I’ll still vote for Bernie. I’ll still cast my ballot and I’ll still take part in our political process, regardless of how undemocratic I feel it has become. But following the polls has shown me it’s time to come to terms with the fact that Bernie Sanders probably will not be our next president. The feeling I had when I saw the various polls showing his swath of losses really can’t be described. I think it’s the same for a lot of Bernie supporters. It’s not like when your favorite team loses the game or when you fail a test. This type of profound disappointment comes from a feeling of hopelessness that I’ve never experienced before.
Bernie’s campaign represents (or represented), the will of the people to hope for something beyond what was just within our reach. Across the country, people came together and mobilized themselves to fight for the common good, things that would make life tangibly better for the majority of us.
Who would think that in America you could be punished for dreaming too big?
These are the things that people voting for other candidates may have taken for granted, like the ability to obtain the medicine for a chronic illness without feeling as though you’re being punished for being sick and having to furnish the costs for it out of your meager un-unionized salary.
Like the hope that one day your children could go to school for free, and instead of going to school while working twenty hours a week and dragging themselves through their classes, they’ll rediscover the joy for learning that was the motivation to pursue higher learning in the first place.
We marched in the streets and the media ignored our cries, proving that the revolution would not be televised and choosing to cover essentially anything else. They gave hours of free air time to Donald Trump and barely mentioned Bernie’s name, because they could afford to treat the election like a joke while we were on the edge of our seats praying we would be listened to and that the champion of our rights would have a chance to make good on his promises.
Who would think that in America you could be punished for dreaming too big? We scraped together our meager dollars and cents to support a candidate who said he wouldn’t be bought by corporations, and we genuinely believed we could make a difference.
The obstacles came quickly; we had to prove to people that it was worth it to even try to elect him. We were discouraged at every turn and heard, “I’d vote for him, but he can’t win,” so many times we began to question our dedication. In so many states, we turned up to vote and were told that somehow our information hadn’t been processed and we’d need to fill out a provisional ballot. We felt confused, betrayed and upset at this betrayal of our rights as citizens of a democracy.
We marched in the streets and the media ignored our cries, proving that the revolution would not be televised and choosing to cover essentially anything else.
The hardest thing to deal with for myself – and for many Bernie supporters upon hearing this news – has been the resignation of our establishment, or rather, the falling in line with a candidate whose win seemed inevitable. The fact that Clinton’s potential presidency has been portrayed this way from the start is even more chilling now that she will probably win. I’ve worked as a fundraiser for progressive organizations since my freshman year at UCSB, and the reasons for the frustration with the Democratic Party on a large scale are easily replicated in their attitude toward us during our briefings with them.
They used the surefire political strategy of saying the same thing in many different ways and never actually answering the questions at hand, one of the reasons so many Sanders supporters mistrust Clinton. They always pushed their four-pillar party expansion strategy: “Register people to vote, get voters to the polls, make sure their votes are accurately counted and hold the republicans accountable for their actions.”
The words are clear in my mind now even without the campaign script, which is essentially the same recycled platitudes that all involve throwing shade at the Republicans to get the donors angry and capitalize off of their emotions. This takes a toll on someone who really just wants to make a difference and to answer questions without pointing fingers. Where was the DNC when young democratic voters were turned away from the polls in New York and Massachusetts? Where was party fairness when we were asked to fundraise for the Hillary victory fund which was a joint effort with the DNC?
The day my coworker took me aside and told me that the reason Hillary had so many pledged superdelegates was because the 30 states that were going to get proceeds from the Hillary victory fund had pledged their delegates in exchange for a cut of the money we had personally helped raise, I was floored.
Now, it just seems like a matter of course. Watching HRC endorse a candidate who had stood up against gay marriage over one who has consistently shown support for minority groups in general was frustrating, and finding out that we had been lied to over NARAL’s endorsement of Clinton made us feel like the fundraising crooks donors think we are when they hang up on us. This whole process has been exhausting and disheartening.
I find myself hoping for something more, but not expecting to find it, and wondering above all else: What will happen now?
And it is becoming harder and harder to convince my more apathetic friends that their votes actually count, when the whole election thus far has me imagining shady deals made during million-dollar fundraisers that completely disregard the popular vote, because “we the people” has come to mean something completely different.
If you take anything away from this article, I hope it’s the understanding that for me and for a lot of people my age – especially those voting for the first time – the loss of our candidate goes much further than just that. It feels as though we’ve been told our dreams are too big, and that our voices aren’t worth listening to.
There was brief life breathed into our hopes for a better future that was swiftly extinguished by the unseen forces wielded by the mysterious powers that be. I don’t believe another Clinton presidency will throw our country into complete turmoil even though, judging from her silence on environmental policy, our chances of sufficient action against the already spreading effects of climate change seem slim. Rather, I think she’ll do a fine job and things won’t get much worse; the status quo will live on and the middle class will continue to gasp for breath.
But the opportunity for genuine change that pushes the boundaries and attempts more than just what is easy and profitable seems to have slipped between our fingers. I find myself hoping for something more, but not expecting to find it, and wondering above all else: What will happen now?
Sebastianne Kent is anxious about the result of the upcoming election.