I've been doing a lot of arguing on Facebook this week with Bernie or Bust friends who feel that the white-haired disheveled one sold out to Hillary by endorsing her. They would have backed him to the end in a third party run, but now that he's endorsed Clinton, they will be voting for Jill Stein (Green) or Gary Johnson (Libertarian).
Few of them actually believe that Stein or Johnson have any hope at all of winning, but for them it's important for them to vote their "conscience."
I argue that if you have a vote, you should do whatever is best with it. If you can no longer assure that the best person in your judgment will win, then you need to help make sure that the worst person (Donald Trump) doesn't win.
In a college Poli Sci course, a professor explained that "The word radical comes from the Greek word for 'root,' so political radicals are 'back to the roots' people, the political equivalent of a religious fundamentalist. For them, purity is the most important thing. A radical would rather lose with clean hands than win and have to wash his hands afterward." In other words, Radicals aren't practical.
These people who are switching their vote from Sanders to Stein or Johnson seem to me to be political babies who if they can't get what they want, pitch a fit.
Part of the problem can be traced to Sanders himself, who painted a false equivalence between Trump and Clinton, ignoring the fact that Trump is an unqualified narcissistic racist idiot, whereas whatever you can say against Clinton (e.g., that she's too prone to military solutions, maintained an insecure personal server, is a political animal, etc.), she has the qualifications, isn't a narcissist or racist, and certainly is no idiot. In fact, she has a great record on civil rights and making life better and safer for children. Trump just builds things with his name on them and then stiffs his contractors, driving many of them out of business.
Here is a person who remembers when she wasted her vote on Ralph Nader, helping to put George Bush into office, which is when she discovered that Bush and Gore actually WERE different. She writes...
I jumped on the Nader bandwagon and bought into a set of beliefs that seemed right to me at the time but were proven very wrong over the eight years that followed.
Chief among them, I thought that Gore and Bush were essentially indistinguishable. Carbon copies of each other. Both corporate insider candidates, beholden to big-money interests and out of touch with people struggling at the margins of the economy. I’m from the Rust Belt—I grew up near Cleveland—and I had seen factory closures turn a once-vibrant part of the country into a series of ghost towns. I blamed NAFTA and the Clinton administration’s failure to defend unions and stem the tide of outsourcing. In this and on other issues—welfare reform, prison sentencing—I thought the Clinton administration had bent so far backward to win over the right that it had lost its progressive conscience. The economy boomed during the Clinton years, but the gulf between the rich and poor, the haves and have-nots, only widened.
Nader voiced the discontent I was feeling. I was young and idealistic and wanted political revolution. It felt good to back a rabble-rouser, not the stiff, robotic Al Gore. I was annoyed with the Democrats for picking a predictable, incremental candidate who played not to the left, but to the mushy middle. I went to a Nader rally in NYC: Bill Murray, Michael Moore, and Susan Sarandon spoke. Eddie Vedder sang. I felt inspired, part of a movement to bring about real change, ready to cast my protest vote.
But here’s the thing: In the eight years that followed, I was reminded again and again that George Bush and Al Gore were not carbon copies of each other. Bush was a disastrous president.