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To Bernie’s Battalions

So it’s all over and Hillary is the nominee and even Bernie Sanders has endorsed her, in spite of the revelations about the Democratic National Committee’s clear favoritism. I can only imagine how his supporters must feel. They wanted to bring a breath of fresh air to their party and it royally screwed them. Of course, the DNC was only doing what parties exist for: trying to get the candidate who can win the general election. And, their methods not withstanding, I think they succeeded. America is not about to elect an avowed Democratic Socialist, no matter how good or bad his policies might be for the country. But it probably will elect a Democrat, and one who upholds many traditional Democratic policies and principles. Unless Democrats themselves kill her with lukewarm support.

There used to be a saying that the Democrats would win every national election if they did not have to run a candidate. They outnumber Republicans, and only lose if they cannot unite behind any one candidate. And that is the challenge for Sanders supporters right now. Do they face facts and support Hillary to the hilt, or pick up their marbles, go home, stay there on election day, and hand the White House over to their worst nightmare? Because that is the choice now. I cannot blame them for voting their conscience when the choice was Bernie or Hillary. But now it is Hillary or Trump. That is the reality they have to accept. If they do, I think for most of them the choice will be a no brainer.

Not that it will be an easy reality to accept. I should know. I am a Republican, and I too am faced with a choice I hate having to make. Even in this year’s sorry field of Republican hopefuls, there were a couple I could have supported. Donald Trump is not one of them. Even putting issues of policy aside, the Republican candidate is not remotely qualified to be President. I thought there was no chance of nominating someone with absolute zero political experience. The last time that happened it was Dwight Eisenhower, a five-star general whom many people credited with winning World War II. Trump is a businessman whose success seems to have depended largely on gaming the banks and short-changing people he did business with.

If we again set policy aside, a Republican like me has to admit that Hillary Clinton is very well qualified for the job. She has been involved in politics at least since Bill Clinton became governor of Arkansas, and played an active roll in his Presidency. She learned the real-world processes of government in the U.S. Senate and gained experience in the nitty-gritty of foreign affairs as Secretary of State. She will not do everything I would like, but she will know what she is doing.

Some of my readers may not remember that for a long time there was a powerful de facto coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats, known as Dixiecrats. It is time to forge a sort of reverse version of that. What we need if we are going to avoid a Trump presidency is a coalition, at least for now, of Democrats and many of the Republicans who are as appalled by Trump as Democrats are. But that coalition will require not just us disgruntled Republicans but also you disgruntled Democrats. Come on, Sanders folks. If I can do it, so can you!

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