I can understand why conservative voters would not support Bernie Sanders. Principally speaking, the platform of an overt leftwing candidate has no appeal to them, and that’s fine. I can also understand why centrist Democrats would not support Sanders, if they see his campaign proposals as far too leftist for their preference. There is nothing wrong with this viewpoint, either. (That’s not to say that I’m a relativist when it comes to politics. I stand by my convictions and will debate their merits if challenged, but I accept that everyone has as much a right to their political preferences, as I have to mine.) The issue I have is with the liberal, openly leftwing voters, who say they agree with Sanders on just about everything, but still hold out on supporting his campaign because they have convinced themselves that he is not “electable” enough as a candidate.
It’s a position that came to be expressed the moment Sanders announced his candidacy. Something along the lines of, “He seems genuine, and yes, I would love to back him because I agree with him so much, but his politics make him unelectable.” The issue I see with this is simple. If you find a candidate that represents what you believe in politically, but don’t support him because you don’t think his politics are “electable”, what are you saying about your own political beliefs, which you admit are identical to his? Are you saying that people of your political preference could not, or should not, be represented in the process? No? Then what? If we are to call voting a civic duty, your perceived duty as a voter couldn’t possibly be to elect candidates who you think best appeal to other citizens’ palates–at the end of the day your prerogative in the voting process is to vote by your tastes, your interests, your preferences, your conscience, and all else be damned!
Representative democracy rests on the principle that your vote is worth the same as the person in the booth next to you. To give in to the idea that a candidate you prefer is unelectable prior to entering the booth shows a clear misunderstanding of said principle. Even if s/he is a longshot in the election, if they are your candidate, why should you be manipulated to support another person you neither agree with, nor believe in?
The current public opinion in the U.S. is that politics is a bought game. A sham. A mass delusion resting on the illusion of choice masking nothing but corruption underneath its foundation. A vital step in correcting a perceived illusion of choice can’t be to then go along with the to make your desired choice a reality. If Bernie Sanders is not your preferred candidate, no harm no foul. Vote by your conscience for whomever your preferred candidate is, and have peace of mind by it. If, however, Sanders is the candidate you most identify with, forget about electability–anyone who qualifies to stand in an election is de facto electable–remember that this is your election, too. Your primary, your delegates, your vote. And if you choose to partake in it, it should be in accordance to your convictions, not that of anyone else’s.