George Takei, actor and political activist, likes Bernie Sanders, but believes the #BernieOrBust movement is foolhardy and damaging to the very fabric of our nation and society, as many fervent supporters of Sanders have taken to claiming they will not vote for Hillary Clinton in the likely chance that she becomes the Democratic nominee.
On Wednesday, Takei posted a video to his Facebook page, urging those passionate supporters of Bernie Sanders to reject the “Bernie or Bust!” mentality and open themselves to supporting Hillary Clinton. So far, the video has over 2 million views.
“This is a message from me, to all who voted or will vote in the Democratic primary,” Takei wrote, introducing his video. “Please, try not to freak out, friends, and don’t troll others here.”
Takei’s message is an important one for Democrats if they want to remain in the White House. As it becomes apparent that Clinton is, in fact, the presumptive Democratic nominee, it is also becoming increasingly apparent that the #BernieorBust movement, whereby supporters pledge to either write in Sanders’s name on the presidential ballot or vote Jill Stein, the Green candidate, in order to “revolt against the plutocracy” may hurt Clinton’s chances at winning the general election.
And with Donald Trump emerging as the clear Republican frontrunner — a candidate whose very mental fitness for the office is being questioned — and inching ever closer to becoming the actual GOP nominee, the idea of Clinton losing the general election is, to Democrats, a terrifying thought. Takei believes that “nothing less than the soul of our nation” is at stake, and so he urged Democrats, and those Independents who support Bernie, to come together in support of Clinton should she get the actual nomination of the Democratic party. He likened the battle between the #BernieOrBust supporters and Clinton supporters to family infighting.
“Ultimately, we Democrats know that a bit of a tussle isn’t a bad thing. It makes us stronger, keeps us sharp. It’s like a family squabble, where only family — those very close to us — can truly get under our skin. But remember this, too — it’s precisely because we like and respect each other that the words and criticisms sting as much as they do.”
Takei isn’t alone in his view that the Bernie or Bust movement is a dangerous mistake. Readers of the Los Angeles Times were given the opportunity to react to the idea that the Bernie or Bust movement may ultimately give the United States a President Trump.
“I may agree with much of what Sanders stands for, but as a moderate, I find the extreme positions taken by some of his supporters to be irresponsible,” Philip Wiener wrote, stating that the threat to vote against Hillary Clinton is dangerous.
“We have a right — no, a responsibility — to vote for the person who most closely represents our views. When the dust settles and the names are on the November ballot, consider that if one’s favorite candidate is not among the eventual choices, each person who then refuses to vote becomes a vote for the people they are most against.”
George Takei is, and has been, an openly admiring fan of Bernie Sanders but, Takei says, he is a realist, and the math is clear: Hillary Clinton is the likely nominee of the Democratic Party, and he will support the Democratic nominee, whoever he or she may be.
“[…] I’ve also been a fan of Bernie Sanders. Much of what he stood for and helped bring to the forefront in this primary are things I too have fought for. I stood with the protesters at Occupy Wall Street and have spoken out often for campaign finance reform. I crowd-funded to defeat entrenched corporate interests in Congress. So I like Bernie. A lot of folks like Bernie. Even God, Himself, sent Bernie a tweet. But having been through many bruising primaries in my life, I’m also a realist. From where I sit, the math is clear. Hillary will likely win, and she will be our nominee. But that doesn’t mean Bernie didn’t also win. He won in a myriad of ways, none more so than energizing the Democratic base in a way no one expected. Young people in particular have become so passionate about this election. Because they recognize the historic importance at stake is nothing less than the very soul of our nation. So I’m asking Democrats out there to take a pledge, along with me.”
Takei also listed all the major points of agreement between Clinton and Sanders. Among those key issues he listed were the expansion of medicare, raising the minimum wage, protecting a woman’s right to choose, funding Planned Parenthood, making college affordable and accessible, passing immigration reform, and combating climate change.
Takei also highlighted the fact that the next president will be making Supreme Court appointments. Those appointments will shape law for years to come, and with a Democrat in the White House, the appointees will be liberal choices, with values that Democrats share.
Takei ended with reminding viewers that Bernie Sanders himself has said even on her worst day, “Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and president than the Republican candidate on his best day.”
And Takei was adamant that, if a viewer lives in a state that has not voted in the primary yet, that of course, that person should “make your voice heard for the candidate you prefer.”
But come November, Takei says, vote blue no matter who.
As he told MSNBC host Chris Hayes, “Elections have consequences.”
[Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images]