Clement: Democrats are a divided party


Columnist Sam Clement believes the Democratic party needs to come together and vote for Joe Biden if he wins the Democratic nomination.

Sam Clement

The time has come to face our collective fate. The last realistic chance of the nomination of Sen. Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate for president has passed. It is all but assured that former Vice President Joe Biden will be running against incumbent Donald Trump for the highest executive office in the land.

If you want to start crying now, don’t worry. I do, too.

According to the NBC News delegate tracker, Biden has 1,148 delegates. Sanders lags behind with a mere 826. Although a winner cannot be declared until one of these men reaches 1,991 delegates, or unless one of them drops out, Sanders’ likelihood of overtaking Biden is vanishingly small, and vanishing with it is any chance of seeing real political change in this election. This strongly echoes the 2016 presidential election, which also saw Sanders being defeated by a more moderate Democrat, who then went on to run against Trump. We must do everything we can to ensure that this election has a different outcome, for the simple reason that many people in this nation will not be able to survive four more years of a Trump presidency. 

There is no way to sugarcoat this — under the Trump administration, vital environmental legislature has been destroyed, protections for women, people of color, the working class and members of the queer community have been rolled back and hate groups have been emboldened. Trump ended regulations requiring “oil and gas companies report payments to foreign governments” that stopped employers from taking any portion of the tips, which were given to service employees, which protected transgender employees in the workplace and many other vital things besides. All of these came from an article in the Washington Post which was updated near the end of Trump’s first year in office. His actions have not improved since then. It is imperative that this man not be given another four years in power.

And yet there are people out there who state plainly that if they can’t vote for Sanders, they won’t vote at all. A poll conducted by Slate in February found that only 53 percent of Sanders’ supporters stated they would be willing to vote for whoever the Democratic nominee was. One interviewee in that article, Ryan Keller, said, “If the party refuses to support what I want, I don’t see a reason to support the party.” In a more recent reaction to Sanders’ likely loss, progressive pundit Krystal Ball said that she would not vote for Biden if he was the Democratic nominee: “I would never vote for Donald Trump either, but you can leave it blank.” She went on saying that she was unwilling to support Democrats simply because they run on what, in her view, are only slightly more progressive platforms than Republicans.

The trouble with Democrats is that they are a divided party, never able to agree on whether to push onward or keep to the status quo. Republican voters have historically had no such qualms. It was how Trump was able to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016, and if we’re not careful, he will do the same thing to Biden in this election cycle. We cannot allow our individual desires for a presidential candidate to lead us down an all-or-nothing path. I know that Biden is far from a perfect candidate and would be far from a perfect president. His promises to ‘return to normalcy’ are enough to sicken many Americans for whom normalcy still means living in a system of inequality and oppression. However, he would be immeasurably better for our country than Trump and his destructive, egotistical policy of making life easier for himself at any cost for the rest of the nation.

If Biden wins the nomination, as seems increasingly likely with each primary, I will go to the ballot box in November and vote for him. I will do so with a heavy heart. I will do so wishing it was Sanders who won the nomination, or Elizabeth Warren, or any number of other candidates. But if he is put forth as the Democratic candidate, I will vote for him with a smile, and I will go home secure in the knowledge that I have done my part to remove from power the incredibly hateful, lying man who currently holds the presidency.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go lie down and scream into a pillow about the fact that I’m probably going to have to watch and take notes on Biden-Trump debates.