Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
“I’ve got seven grandchildren. I’ve got four kids. I worry about the future of this planet. I’m not sitting it out. And I hope that my fellow Americans will not sit it out.”
Bernie Sanders’ message to his supporters is a simple one: Don’t sit on your hands. Vote. And vote wisely.
Despite some favorable early voting numbers and polling trends showing Hillary Clinton edging Donald Trump, the man who fiercely challenged her for the Democratic nomination is telling rally goers and his followers on social media the stakes are simply too high to be complacent this year.
“If you sit this election out and Trump wins by a few votes,” Sanders tweeted on Saturday, “many people are going to be dealing with that reality for their entire lives.”
He made a similar argument, captured in the following video at a rally at Iowa State University on Saturday:
According to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, even though the polls are favoring Clinton in many regards, people should understand the race still remains close.
Though Kaleb Vanfosson, student president of the Young Democratic Socialists at Iowa State University, took the stage ahead of Sanders at Saturday’s rally and said Clinton could not be trusted because she was too beholden to special interests—including the military-industrial complex and Wall Street banks—Sanders subsequently rejected that mode of thinking in the face of the choice before voters come Tuesday.
“You don’t like Hillary Clinton? You don’t like Donald Trump? Fine. You like yourself?” Sanders said, according to the Iowa State Daily. “Get beyond personality; that means taking a hard look at what the candidates stand for.” Sanders continued by saying Tuesday’s election is ultimately not about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, but about the people in the United States, and around the world, who will be impacted by the election results. “We’re not running here for class president of the local high school,” Sanders said. “This is not a popularity contest.”
The senator from Vermont has been under fire from some of his supporters for backing Clinton, but Sanders has said there will be no hesitation to hold Clinton’s feet the fire once the threat from Trump has been vanquished.
“The day after the election,” he wrote in an op-ed last month, “working with millions of grass-roots activists, I intend to do everything possible to make certain that the new president and Congress implement the Democratic platform, the most progressive agenda of any major political party in the history of the United States.”
In a campaign video launched last week and aired over the weekend in key areas, Sanders framed his support for Clinton as a vote for the betterment of future generations, especially on the issue of climate change which Trump has called a “hoax” but which Clinton (however imperfectly) has vowed to address:
“You may not agree with everything Hillary Clinton stands for,” Sanders says in a voice over. “But on every important issue—every single one—her views are far, far better than Donald Trump’s. And it is absolutely imperative that Donald Trump not become the next President of the United States.”
Trump’s position on global warming and how starkly it contrasts with Clinton’s, says Sanders, should be of special significance to young people and future generations. “Donald Trump’s view is that climate change is a hoax created in China. Now if you think that is not important and you think you can sit this one out—that’s fine. But I’ve got seven grandchildren. I’ve got four kids. I worry about the future of this planet. I’m not sitting it out. And I hope that my fellow Americans will not sit it out.”
First published in Common Dreams. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Bernie Sanders during a rally at Iowa State University on Saturday, November 5, 2016. (Photo: Kennedy Redaedt/Iowa State Daily)