Bernie Sanders supporter Carmela D’Amico, writing for Salon, explained on Sunday why she will be writing in the Vermont senator in November, rather than opting for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
D’Amico begins by criticizing the American electoral system, highlighting the inherent limitations of the two-party system.
“Most of us were taught from kindergarten on that our government is a Democracy and that America is the freest country on Earth,” D’Amico writes. “Perhaps the reason so few of us vote is that the benefits of all this democratic freedom don’t always measure up to all the hype. For example, instead of having one presidential candidate to choose from — like in a dictatorship — we get two.”
D’Amico goes on to highlight America’s failing economic order and the fact that, despite their soaring rhetoric, leaders of both parties have been unable to address the various crises facing the nation.
“It’s no wonder that Hillary and Trump have respectively earned the highest ‘unfavorable’ ratings of any Democratic or Republican presidential candidate in history,” D’Amico notes.
She then concludes her case for writing in Bernie Sanders by arguing that, by continuing to support candidates because they are not as bad as the alternative, voters are contributing to a cycle of disappointment.
“I won’t hear that my decision to opt out of the lesser-of-two-evils paradigm and vote for a candidate who isn’t on the ballot means I’m casting a vote for the ‘other’ side or throwing my vote away…If we keep settling for what we’re given – in this case two candidates disliked by most Americans – nothing can change for the better. The progressive and patriotic move is to reverse this regressive way of thinking by refusing to vote for anyone unworthy of the Office of President.”
D’Amico is far from the only Bernie Sanders supporter who feels that, in order to change the system, citizens must embrace movements fighting to change the fundamental nature of American politics — not movements content to work within entrenched establishments for incremental change.
According to polling data reported by The Hill, it seems that more supporters of Bernie Sanders are rejecting the idea that they must vote for the “lesser of two evils.”
The problem, according to many commentators, is that the “lesser of two evils” logic makes political parties — Democrats in particular in 2016 — complacent and unwilling to do anything more than ensure that they secure electoral victories.
Matt Taibbi, writing for the Rolling Stone, worries that “Democrats like Hillary have been saying, ‘The Republicans are worse!’ for so long that they’ve begun to believe it excuses everything.”
Hillary Clinton, many Sanders supporters believe, represents this establishment, a system Sanders has fought against throughout his political career.
Critics of Hillary Clinton, including Sanders himself, have pointed to her foundation’s funding sources, which include governments that routinely commit heinous human rights violations. They have also noted that she and her husband, Bill Clinton, have both received over $100 million in speaking fees from some of America’s largest and most influential financial institutions, according to an analysis by CNN.
In short, while Democrats often posture as the “party of the people,” this rhetoric can only go so far to cover the thinly veiled reality: that Democrats are often on the receiving end of funding from the same corporations that bankroll the Republican Party.
As Fortune reported in May, Wall Street donors who tend to lean to the right have been flocking to Hillary Clinton.
“Instead of shifting their focus to presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, some Wall Streeters who once backed the GOP are now giving money to Hillary Clinton,” wrote Lucinda Shen.
This dynamic, one that pushes the masses to the margins while embracing the interests of the wealthiest, has led to widespread revolt, not just in the United States, but across the globe.
Bernie Sanders made the most of this moment in history. By skewering the billionaire class and bringing a frank and passionate discussion of America’s obscene income inequality, Sanders has created a progressive coalition that continues to place pressure on the Democratic establishment, and on Hillary Clinton.
And despite the fact that allies of Hillary Clinton have often dismissed Sanders for his efforts, his persistence has made a tremendous difference in shaping the party’s platform.
Many voters, like D’Amico, feel that in order to change the system, they must refuse to endorse candidates who, despite their lofty promises, plan to do little more than perpetuate business as usual.
Bernie Sanders has promised a “political revolution.” While his fight for the presidency has come up short, Sanders and his supporters have promised, no matter what happens in November, to keep the movement going.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]