There are two camps of Bernie Sanders supporters: Those who are Bernie or Bust, and those who believe that we must prevent Trump from winning no matter what. Those in the second camp argue that the very future of our democracy is at stake, and therefore, we cannot afford a conservative president who may tip the balance of the Supreme Court to the conservative side.
But this argument simply doesn’t wash for a number of reasons. In the last 40 years, each president has had an average of two Supreme Court appointments confirmed by Congress.
Jimmy Carter, a one-term president, had no opportunities to make any Supreme Court appointments, although he appointed 56 justices to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Two of those appointments are now members of the Supreme Court: Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
In two terms, Ronald Reagan appointed four Supreme Court justices. Since then, each president has appointed just two. President Obama could have three under his belt if Congress stops blocking his chosen appointment.
The Supreme Court currently has eight sitting justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts. Three of the remaining judges were born in the 1930s: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, and Stephen Breyer.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is the only one to have been born in the 1940s. Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, and Roberts were born in the 1950s. Elena Kagan is the youngest, having been born in 1960.
Barring multiple sudden deaths of several justices, there is little likelihood that Trump would make three or four Supreme Court appointments, especially if he serves only one term. And if Democrats overtake Congress in 2018, he will have a difficult time getting conservative judges confirmed.
Donald Trump may be an insider pretending to be an outsider, but he doesn’t really understand how Congress works. In fact, he has little knowledge of how government works in general. He’d essentially be learning on the job and by the time he could do any real damage, a progressive challenger would likely challenge him and win. His flip flops are epic, and he probably has no real idea where he stands on the issues. He just likes the limelight.
Yes, Trump is bringing out the racists, but so did President Barack Obama by simple virtue of having a white mother and an African father topped off by an exotic sounding name. The vitriol did not start with Trump. It didn’t even start with Obama. It has always been there, but when Obama was elected, the racist rhetoric heated up. And Trump has only done what any conservative outsider would do: highlight and embrace the racism under the guise of protecting the country from “invaders.” He’s emboldening a certain section of the population to reveal their true nastiness.
We actually ought to be thanking him for that because now the nation and the world know just how bad it still is.
Trump has gone from being a political donor to being one beholden to other lobbyists. Because of this he would be easier to control than Clinton. Bill and Hillary have their fingers in just about every political cookie jar in the nation — no, the world. Look at where the Clinton Foundation’s donations come from. They come from oppressive Middle Eastern regimes that kill women, children, and men who dare to question authority.
Does it really matter, then, if we get Trump or Hillary? Both will harm the country.
Bernie or Bust is based on a philosophy of refusing to toe a party line, to vote based on the issues and ethics rather than the person or party. And because more progressives could get voted into Congress, a President Trump would have a hard time forcing through conservative Supreme Court nominees. Trump would have to compromise.
Look at how many supposedly “progressive” politicians endorsed Clinton. Many of those who endorse Hillary owe them favors. Take California Governor Jerry Brown, for instance, who welcomed Bill Clinton’s endorsement for his 2010 gubernatorial election. The two have a history of bad blood, but they mended fences, and now Brown has endorsed Hillary.
Given all of these factors, and the obvious voter disenfranchisement, election fraud, and other questionable activities by Clinton and the DNC, it’s no wonder that a large chunk of Sanders supporters feel the only choice left is to embrace Bernie or Bust, grit their teeth, and ride out the next four years, regardless of who wins. Clinton is a war hawk. She will send more troops off to die in wars to serve corporate interests.
She will support the TPP. She will encourage more environmentally dangerous fracking as much of her campaign donations come from the fossil fuel industry. She will get the support and bribes from the National Rifle Association (she’s already attended a fundraiser hosted by an NRA lobbyist). She will attempt to kill freedom of speech, net neutrality, and will support the signing away of individual rights in favor of corporatism. She will send more jobs overseas and be just as anti-union as any Republicans out there. She will continue to take bribes. That is, if she is not impeached before all that.
As far as the Supreme Court appointments go, it’s likely that the next president will appoint two judges to replace the late Antonin Scalia and Ginsburg. In the four years following that, Kennedy and Breyer may choose to retire, and if a progressive is elected to office, the Supreme Court would be back in balance, or even more progressive than before.
After getting four years of Trump, if the Democratic Party isn’t dead by then, it will be forced to acknowledge that Americans are dead serious about change. Bernie or Bust supporters are willing to take four years of short-term damage on the Supreme Court to prevent Clinton from committing long-term damage to the very fabric of our nation. It’s a risk many are willing to take, but it’s one they shouldn’t have to make.
[Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]