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Politics

Bernie Sanders’ Supporters

imgresMuch depends on Sanders’ supporters putting their big-boy pants on and throwing all that energy behind the fairly elected nominee, Hillary Clinton. If they do, and if a bridge can be made between their agenda and Hillary’s, then I think she can beat Trump in November.

I remember Hillary’s tears during the 2008 New Hampshire primary, when the sure win she thought she had began to slip away. Her fear came to pass, and the nomination that had been hers to lose was lost to the great orator of our time, Barack Obama. And like so many others, I joined his team and left her in the dust. When she knew she couldn’t take the nomination, she did what she needed to do. She thanked her supporters, looked them in the eye, and said, “Now it’s time to get Obama elected.” Not only was she not a sore loser—she was a perfect loser. Regardless of her faults—and they are many—she has always picked up the shovel and done the work when she needed to for the greater good. Watch her concession speech here.

Everyone is saying that the Bernie supporters need to get over their anger and get on board. I don’t agree. Just like the Hillary supporters of 2008, they will do what their leader asks of them. It’s not those supporters who are under pressure now; it is Bernie himself. He can take a lesson from Clinton in 2008, and he can give a great speech of thanks and then turn to the woman who will be standing in the wings and say, “Now we are all, every one of my supporters, in your camp. Tell us what you need.” His supporters will follow him.

And, if Hillary wins (please God, do not make me live in a country run by Donald Trump), she will do what Obama did. She will ask Bernie to join her team in an area of his greatest strength—domestic reform perhaps—and bring him in to do the kind of work she did as Secretary of State. I think she could even add a cabinet post (can you do that?) that focuses on domestic reform for the population and let him loose to do what the people want. Student loan reform. Environmental sanity. Prison reform. And so on.

But Bernie needs to bridge the gap now. The convention is not the place for his agenda, but rather the place for the agenda of the Democratic ticket of 2016. His agenda can play out in many areas after she wins. She will include him in her posse. Her herstory is filled with moments when she reached across aisles and took energetic action. Step forward now Bernie, and gather your posse together and tell them what you expect—and what the country needs now. This is no time to pussyfoot around.

Other than that, I have no opinion.

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