I’m not sure about all of you, but I’m getting tired of the 2016 primary season. I can’t wait until it’s over. But, apparently, it’s not, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Yes, over a year after the Democratic National Convention selected Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee for President, and ten months after she heartbreakingly lost the election to Donald Trump, the arguments from the primaries are still going on. The candidates don’t seem to care – both Sanders and Clinton have been promoting their books, and aren’t saying much about each other at all. And yet, we’re still lining up for battle, prepared to wage ideological war on each other with all the conviction we had in April of 2016.
I’ll tell you why. Our media is desperate for our clicks, views, and listens. You can’t sell advertising without an audience to capitalize on, after all. And as someone who runs a Facebook page, I can tell you that the easiest way to generate interest in your article is by building up a controversy. Hell, I’m doing it here. You’re probably pissed off at me by this point, and I wrote a clickbait headline to get you to read this far.
News outlets are making us angry because it will make us tune it. But that anger doesn’t really have an outlet, because it’s pointless. It feeds upon itself in a self-perpetuating cycle, bouncing off of the person who you think embodies Everything That Is Wrong With The Left Today stronger before smacking you in the face. All the while, opinion rags and clickbait sites stoke that fire to get our clicks, likes, and views, and damn the consequences to our country.
Clinton is currently going on a tour to promote her new book, “What Happened.” I haven’t read the book yet, but even before it came out, any controversial tidbit she wrote about Bernie Sanders was blasted out to the general public. Most news coverage of the interviews she has participated in to promote that book and speak about what happened in the general election has likewise been focused on her answers to criticism of Sanders, even though Clinton spent the majority of her time talking about more substantive issues. Bernie himself was even asked by Stephen Colbert about Clinton’s book – a question which he mostly pivoted away from.
It’s obvious what is happening. Many of these interviews run past thirty minutes and cover a wide variety of topics, but pundits just cannot resist pulling juicy tidbits about how Sanders was playing “pony politics,” or telling us that she “slammed” Bernie. Never mind that she obviously wants to spend most of her time talking about critical problems facing our democracy, from voter suppression and gerrymandering, to a conservative media which does not let the truth get in the way of political expediency, to how politicians and campaigns should handle social media, and Russia’s impact on our election with fake news, hacked documents, and political instigating.
No, no, clearly none of those issues are as important as what will make us angry once again at each other. If Clinton says three words about how Sanders is less than a saint, all of a sudden, we’re grabbing our damn pitchforks and pretending like we’re at a caucus in January, arguing about how Bernie would have won, or how Bernie was unrealistic, or how Clinton was corrupt, or how she was the most qualified candidate in the history of the United States of America.
Don’t fucking let them do this to us. Politics is not a game. It is life and death.
Neither Clinton nor Sanders want to fight with each other, so why in the hell should we? 2016 is dead and gone. Whether Bernie would have won, or whether Clinton should have, it doesn’t matter to the task at hand. We desperately need to unite in opposition to a Republican Party which is very willing to subvert the rules in order to maintain power, because if we do not, we will lose.
If we head to 2018 hating each other as much as we hate Trump, that’s the ballgame, folks – because a Moderate won’t be voting for a Progressive, and a Progressive won’t be voting for a Moderate. It’s going to be hard enough holding the line in the Senate – we don’t need to anger any potential Democratic voter with party disunity.
Keep disagreements to the primaries. Make common cause outside them.
Almost all Democratic politicians agree on the broad strokes of policy. We should be more open to immigrants. Income inequality is a problem which needs to be addressed. Government should guarantee healthcare to all Americans. Protecting the civil rights of all Americans, whether they be men, women, LGBTQ, members of a racial, cultural, or religious minority is incredibly important. Reducing the impact of money in politics is necessary, as is fighting voter suppression and election manipulation efforts. Our official platform is the most progressive in the history of our DisUnited States, so let’s celebrate the values we obviously share and work towards achieving them.
We all agree where it counts.
Democratic politicians and activists are people, just like everyone else, and their thinking evolves with time. Treat them like people, not like disloyal insurgents trying to destroy your political party or centrist fools holding back progress. We can disagree on the details, on how fast we can progress, on how much to risk, and use the primary process as a means to hash out that disagreement, come to a compromise, and unite behind a central idea.
Until the 2020 Primaries, we all resist together.
So, get over your hangups about the other side. It’s unproductive. It’s shortsighted. It’s narrow-minded. If you’re a BernieBot, find a Hill-Shill and ask if you can protest the Muslim ban together, and vice versa. Remember, if we can’t muster the political capital to pass the DREAM act, 800,000 Americans are deported to a country they never knew. If we can’t work together to prevent the Republicans from cutting taxes on the richest Americans, we’ll all be paying the bill, just like we are right now for Bush’s tax cuts. There are so many Republican priorities we need to protect America from that these relatively minor disagreements need to be papered over, and fast.
Shouldn’t you try to unite with the supporter of the “wrong” candidate, try to find a common ground, and actually get shit done rather than sit around acting like any of this matters while Trump damages the country?
It’s enough. We’re all tired. Stop yelling, and start talking.
We can fight over whether we deserve a $12 or $15 per hour minimum wage after we’ve made sure that the minimum wage continues to exist. Priorities, people.
That’s it. Get along, or we’re all fucked. Make it happen. Me, I’ll be drinking several beers and dreaming of a universe where Donald Trump dropped out of the election after Access Hollywood.