With the Presidential election now a race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, former Bernie Sanders groupies are now stuck in an awkward position trying to decide who to support in November. Most find themselves against the idea of voting for Hillary Clinton, especially after the withering attacks that Senator Sanders unleashed on her during the primary season.
For many, Hillary Clinton represents exactly what is wrong with Democrat party today. She talks the progressive talk but then toes the party line, supporting interventionist foreign policy and failing to embrace true socialist policies. Plus she represents the “establishment”, the new political buzzword slung around to discredit any nominee this season. While many support Clinton (most of who are voting for her merely out of fear of a Donald Trump presidency), others are looking for third-party candidates who they can identify with.
A troubling trend that I have seen on various social media sites is former Bernie Sanders supporters throwing their weight behind Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
Supporting Gary Johnson after being a Bernie Sanders supporter is turning your back on the principles that you supposedly supported while cheering for Sanders. A vote for Gary Johnson from liberals is nothing more than a protest vote, but one that can have serious consequences.
On the surface, a switch from Sanders to Johnson seems reasonable. Both are anti-establishment candidates who are quick to point out the economic woes that have fallen on this country due to corrupt and power-hungry politicians. Both Sanders and Johnson support legalizing marijuana, no restrictions on gay marriage, non-interventionist foreign policy and support pro-choice policies.
However, Sanders and Johnson are developing their ideas from completely different foundations.
Johnson is a hard-core neoliberal politician with his support of complete industrial and social de-regulation. According to Johnson, the invisible hand of the market will solve all of our problems and the person with the most money should have to most power. What does that look like for you?
For example, Gary Johnson believes in abolishing the minimum wage and letting the free market decide on a reasonable wage. Johnson does not believe in laws that would require employers to pay men and women the same wage for the same work. He is also opposed to working on laws for mandatory sick days for employees. He is against getting government funding into education and only favors private health care. Even more disconcerting is the fact that Gary Johnson does not believe that the government should mandate vaccinations or supporting alternate energy projects.
Now, I recognize that many conservatives are fine with this, and this little article is not directed at you. Rather it is directed at former Bernie Sanders supporters who somehow are now siding with a candidate that is the antithesis of what Sanders stood for and believed.
Sure, Johnson might have a few good ideas and sticking it to the DNC is appealing, but is that good reason to switch from democratic socialist ideals to de-regulated right-wing libertarian ideals? When I see this change happening, it makes me question how many Sanders supporters were really listening to his ideas, or how many where just swept along by the tide of popularity.
During Sanders’s campaign, many right-wing pundits accused Sanders supporters of blindly following the crowd without truly understanding what he was saying. Any Sanders supporter who is switching to Johnson is proving Fox News right.
So what are the options? Well, certainly don’t vote for a neoliberal like Trump or Johnson. Voting for Clinton is not a bad choice. She is well qualified and reasonably will just lead us through another four years of centrist Obama policies. The other option is Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who believes in similar democratic socialist ideals as Sanders.
Make the right decision. Don’t just vote out of protest.