Sen. Bernie Sanders has won a string of primary victories this April, yet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains ahead in the delegate count for the Democratic Party’s nomination. If it comes down to Hillary and Donald Trump in the general election, some Sanders supporters say they’d prefer Trump.
You see, Trump isn’t your average plutocrat. He might claim he’s worth $10 billion, but experts say his holdings are less. True, Trump still enjoys massive wealth. But he’s nothing like a Koch brother. Just look at Trump’s hair. And could you imagine the reaction, if a Koch brother ran for office? People would say he was trying to eliminate the middleman and grasp the reins of power directly. That’s not what Trump’s doing — he wants us to have a president who isn’t “bought.”
If Trump says he doesn’t want campaign contributions but then solicits them on his website, it’s not because he’s a hypocrite. It’s because he wants to let us little people help make America great again. If he uses those donations to pay himself back for loans he gave his own campaign, well, that just shows how willing he is to let us little people feel ownership in the cause. It’s generous of him, really. If he actually meant it when he says he isn’t accepting campaign contributions, where would we be?
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is a villain. Her platform calls for campaign finance reform and reversing Citizens United. Can you believe that? Everyone knows she’s taken campaign contributions from big banks! If a politician accepts donations from big banks, they must be a tool of the status quo. She can’t possibly have done it because we live in a post-Citizens United world, and she actually wants to win the election. Only someone who follows the rules of a hypothetical future game in which everything is already fair is worthy of our vote.
No, Bernie supporters can’t vote for Hillary. It would be much more effective to withhold their votes and let the personification of money in politics seize the reins of power. That would show everyone. Maybe the country needs to hit bottom before the revolution can finally begin.
Unless, of course, Sanders supporters really mean what they say about wanting to get money out of politics. Unless they don’t want to punish themselves along with the rest of the country. In which case, they might just prefer Hillary over Trump, after all.
Sanders supporters may have loved the senator from Vermont for keeping his gloves clean. They may have distrusted Hillary for getting hers dirty. But given how rigged the political system is today, do we really want a candidate who stacks the deck against himself? Shouldn’t we prefer a candidate who refuses to let the opposition slant the playing field in their favor? When it comes to our nation’s future, do we want someone who pulls their punches? Or someone who can deliver a knockout?
Hillary is the country’s best shot for getting money out of politics, and that’s why Bernie supporters should vote for her if she becomes the Democratic Party’s nominee.
Elizabeth Galewski, of Madison, is the author of several academic articles on satire and irony.
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