Why Are So Many People ‘Bernie Or Bust’?

“Bernie or Bust.”

It’s that simple.

The arguments against this radical opinion have become shame-inducing chants: SCOTUS, Planned Parenthood, civil and human rights.

But those who feel strongly for Bernie Sanders aren’t having it. They say they’re tired of the plutocracy that governs virtually all aspects of the U.S. government. They say they are tired of being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

Enough is enough, as Bernie Sanders often says. The time for the political revolution is here, and if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination, many of his supporters would rather see a Republican in office than hold their nose and vote for her. In other words, it’s “Bernie or Bust.”

This thought process seems counterproductive to the progressive agenda. How can anyone justify allowing someone like Donald Trump or even worse, Ted Cruz, to be elected? The assumption is that this will send a clear message to the Democratic National Committee and in particular, to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, that suppressing Democratic voters will not result in the outcome they expect.

Voters today will not simply fall in line with the nominee, especially when that nominee is so divisive and controversial. In January, a CBS/New York Times poll revealed that up to 14 percent of voters would refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. Washington Times spoke with Bill Packer, one of those people who vowed to never vote for her.

Packer is a retired veteran, one of the older voters who feels that ‘Bernie or Bust’ is the way to go.

“I support Bernie. It’s a no-brainer. He has been consistent over his entire political career…and that’s exactly the same items I have stood for in my own life. It’s an absolute right, not a privilege, to have health care. And to get money out of politics. Money is really the cause of all of our dilemmas right now. If you look at Wall Street and how the one percent gains and everybody else loses, that’s a wrong system. Our capitalist system is broken.”

Electing HIllary Clinton, then, would not fix anything, he claims, since she is “bought and paid for” by big businesses.

Clinton’s veritable flip-flopping hasn’t inspired much trust in her, either. According to a December Quinnipiac Poll, more people distrust Clinton than they do trust her. Her center-right policies also leave voters feeling less than enthusiastic about her, leaving them wondering exactly what difference would it make if Clinton or a Republican were elected. Her willingness to compromise on progressive issues such as Planned Parenthood don’t endear her to voters, either.

A Salon piece from January makes the point that if Hillary gets the nomination for 2016, there’s a good chance a Republican will occupy the White House because many people who feel ‘Bernie or Bust’ will stay home. But 2020, which is a census year, would leave the door open for an even more progressive candidate to run against the incumbent and possibly win.

“2020 could see the Democrats take the presidency, the House and the Senate — and with the likelihood that two or three seats will open on the court, they’d control all three branches of the government.”

The typical argument against the “Bernie or Bust” strategy is that liberals would lose a seat on the Supreme Court between 2016 and 2020. It’s a risk many voters feel they must take in order to gain back a measure of control over a broken electoral system. The ‘lesser of two evils’ option is no longer viable or acceptable.

The rationale of this “Bernie or Bust” opinion is that a Republican may not be in control for long, and it is the people’s chance to finally stand up and say, despite the rigged election system, that they still have a voice that must be heard. For this plan to work, though, people will still need to vote. They must either write in Sanders or vote for a third party for president, then vote for all progressives for Congressional, state, and local seats. For even if a Republican were to win the presidential election, if enough progressives won Congress, it would balance it out.

The website Citizens Against Plutocracy offers a pledge to voters who want to send a clear message to the Democratic establishment. The pledge offers voters an opportunity make their intentions known to either write in Bernie Sanders or to vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, in its “Bernie or Bust” pledge.

“Bernie is the underdog, and he’s going to be vastly outspent by Secretary Clinton. Ninety-six percent of the time the candidate spending the most money wins a race.”

In 2016, Bernie Sanders’ grassroots campaign has gained more momentum than the DNC had anticipated and the ‘Bernie or Bust’ movement is getting more vocal, as well.

[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]