Politics

Why #NeverClinton Is A Winning Bet For Sanders Fans

| by Nik Bonopartis
Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonFormer Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Flip the calendar back six months, and it looked like of the two major political parties, the Republican Party was going to have a fight to the bitter end with defiant candidates refusing to drop out of the race, intent on forcing a contested convention.

The GOP field was packed with the likes of amateur Egyptologist Ben Carson, red-faced and underperforming Jeb Bush, and the automatonic Marco Rubio, who debated like a primitive artificial intelligence machine.

Not only did eventual nominee Donald Trump have to defeat serious rivals like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, he had to clear out an entire undercard of wannabe contenders who were nipping at his ankles like starving Chihuahuas.

And yet here we are, with Trump a lock for the nomination and his Democratic opponents still attacking each other in a bitter primary contest that looks like it won't end before their party's convention.

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For all the talk of Trump as a polarizing candidate, it's easy to forget just how polarizing presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is, and how disgusted many Democrats are with the prospect of a Clinton presidency. Despite a huge financial advantage, the backing of America's wealthiest corporations, the support of almost every superdelegate, and a media narrative that treats Clinton as the rightful nominee, Clinton can't shake her opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Even more worrying for Democrats, the #NeverHillary movement has picked up steam, trending on social media and eclipsing the #NeverTrump movement that preceded it. If 2016 is really the year when voters in both major parties signal their dissatisfaction with the status quo, then Sanders supporters should stick to their Never Hillary stance and let the party know their votes cannot be taken for granted.

On the website WontVoteHillary.com, more than 62,000 people have taken an online pledge, promising they won't support the former New York senator regardless of what happens in the Democratic primary. A video on the site's home page works as an indictment of Clinton and her career as a politician.

"You're against same-sex marriage, now you're for it, you defended President [Barack] Obama's immigration policies, now you say they're too harsh," CNN's Anderson Cooper says in the video, grilling Clinton during an earlier debate. "You supported his trade deal dozens of times, you even called it the gold standard, now suddenly last week you're against it. Will you say anything to get elected?"

The video segues to a clip of Clinton assuring voters that "all lives matter," before cutting to a 2004 segment that shows Clinton making a racist joke, saying India's civil rights legend Mahatma Gandhi "ran a gas station down in St. Louis."

And then it gets to the most cringe-worthy of the clips, that unfortunate 2007 speech at First Baptist Church in Selma, Alabama, when the former first lady dropped her g's, modified her cadence, and did her best impression of what she thinks black people sound like. Pandering at its most mortifying.

Talk to Sanders supporters, and a recurring theme you'll hear is that they trust the admitted socialist, but they don't trust Clinton. That's backed up by polls, like a February sample from YouGov in which voters said Clinton was the least trustworthy of any candidate in any party, and a Quinnipiac poll that found 67 percent of respondents believed Clinton was "not honest and trustworthy."

Those voters support Sanders precisely because of who he is, because he's honest even when it's not politically expedient, and because he's been sticking to a core set of principles. These are voters who don't like the broken, big-money political system, and really don't like the idea that their politicians are bought and paid for by special interest groups representing everything from Wall Street to the oil industry.

“She would cement in place everything we are fighting against," Sanders supporter Tara Margolin told The Atlantic. "I could never in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton.”

For the entirety of his campaign, Sanders has been hammering Wall Street. How can his supporters suddenly throw their support behind Wall Street's favorite candidate, a politician who has been bankrolled by firms like JP Morgan, Citibank and Goldman Sachs for her entire political career.

Sanders supporters have two choices: Support Clinton and concede the future of the Democratic Party to the powers they've been railing against, or stick to the Never Hillary movement and show the party they cannot be taken for granted.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: The Atlantic, Quinnipiac University, Daily Caller, The New York Times, WontVoteHillary / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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