Hillary Clinton is heading toward the Democratic nomination to run for President in 2016. Her recent victories in primaries, when coupled with the unelected super delegates, have made her nomination a virtual certainty.
Now she has called on Bernie Sanders to tell his followers to support her. She reminds people that she unconditionally supported Barack Obama in 2008 when her defeat became a certainty. Sanders responded his followers are free to vote for whomever they wish and he can’t “deliver” them.
Hillary needs these voters. Unfortunately, there is a sizable “Bernie or Bust” bloc who will not vote for her and her policies. She needs these voters just like Al Gore needed Ralph Nader’s supporters in the 2000 election.
Al Gore lost the 2000 electoral college count to George Bush despite winning the popular vote by 0.5%. Since Ralph Nader won 2.7% of the vote, there is a common belief that his supporters – if they had voted for Gore – would have tipped the scales and led to the election of a Democratic President Al Gore. There has been widespread resentment toward Ralph Nader since that election but the resentment is misplaced. Hillary needs to learn this lesson now.
Ralph Nader welcomed his voters to support Al Gore. Nader believes that if Gore had adapted some of his policies to accommodate more progressive positions, Nader’s voters would have supported Gore in droves and led him to victory. However, Gore remained inflexible and married to traditional Democractic machine ideology.
Hillary Clinton is making the same mistake by expecting Sanders’ followers to automatically support her simply because she is a Democrat and that the Republican nominee must be defeated. She is oblivious to the reality that old party politics are obsolete and today’s voters are issue-oriented. She also is mistaken to assume Donald Trump is wacky enough to make his defeat inevitable.
Trump will easily exploit vulnerabilities in the Clinton family legacy because their failures after twenty years have crushed America. Bill Clinton’s NAFTA failures (as predicted by Ross Perot) have sucked jobs out of the United States and the voting public is wise to learn the TPP will be worse for many more reasons. Bill Clinton’s 1997 Telecommunication Act removed the last barriers to media consolidation. As a result, 90% of the country’s media is manipulated by six corporations. Bill Clinton’s repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act has opened the floodgates to bank speculation and consolidation while putting depositors’ money on the front lines of bank failures. Bill Clinton enacted the Defense of Marriage Act which prohibited same-sex marriages. Bill Clinton enacted criminal justice reform which vastly expanded the number of Americans in prison and decimated the hopes of many black youths.
Granted, Hillary runs on her own platform but the record shows she supported his legislation and the TPP as it developed. For this election, she has distanced herself from these policies but her recent recantations ring hollow as they may appear to attract a large Democratic electorate that has moved beyond – way beyond – Clinton’s family legacy. We have learned from their failures.
Trump knows this and his followers are passionate if not rabid. Hillary has her core followers but must attract Sanders’ voters who are loathe to settle for her. George Bush won with only 24% of the registered voters. Trump’s supporters will vote and may attract those who despise TPP, bank and media consolidation, and the economic injustices in America today. Clinton does not have a platform that might attract disaffected Republicans. She’s on her own and that may not be enough to win.
Hillary Clinton is wrong to ask Sanders voters to change for her. A real elected leader listens and follows the will of the people. Hillary must sincerely change – not the voters.