An Open Letter to Bernie: May 1, 2016

Dear Bernie,

I have given to your campaign multiple times, I have petitioned and canvassed for you in my local area. I have even written letters to the editor promoting you and finally, I worked on the GOTV operation in my local district until after the polls opened.
When you averred, in a CNN town hall, that you couldn’t tell your followers what to do vis a vis Hillary, you committed a major tactical blunder.
You can endorse Hillary. And, if you don’t get the nomination—given delegate rules, I don’t see how you can—you owe it to all of us who will have to live with the outcome of this election, to consider what effect a non-endorsement would have.
You know as well as I do, the results of the Carter-Reagan election when people like me couldn’t vote for Carter, so we voted for Barry Commoner, or John Anderson. And then there was Bush, Gore and Nader. You would have much more influence than either of these marginal candidates, of course.
In both the Reagan and W elections, the resulting disasters would probably have been averted if we hadn’t insisted on what we thought was a purer vote. That’s a steep cost for ideological purity: the breaching of the walls in the counterrevolution: the increasing inequality you inveigh against, and then a disastrous war created by the man who shouldn’t have been elected. Millions dead, the Mideast in chaos. Tally up the lives, the dollars, think about it.
That’s why, as much as I agree with virtually all your proposed policies, as much as I’m a part of your movement for a political revolution, which we sorely need, that’s why I’m asking you to be positive about Hillary; better her than Trump.
I know you shouldn’t endorse Clinton until the last delegate is won, pledged, etc., but then, unless some political earthquake happens and you win the nomination, you should make very clear, that you are not only endorsing Hillary, but, given she’s a Democrat, a party that should stand for the People, you are endorsing her and the party’s attempts to carry out as much of our political revolution as they can. And, you should make crystal clear that the Republicans, and Trump are simply beyond what any reasonable American should support, certainly anyone who’s followed you (I assume he’ll win the nomination, but all of the alternatives, even Ryan, are as awful).
I should point out that in my local incarnation as a Bernie volunteer and meeting participant, I met many Berniers who declared they couldn’t consider voting for Hillary. Some, even said they’d prefer Trump. And many of the Trump supporters I spoke to, said they’d vote for you, if you ran as a Democrat in the general election.
You really do have to spell it out in the general election campaign, that Hillary is far, far better than the Republican, who would in fact make things far worse for them, than they are now. With her, the revolution won’t be dead; it will be a sub-Presidential movement, and Hillary would be committed to responding to it. Trump wouldn’t listen, nor would he respond to demonstrations or letters. Trump isn’t about helping people; he’s about helping himself. Hillary is committed to governing and succeeding as President, at very least.

Here’s a line I offer you when you talk about Single Payer: “Paying taxes for health care will be so much cheaper than paying billionaires for health care.”


Douglas C. Smyth
Ph.D. in Social Science (Political Science, Economics and Anthropology)
Retired college teacher in the above