Look at these polls from Wednesday, May 4th:
Trump vs. Clinton (CNN/ORC) Clinton 54, Trump 41: Clinton +13
Cruz vs. Clinton (CNN/ORC) Clinton 52, Cruz 42: Clinton +10
Kasich vs. Clinton (CNN/ORC) Kasich 51, Clinton 44: Kasich +7
Trump vs. Sanders (CNN/ORC) Sanders 56, Trump 40: Sanders +16
Cruz vs. Sanders (CNN/ORC) Sanders 57, Cruz 39: Sanders +18
Kasich vs. Sanders (CNN/ORC) Sanders 50, Kasich 46: Sanders +4
Bernie is the strongest candidate.
Nevertheless, Hillary supporters refuse to accept this data. They are dead certain that Bernie would lose because America will never elect a socialist. They are sure (maybe less so) that Hillary is the battle-tested warrior who will bring Trump to his knees.
They also believe that Bernie should quit the race -- that he is hurting Hillary by attacking her, and by turning young people towards idealistic fantasies rather than into a pragmatic progressive course that Hillary can best chart.
But this attack on Bernie further reveals Hillary's vulnerabilities. It's laughable to think that Bernie has been too hard on her compared to what Trump is about to do. Hillary is the weaker candidate because of her own policies and actions.
- She supported the war in Iraq.
- She supported NAFTA and other corporate-friendly trade deals.
- She supported fracking.
- She took $9.1 million in speaking fees from corporate interests including the leading Wall Street banks.
- And she refuses to release the transcripts of those Wall Street speeches.
Lesser of two evils?
Sure, say her supporters: She may be too centrist but she certainly is far better than Trump. Bernie should bow out now and start bringing his young followers around.
But, aging Hillary supporters, especially "progressive" ones, should know better. Perhaps they are having trouble remembering back to 1968 when the lesser of two evils was Hubert Humphrey and the evil one so clearly was Richard Nixon, (who after running on a pseudo peace platform proceeded to kill another million southeast Asians and 25,000 more American troops.)
I don't recall anti-Vietnam war activist Tom Hayden, now an ardent Hillary supporter, asking the anti-war movement to vote for Humphrey over Nixon in order to pragmatically make things a bit better.
In fact, I've been conducting a little poll among 1960s folks, and very few voted for Humphrey. (Humphrey lost the popular vote by only 900,000). Good luck making that "lesser of" argument to young people who actually believe this country should be fundamentally changed, and that Bernie, not Hillary, is truly committed to doing just that.
But it's not too late to fend off this impending disaster. Americans, especially the young and independents, are fed up with runaway inequality and the establishment politicians who enable it. Neither Clinton, nor Trump can go there. It's Bernie's issue and that's what makes him a winner.
If all those would-be progressive Hillary supporters acknowledged the fact that Bernie is the strongest candidate, we wouldn't have to face the prospect of Hillary getting trumped.
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Les Leopold, the director of the Labor Institute in New York is working with unions, worker centers and community organization to build a national economics educational campaign. His latest book, Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice (Oct 2015), is a text for that effort. All proceeds go to support this educational campaign.