Dear Bernie Supporters:
I’d like to share with you why most of us in the middle will never vote for your guy, even if that means re-electing Trump. It should be obvious to you that those of us in the middle, whether the independents or the centrist wings of either party are the “middle” because we reject the extremes. It should be obvious, but clearly it isn’t. You seem to believe that Donald Trump is such a horrible person (he is) that we will swallow our common sense, belief in what America is and should be and respect of individual liberty and vote for any extremist you nominate, we won’t. Trump is an awful person in so many ways but few of his actual policies are offensive too us, we like the tax cut, we like where the economy is, we agree with him that China’s thievery and manipulation in the economic arenas needed to be challenged even if it comes with short term pain, we agree that illegal immigration needs to be combated. We even agree with him in an age where the country is becoming more progressive that conservative Justices are an essential protection for liberty. We agree with you that his pulling out of the Paris accord and killing the Iran deal were blunders, and hope that that will be fixed, but no President does everything everyone wants them too. With the exceptions of Paris and Iran what disturbs us most about Trump has nothing to do with his governance, it has to do with his humanity. The dog whistles to racists are disturbing, his public misogyny is offensive, and his slandering all who disagree with him is childish. He is a buffoon. We here in the middle, the people who you NEED to win in 2020 want you to offer us someone who is better. We want that, but we won’t go along with you at ANY cost, because the formula is simple – We would rather live in a country with peace, prosperity, liberty and security presided over by a buffoon then a country with a leader of high character, but where liberty, prosperity and security are all sacrificed for your political aspirations.
I’d like to walk you through some of the key issues of the day and share with you why they are a hard no for so many of us.
Immigration: Most of us here in the middle agree with Trump that immigration should be merit based and based on OUR need as much as the migrants. If there is a place for you to be self-supporting in our country, you are at least as well educated as the average American and have no criminal record you should be welcomed. Bernie’s call for open borders (and yes I know he never used the phrase “open borders” but his promise to issue an executive order on day one to de-criminalize illegal entry and end deportations is the same thing) is a hard no for us. Many of us are for reform, it should be easier to apply, and take less time. There should be a guest worker program that is consistent and transparent. We should greatly expand the asylum process so it moves faster. The idea that we should fast track illegal aliens’ application for citizenship is offensive to many of us, it is tantamount to rewarding the criminal for his crime. Give us a candidate with policy proposals around reforming the system and we’ll listen, we agree it needs fixing – Bernie’s open borders proposals are a NO.
Socialism: Democratic or not, the underpinning theory of socialism is offensive to many of us. Socialism is neither more nor less than an economic model that holds that the resources of a society should be managed by (or owned by) government for the benefit of everyone. It negates the entire concept of property rights embedded in the constitution and our culture around the notion that I should benefit from my efforts and labor, under socialism if the people decide others have a greater need for my wealth than I do then I must surrender it so it may be distributed to those in need. It differs from Communism only in its political aspirations, thus Bernie can talk about Democratic Socialism in an honest way, he will continue to preserve the republic, but empower the republic to allocate wealth, regardless of who owns it or how they acquired it. Therein lies the difference. Many a high school sophomore will bleat the mantra “but we already have socialism! What about taxes, what about schools, what about food stamps!”. Common governance and common cause are not socialism, because of the key difference. In our republic my wealth is MINE, I must tithe certain sums in taxes to provide for the common welfare as enacted by the government. Under socialism all of my wealth belongs to the “people” and I may only claim the right to provide whatever level of sustenance the government decides I ought to have. Bernie’s proposals to make us a socialist country are a hard NO.
Liberty: Sanders is pretty good on free speech (unlike almost all of the other Progressive candidates), so tip of the hat on that one. On the other personal liberty issues he is again on the wrong side for us. Yes we agree there needs to be better gun control, both better enforcement of existing restrictions and some new rules around who can purchase guns and when. The right to keep and bear arms is the 2nd Amendment, second only to freedom of speech and religion. After the ruling in Heller it is an individual right. Proposals like red flag rules (where anyone can report that they think a gun owner is dangerous and their guns will be seized without any recourse or due process) strips liberty, the idea that I can’t own a military weapon, or “too much” ammunition are proposals to strip liberty. The right to have weapons serves two purposes, neither of which we in the middle are willing to surrender in the name of safety. It preserves our ability to defend against attackers and it preserves our ability to resist tyranny. Combined with his proposal around stripping property rights and he is a hard no on civil rights grounds – we simply refuse to elect anyone whose platform is to strip many of our rights as citizens.
We have a long tradition in this country of tilting at windmills, investing passion in noble but lost causes. If that is what you are doing, offering us Bernie as a symbol of the better world you want to impose on us knowing he can’t win, have at it!
If you want to end the Trump Presidency and start restoring civility and cooperation to our politics, pick someone else. Pete, Amy, Joe or even Mike have enough respect for our constitution and rights that we could swallow those parts of their platform we merely disagree with. I would vote for any of them.
So the question is, is political purity on the left more important to you then political success?