Let's start this off very easily. I am a socialist. I am a red flag-waving, anti-capitalist Marxist. I am not a Democrat, and I am not an independent. I am a socialist. I believe the workers should own the means of production.
At the end of the day, Bernie Sanders is not "my candidate" in the sense that he is a Social Democrat, his "socialism" is really just an old-school version of the Democratic Party. His socialism is still capitalistic, and by definition is not actually socialism.
Yet, like many socialists, I chose to support him in his run for president because I knew the reality was a capitalist was going to win, but I could do my best to stop a Hillary Clinton or any GOP nominee from reaching the White House. Sanders supports many of the things I do, more than any other candidate in the history of my ability to vote, and didn't really fall into my "lesser of two evils" category. In the end, I felt the Bern and campaigned pretty strongly to put someone who wasn't a total corporate shill in office.
The American public, however, didn't seem to be on the same page and has made it very clear they prefer Hillary Clinton over Sanders. I think that sucks, but it's reality. While many Sanders supporters are not ready to admit it, the race is over. I am not alone in thinking this, even Sanders agrees. In his speech last month, after losing Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, and Maryland, he said his campaign was shifting its focus to an "issue-oriented campaigns in the 14 contests to come."
He made it very clear he is running now to push his progressive platform. Not once did he mention that he was running to take the White House.
"The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be. That's why we are in this race until the last vote is cast. That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform that calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition free and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change."
So this leaves his supporters with very few choices. They can join #Movement4Bernie and urge Sanders to run as an independent, something he has made clear he won't do. They can abstain from voting or write Sanders in (the same as not voting). They can support a third-party candidate like the Green Party's Jill Stein or Socialist Party USA's Mimi Soltysik. Or, they can do what Sanders is doing and vote for Hillary Clinton.
I have made the choice to not support Hillary Clinton. The reasons I supported Sanders are not because he was a Democrat and I don't subscribe to the idea of "vote blue no matter who." The who matters to me, and the what they will do matters even more.
Clinton supports a $12 minimum wage while Sanders supports $15. Stein and Soltysik support $15 and would even tie it to cost-of-living raising it even higher in areas that need it. Soltysik even believes we should have a universal basic income. I won't support a candidate who supports a raise that leaves millions still living in poverty.
Clinton, unlike every single previously mentioned candidate does not support universal healthcare. She wants to continue building upon the Affordable Care Act, a plan that helped insure millions of Americans with health insurance they cannot afford use. She doesn't believe everyone has the immediate right to healthcare, she believes people should have to keep waiting for congress to catch up.
Clinton's plan to regulate Wall Street is weak and meaningless. Likely because they bankroll her. Her prison reform plan will ensure millions continue to be locked up for non-violent crimes because of her continued support for the war on drugs. She continues, unlike all other leftist candidates, to support the death penalty.
Lastly, for the sake of this argument, she supports violent regime change in regions the US has no right interfering and a long history of butchering deals that have led to destabilized regions, the rise of ISIS and she supports no-fly zones over parts of Syria even though experts say this will only further empower ISIS in the region. Long story short, Clinton is a hawk. She thinks war first, diplomacy second.
For all those reasons and much more, I will not be casting a ballot for Hillary Clinton in November. I will not have another war on my conscience. I will not contribute to fewer Americans having healthcare and I will not endorse someone with my vote who refused to lift the working class out of poverty.
I bent my anti-Capitalist stance to fight for some piece of meaningful change, I won't bend it to support more of the same. I will not support an oligarchy society and I will continue to fight for truly revolutionary change.
I have written countless times against the tired argument that voting outside the two party system only gives power to Republicans. It's a myth - it's not true. I don't even see it as a "protest vote" because I will be voting for the person I believe is right for the job. A vote for Clinton to stop Trump would be a protest vote against Trump, given that I don't think Clinton is the person we need.
Eugene Debs, the 20-century Socialist presidential candidate said, "I'd rather vote for something I want and not get it, than vote for something I don't want and get it."
As of this moment, I am a free agent, my vote is mine and I have decisions to make, but I know I will not support elitist politicians who do not care about the American people in the bottom 99 percent.