, by insisting on coronating corrupt Hillary Clinton. Because THAT IS HOW IT'S GONNA BE IN NOVEMBER – GUARANTEED! And when I vote for Bernie in November, I'm voting the Hillary-endorsers out too. I'm sure the movement can get organized enough between the primary and the election, to come up with a simple list of names to WRITE IN FOR THEIR JOBS TOO. feet_ontheground is EXACTLY right that the SCOTUS fearmongering is NOT going to work this time. If Wall-Street-owned-Hillary or any of the Wall-Street-owned-republicans win the election, we'll have NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE. We won't even have hope without Bernie, and I KNOW they don't want to take it that far. THEY have too much to lose.

  13. 13
    Tricia Morgan says:

    Indeed, it is so defeating to see how the DNC has planned Clinton's "crowning" for several years.  When Senators and Governors, as well as other Democratic elite, have already endorsed Hillary across the board, with not one

    Senator endorsing Senator Sanders, one knows this has been planned long ago before the campaign even began. The first speech Sanders gave, he said we were becoming an oligarchy – I would suggest we are not becoming, it has already happened.  I read that the Democratic Party is down $2,400,000 less than they had planned this month – and no wonder – who is moved to give to a party that seems less and less Democratic each day.

    And, of course, the press follows suit, and, in many cases, you would have to search to find any mention of Bernie – as column after column rants on about Trump and Carson.  Speaking of a rant, this is becoming to sound like one, but it feels so totally beyond the voter's chance to change it.  It leaves me feeling furious and helpless !

  14. 15
    Richard Anderson says:

    The optimal benefit for democratic socialists should Bernie fail to be the nominee of the Democratic Party would be the dissolution of that Party as it is presently constituted.  Whatever one chooses to call the current Democratic Party, what it has become is little more than a vote harvesting machine to support neo-liberal and neo-conservative policies which are the diametric opposite of the historical, pre-Clinton Party. Beyond that, neo-con, neo-lib solutions are the death of constitutional, representational government as we have known it. 

  15. 16
    Ron Chusid says:

    Max, while there are valid reasons to vote for Clinton as the lesser of two evils, I’m not impressed by the Salon article you linked to. The author really does not appear to understand the differences between Sanders and Clinton and tries to whitewash Clinton’s record.

  16. 17
    Stephen Justino says:

    I think that Bernie's campaign represents the last stand of the "democratic wing of the Democratic Party" (Note the lower case "d" – it's a crucial distinction). He is still a long shot candidate, but I actually think he can pull off the upset, and for that reason, I have supported, and will continue to support him in his quest for the Presidency. America NEEDS Bernie Sanders in the White House. 

    But, and this is a very important "but," if Bernie loses the nomination, and he endorses Hillary, he will cease being a candidate "of the people, " and he reduce himself into being the "Democratic sheepdog" that many on the left have warned us about. 

    I will NOT waste my vote by writing in the name of a sheepdog. Instead, I cast a principled vote for the GREEN party candidate.

  17. 18
    Richard Moser says:

    It was triangulation by the Clintons that drove both the Democrats and Republicans to the extreme right. 

    Sanders or Green in 2016!

  18. 19
    Mike Castro says:

    I wonder why no one is talking about another very obvious possibility that is likely to come up if the DNC steals the primary election in favor of HRC… THE POSSIBILITY OF A CREDIBLE INDEPENDENT PICKING UP THE POPULIST/PROGRESSIVE BANNER and storming straight into the White House (not a problematic write-in campaign, though I would support it if it was genuinely viable, nor the feeble gesture of voting for the antagonistically reticent Green Party). Besides the fact that 45% of the electorate consider themselves "Indepentdent" and support for the major parties is at an all-time low (27%Dem., 23%Rep.), there is very clear precedent for the likely succes of just such a possibility.

    The precedent is 1992, when Bill Clinton's suspect neo-liberalism and already tainted credentials with respect to corruption and trust (he already had a string of scandals to answer for and was already known to have largely sold-out to corporate interests in Arkansas, most notably for environmentalists, allowing Tyson Chicken to pollute all the rivers and creeks with their waste products taking Arkansas from the 4th most pristine to the 6th most polluted state in the nation) defeated the populist/progressive uprising of the day represented by current and former California Governor Jerry Brown (who accepted only $100 in campaign contributions from any individual to underscore the need to address big money in politics and was warning about climate change when there was still time to address it meaningfully)…

    When it was clear that the principled people's movement represented by Brown was going down, Ross Perot threw his hat into the ring and immediately climbed to the top of the polls and stayed there unit he imploded after alleged CIA trolling of his daughters wedding ("coincidently" taking place during the Democratic convention). Up to that point, Clinton was running third behind George Bush Sr. and only started climbing in the polls as the lesser of two evils compared to the Republican, when Perot was successfully smeared as a kook.

    This year the populist/progressive uprising is stronger than ever. Bernie Sanders is a purer representative of the real needs of the people than anyone alive has ever seen. HRC is even more blatantly sold-out and tainted by controversy than her husband ever was. And the Repblicans are more regressive and out-of-touch than anyone even imagined possible…

    Jesse Ventura has already declared that he would consider this option if his chosen favorite and publicly endorsed candidate Bernie Sanders were to falter. If Bernie refuses to get behind his own write-in campaign, as seems likely the best option for the people's movement would be BACK A TRUE INDEPENDENT, whoever that may turn out to be. 

    The A plan is for Bernie Sanders to win the Dem. nomination and cakewalk into the Presidency. But the B plan should not be a weak demoralized, lesser-of-two-evils or symbolic protest vote… This is the year that the people really need to take their government back, both for the sake of the democracy and nation, as well as the very livability of the planet itself. As Bernie himself has said on many occasions… "WE'RE IN IT TO WIN IT !". That should be the motto of the people's urgent and timely political revolution, with or without him !!!

  19. 20
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    The splitters begin.

    That worked out just swell in 2000 and again in 2004.

  20. 21
    Mary Carlson says:

    OMG! I am so tired of Clinton suporters and their, " if you don't vote for Hillary you are voting for the Republicans!" Whining! If the Democratic party chooses a Republican Lite candidate, and real Democrats refuse to support her , then blame the party,not the voters!  And , quite frankly, if she is the best we can do, it's time to burn it down, and start fresh! They have to know voters have had ENOUGH! We won't settle for whomever the corporations serve up anymore! Dammit!

  21. 22
    Steven says:

    If Bernie doesn't win the nomination it will be because of corruption so I will write in Bernie. It would not surprise me to see a mass migration of progressives to progressive areas of states like Oregon and Washington. Bernie may be our last chance to save the unity of our country. Can you live under corporate fascism? I can't and won't. Berner's, we must work like we have never worked before to get Bernie's message out there. 

  22. 23
    Shaun says:

    Regarding the lessor of two evils argument, I reply with the frog in the pot metaphor.


    a softer, gentler slide into fascism is not preferrable to a immediate shift which The People can feel and respond against.


    Not only will I vote against Hillary if she's the nominee, I will vote against the Democratic Party all the way down the ticket?

    Don't like it? Don't vote Hillary in the Primary.

  23. 24
    gene says:

    While I prefer Bernie, and am working for him, and will vote for him in the primary, I do not agree with this write-in idea. And I am confident that my fellow union members in our area labor federation also do not agree. Regardless of the claim that Clinton's evolution to oppose the TPP and the Keystone XL Pipeline is not as consistent or as pure as Sanders' historically principled stands, she has still come out against them. The author of the write-in article has also discounted Clinton's pro-choice stance and her strength among women. But that is his problem, not hers. Clinton also knows that she cannot win the presidency if the large bloc of Sanders supporters stay home just because she is nominated. So, she must deliver on some progressive issues in order to get them to vote, and in order win, and to help elect progressive down-ticket Democrats. The write-in campaign will not triumph due to lack of numbers. And it must also be viewed against the backdrop of the Green Party campaign, which will attempt to attract Sanders supporters. Writing-in for Sanders will quite likely guarantee a Republican victory. And that will make things worse for the American people. And worse is not better!

  24. 25
    Ryan Ramlow says:

    The SCOTUS argument is a paper tiger. It's electorally impossible forthe GOP to gain a supermajority in the Senate. We have the silent filibuster in the Senate to prevent confirmations of Supreme Court justices. We could simply maintain vacancies on the SCOTUS for a couple of years until President Warren takes office and loads the bench with actual Progressives.

    Senate Dems could also torpedo most GOP legislation, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office and wields the veto pen.


  25. 26
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Splitters gave us GW, his wars, his torture, his domestic spying, and so on and so on.

    We're STILL living with the mess.

    Nice work.

  26. 27
    Ron Chusid says:

    Philo, you ignore the problem that Clinton supports his wars and domestic spying.

  27. 28
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    A splitter always minimizes the difference between the actual or presumed Democratic nominee and the Republicans and magnifies the difference between that Democrat and the preferred leftist.

    That's you all over, Ron.

  28. 29
    Ron Chusid says:


    Did you even read the post? If you did, you certainly did not understand what I am saying.

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