Bernie supporters should remain involved

Eli Baum, Opinion Editor

Bernie Sanders’s campaign may be over, but his supporters’ involvement in politics should not.

        Following his loss to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, and despite his subsequent endorsement of Clinton, a significant minority of Sanders’s supporters remains steadfast in their refusal to vote for Clinton, and others remain undecided. Most of these supporters have either endorsed Green Party nominee Jill Stein or plan to not vote. They argue that, for reasons including her support of drones, her email scandal as Secretary of State and her connections to Wall Street, they cannot, in good conscience, vote for Clinton.

        Though this argument sounds good in theory, it has two major flaws. First, people do not vote in a vacuum. There are two candidates who have a realistic chance at winning a single state, let alone the election: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In a state like Illinois, where Clinton is almost certain to win, voting for someone like Stein is acceptable, because your vote will almost certainly not affect the winner of the state. However, in a state like Pennsylvania or Florida where both candidates have a significant chance of winning, voters should vote for whichever candidate they prefer, even if they hate both; the lesser of two evils is still better than the other evil.

        Second, though Clinton is a significantly flawed candidate, she is clearly better than Trump. As Bernie Sanders, who endorsed Clinton just prior to the Convention, himself notes in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Clinton, unlike Trump, will nominate Supreme Court justices who will oppose limits on campaign finance reform and protect a woman’s right to choose. In addition, she will not give tax breaks to the very rich, will address climate change and will maintain Obamacare.

        If you still cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, then vote third party. Voting third party, even in a swing state, is easily better than not voting at all. The presidency is not the only office on the ballot. For example, in Illinois, there is a competitive Senate race, and while Evanston is safely Democratic, many other parts of the state have competitive House and state legislature elections. These are extremely important offices, as shown by Wisconsin, whose Republican Governor and state legislature passed discrimination voter ID laws, cut important social programs and rejected Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid.

        This does not mean Sanders’s campaign was for nothing. In fact, it has pushed the Democratic Party to the left and has brought many important issues into the political spotlight. But doing nothing accomplishes nothing; voting and continuing to organize will keep Sanders’s movement alive.