A message to the Bernie-or-Bust crowd: Your revolution’s success is conditional on Hillary Clinton winning.

A lot has been made about how Bernie Sanders’ coalition, built almost entirely out of people under 40, is the future of the Democratic party and quite possibly the country. Journalists and “journalists” across the political spectrum all seem to agree on one thing: Hillary Clinton may win this battle, but Bernie Sanders will almost certainly win the war.

There’s just one problem with this analysis: the whole scenario is conditional upon Hillary Clinton becoming the next President of the United States.

“Nonsense!” you cry. “A leftist America is inevitable! The old politics is dead, or at least will be soon!”

Well, consider this: the next president may well choose three or even four more Supreme Court justices. Have you seen what a right-wing court did to voting rights in the last few years? Now imagine if Donald Trump was picking the replacements for Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, and Notorious RBG. Welcome to “swing” justice Samuel Alito, my friends. John Roberts would be considered part of the “liberal” wing.

Watch the entire Voting Rights Act be ruled unconstitutional, alongside the Civil Rights Act, National Voter Registration Act, Violence Against Women Act, Title IX, you name it. States will have the ability to restrict voting rights however they please. Poll taxes? Sure. ID laws that accept only NRA or AARP membership cards as valid forms of ID? Hey, whatever. States’ rights are paramount, man.

Am I being hyperbolic? I wouldn’t count on it. The Court was itching to strike down the entire VRA before Scalia died, and had already lined up cases that would allow them to basically end unionization forever. You think Sanders voters and their priorities are the future of the country? Not with a 7-2 conservative Supreme Court, they’re not. Watch millions of Democratic voters get mysteriously dropped from voting rolls without any hope of winning a lawsuit to reinstate their voting rights. Did you see that story about the post-ID-law closing of DMV’s in minority neighborhoods in Alabama? Expect a lot more of that.

But hey, at least after four to eight years of Donald Trump, the country will be ready for political revolution, right? Hahahahahahahaha, no.

By then, expect electoral votes to be allocated by congressional district nationwide, with the principle of One Person, One Vote out the window and no restrictions on how gerrymandered districts are allowed to be. Today, Republicans have total control (legislatures + governors) over 24 states’ governments – Democrats have total control over seven. Expect those numbers to be enshrined forevermore.

So look, if Sanders were actually winning the Democratic nomination (and I know some people have some pretty fanciful notions on that front), this article would be directed at intransigent Hillary supporters. But he’s not, he’s losing, and it’s his supporters who are threatening to vote Trump or third-party or write in Sanders’ name or spend voting day at home trying to build a time machine or whatever.

To those people, I say this: if you care about any liberal or left-wing cause at all, you cannot stand by and watch Donald Trump win. Vote for Sanders in the primary – it’s your right and your obligation to vote for the person you think would make the best president. But if you ever want your vote to count again, a Democrat must become the next President of the United States. And let’s face it, that Democrat is going to be Hillary Clinton.


N.S. Dolkart is the author of Silent Hall, available for pre-order at any bookstore in the US, UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand. It’s coming out on June 7th, and it’s really good. You should buy it.

6 thoughts on “A message to the Bernie-or-Bust crowd: Your revolution’s success is conditional on Hillary Clinton winning.

  1. I might accept your premise if I wasn’t a senior citizen who had been through previous “movement politics” examples. The most obvious one in my voting life was the 1968 and 1972 elections. Many op-ed writers suggested the anti-war movement was dead, because Nixon was elected, especially in 1972 when he won by a huge margin of Electoral College votes. It wasn’t dead. It was delayed. No one outside those movements understood that Nixon had been working to bring about his own destruction for decades by cultivating paranoia and an acceptance of blurring legal lines. Trump is no different. If he gets elected, he too will implode in some disastrous fashion.

    Sanders is part of the same movement that brought about the Occupy protests. Clinton, a dedicated corporatist, is not part of that movement, and in some ways is perceived as part of the problem. However, her other goals for government are closer than Trump’s to those of that movement. If she is elected, things are likelier to move left more quickly, for the reasons you suggest. But voters interested in the disassembling of crony capitalism won’t be satisfied with Clinton. The movement that brought Sanders to national prominence will continue, promoting someone else.


    1. “If she is elected, things are likelier to move left more quickly, for the reasons you suggest. But voters interested in the disassembling of crony capitalism won’t be satisfied with Clinton. The movement that brought Sanders to national prominence will continue, promoting someone else.”

      Nor should they be satisfied! I’m all for the conversation moving leftward, at least to a point. Our country would be a much saner place if my preferred policies were considered center-right rather than center-left.

      But if Trump wins the presidency, you can expect voting rights to go out the window and with them, Democratic majorities. This would be true no matter who the Republican was – Ted Cruz might even have been worse.


    1. I can’t quite tell from your comment whether you’re coming at this from the right or the far left, but I know you’re a thoughtful man and I think your comment is worth discussing. I certainly have no intention of alienating readers, and I accept your premise that such alienation is possible and might harm both me and them – me, because I would miss out on a portion of my potential audience, and them because they might miss out on a story they might otherwise enjoy. While I personally have read and enjoyed books by many authors whose politics are radically different from mine (OSC comes to mind), I think I agree with you that an author’s politics can affect my relationship to the work. Have some authors alienated me by espousing beliefs that I find abhorrent? Well, yeah. On the other hand, I still loved Ender’s Game.

      I’ve noticed that many authors have found success nowadays while being quite open about their politics. Card, Scalzi, Jemisin, Wendig, Hurley – all are vocal in their political bents and yet none seem from the outside to have been harmed by that openness. Of course, we can’t prove a counterfactual. Maybe Orson Scott Card would be as rich as Joanne Rowling if he were more reserved about his politics.

      There’s a reason I’ve been writing so much about politics here. I have been told that having an active blog or website is helpful so that people can find me based on all sorts of varied interests and then find their way to my work. That seems fair enough, but the trouble is that politics is one of the things I’m most passionate and knowledgeable about, outside of my novels and the Hebrew Bible. And guess what? All of my posts about writing aren’t appearing here, they’re being sent to my publicist at Angry Robot so that she can find each post a home that would catch more eyeballs than I do at my own site. My posts about the Hebrew Bible have recently all been posts about how the Bible and its theology inspired Silent Hall…which are also being reserved as guest blog posts on other sites. So my choices as far as this blog are concerned seem to be between writing about politics and writing nothing at all for a few months at a time. My understanding, whether it’s accurate or not, is that the former is probably better than the latter.

      Because the thing is, my political writing on this site has generated WAY more interest than any of my other posts. I was routinely getting ten views per post when I wrote “Why I’m Not for Bernie,” which got 238 views and also got me into a Twitter argument with some Bernie bro I’d never met within five minutes of publication. More visitors = more people aware that I exist. I’ve been operating under the assumption that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, at least up to a point. If my political writing is what gets people engaged (and it has), then I ought to do as much of it as makes me happy.

      I’m open to sincere advice, though. I haven’t been at this blogging thing for very long, nor have I been a published author for, well, technically I’m not even published until June. Should I be more worried about alienating readers, and less worried about obscurity? I’ve absolutely been operating under the assumption that obscurity is a far greater enemy to writers than controversy. If you think that’s a flawed assumption, please explain why! I’m open to advice from all sides.


  2. “it’s your right and your obligation to vote for the person you think would make the best president”

    I totally agree!

    Which is why I’ll be voting for JILL STEIN.


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