It was June 3rd, 2008 when Senator Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination after the South Dakota polls had closed. He had officially beaten Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the highly-contested Democratic primary. While it must have been a difficult night for Hillary Clinton, accepting the fact she had just lost her chances at becoming the first female president of the United States, she approached her supporters stronger than ever and so eloquently stated:
So I want to say to my supporters: When you hear people saying or think to yourself, If only, or, What if, I say, please, don't go there. Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama is our next president.
- Hillary Clinton, 6/3/08
Immediately, she realized she would not be the nominee and understood the importance of unifying the party and the people she cared most deeply about. Not only did she say such beautiful words during her concession speech, she and Senator Obama went on to hold unified rallies and bring together their fervent supporters. Both Clinton and Obama understood the importance of electing a Democrat and understood that the stakes were too high in this election not to unify.
In every election we hear people discussing that "this is the most important election of our lifetime," but while the 2008 election was in critical need of a Democratic win in order to save us from the wreckage of George W. Bush, with Trump now as the Republican nominee, the 2016 race is the election of our lifetime. And the stakes have never been higher.
The Republican nominee is a man who degrades women, calls Mexicans rapists, wants to punish women for having abortions, and would not disavow the KKK. This fascist must be stopped, but there is one thing standing in the way of stopping him... a divided Democratic party.
In the 2000 presidential race, Ralph Nader gave George W. Bush the White House. Now, while Ralph was not a Democrat, he took votes that would have normally voted Democratic. Ralph received 97,000 votes in the state of Florida... Al Gore lost Florida by 537 votes. If Al Gore would have received 538 of those 97,000 votes, he would not have lost the state of Florida, and he would have been our 43rd president.
My fear in the 2016 presidential race is that the exact same thing is going to happen unless the Democratic party does not unite. Well, how could this happen... Bernie Sanders is running as a Democrat, not as a Green Party candidate like Ralph did? Yes, that is correct. But unless Bernie Sanders works diligently to unify the party that he is running for and pushes his supporters to unite behind Hillary Clinton with the efforts of giving the White House to a Democrat, then it is likely many Bernie supporters will either write him in or just not vote.
While writing a candidate in or not voting at all is simply wrong, there is also no logic in such action. So let me get this straight... you support Senator Sanders because of his more liberal platform, yet you will allow a right-wing racist to win? Yeah, that makes sense. There is too much at stake in this election to act like a baby because your candidate did not win. There were millions of Clinton supporters in 2008 that could have written her in or stayed home, but you know what that would have given us? It would have most likely produced a McCain/Palin presidency... yikes!
As Democrats, progressives, and liberals alike, it is time that we step back and see the bigger picture here. That is, we must put our country before ourselves. We must look at everything that is on the line and at stake. We must understand the horrible possibilities and realities of a Donald Trump presidency. And with that I say to Bernie's most avid supporters -- we must unite, we must become one, and we must continue to fight the good fight for progressive values against the obstructionist Republicans (A.K.A. the real enemies). I plead you to fully consider what is at stake and think about your country's future.
"There is more that unites us than divides us." - Hillary Clinton 4/19/16