Clowns to left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you
There are two equally wrongheaded camps supporting Bernie Sanders right now. First, you have the people who hate Hillary Clinton so much that they are willing to (a) do anything it takes to take her down, including promulgating bogus right-wing “scandals” about her and (b) refuse to support her in the general election in 2016 if she gets the Democratic nomination, thus giving their vote to the Republicans.
On the other hand, there are those who say that because Bernie Sanders has waged a “positive campaign” in which he has largely refused to personally attack Hillary Clinton, we should therefore refrain from addressing Hillary Clinton in any way, shape or form and only focus on why we like Bernie Sanders.
They’re both very wrong.
The first camp is wrong for reasons described here, here and here. No need to regurgitate the arguments therein; suffice to say that those of us who live in reality understand the limitations of the two party system and understand that it’s vastly preferable to elect a corporatist over a proto-fascist. If it comes down to Trump vs. Hillary Clinton, I will go out and vote for Hillary Clinton as many times as I can. Are you kidding me?
On the other hand, those who say that we should “follow Bernie’s example” and refrain from critiquing Hillary Clinton under any circumstances are just as wrong. It’s primary season. Primary season is adversarial. There’s a big difference between mudslinging and what Bill Clinton used to call “fact-slinging.” If you stick to the issues, it’s perfectly valid to critique the other candidate, as I did here.
Even in the often-repeated soundbite where Sanders refuses to attack Hillary Clinton and confronts the media about their attempts to goad him into it, Sanders nonetheless says that in the debates he will draw up legitimate contrasts between himself and Hillary Clinton on the issues. That’s exactly the “example” we should follow.
We need a Goldilocks approach. The Bernie-Or-Busters (Sanders supporters who will not support the Democratic nominee if the nominee is not Sanders) are too hot. Those who say “hands off Hillary” are too cold. Sticking to the issues and drawing contrasts between Sanders and Clinton?
That’s just right.
UPDATE: I started a facebook group called Sane People For Bernie Sanders. If you agree with this article, this is the group for you.