By Maggie Berkvist
When The New York Times ran my Letter to the Editor on March 4th, WestView News publisher George Capsis suggested that, since it concerned a subject under much discussion these days, (In fact, it elicited 395 responses in the Times’ online edition!) it should be reprinted in this month’s issue.
In his March 2nd column, “Hillary Clinton’s Moment,” Frank Bruni mentions the possibility that “a disappointed Sanders voter” could choose to “sit on the sidelines or vote for Trump before siding with Clinton.” Being a Bernie fan myself, who would dearly love to see him win, I remember all too well what happened in 1968 when disillusioned young supporters of Eugene McCarthy stayed away in droves rather than vote for Hubert Humphrey (which helped throw the election to Richard Nixon).
I sincerely hope that should he lose the nomination to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Sanders will be able to persuade his disappointed young followers that they cannot afford to abstain. I hope that he will persuade them to take a deep breath, do their civic duty … and vote for his party’s nominee.
Then Bernie Sanders won the Michigan Primary and for ‘one brief, shining moment’, I thought I might have been overly anxious. But now, alas, it would seem not. That, despite the Party’s belated efforts to Dump Trump, come November, ‘the Donald’ may well be the Republican nominee, Hillary the Democrats’ choice, and the need for Bernie’s supporters to rally round her as urgent as ever, as illustrated by the back story to my Times letter.
In 1968, I was taking a course at the School of Visual Arts, when, around the time of the turbulent Chicago convention, the class got totally involved in a heated discussion about the upcoming election. Feelings were running high then, too! And one young lass, an ardent Eugene McCarthy follower, outraged that the Democrats had rejected him in favor of Hubert Humphrey as the Democratic nominee, was holding forth—and vowing to abstain from voting in the election. At which point, our instructor pointed out that that could be a very dangerous decision, and warned that if all McCarthy’s followers did the same they could well end up throwing the election to (horrors!) Nixon. Whereupon our rebellious student responded that it would “serve the Democrats right!” And the rest, as they say…
So to those adamantly anti-Hillary people considering a protest vote for ‘a Third Party candidate,’ I would point to this comment from one of the responders to my Times’ letter who cautioned ‘Remember Nader! Never again!!!’ To which I would add “And don’t forget the Supreme Court!”