I’m a Bernie Guy. Here’s Why I am Voting for Warren

Bernie Sanderr rally at MCC, 4/12/16 [Photo: David Kramer from

Bernie Sanders rally at MCC, Sanders at podium, 4/12/16 [Photo: David Kramer] From Athesia, Video Celeb turned Paparazzi, at the rally

 — George Cassidy Payne

I’m a Bernie guy. I think that Sanders has been, over the past three years, a transcendent political force in American politics.

I voted for him in 2016, and I still believe that he would have beaten Donald Trump if he had been chosen as the Democratic candidate. In 2016 his message of political revolution resonated with tens of millions of voters from every walk of life. When he said, “What my campaign is about is a political revolution — millions of people standing up and saying, enough is enough. Our government belongs to all of us, and not just the hand full of billionaires,” people were ready to not only hear it as a call to action but to actually go out and act!

When Sanders said, “We have got to change the political culture in America. We need a political revolution. That means we are working on politics not just three weeks before an election but 365 days a year,” the general electorate was primed to rise up and do what Sanders believed was necessary.

Skip ahead three years. Can anyone make the argument that the majority of Americans agree with Mr. Sanders that we are in need of a political revolution? That’s certainly not the vibe I am getting. And I bet if the Sanders campaign polled a broad cross-section of American voters, less than 50% would say that they believe in a political revolution.

Again, this is coming from a huge supporter of Bernie Sanders. I agree almost wholeheartedly with his platform: Investment in green technology, small businesses, and farmers, holding financial institutions accountable, advocating for criminal justice reform, championing healthcare as a human right, striving for free college and student loan debt relief, and ending wars of adventure in the Middle East are just a few of the issues that Sanders has stood up for his entire life. In my mind, he is probably the most influential Socialist Democrat in our nation’s history after Eugene Debs.

But “political revolution” in 2020 may not be an effective message. Obviously, it is polarizing and presents a great risk in a general election. Most Americans agree with Sanders when he makes his case, but they do not see what he is calling for in revolutionary terms. When asked the right way, they would say that making bridges safe and using energy wisely is not revolutionary; it is just common sense. Just as providing citizens with affordable and reliable health care is not revolutionary; it is a basic necessity that ensures the survival of a nation. And not wasting trillions of dollars on destructive wars is not revolutionary; on the contrary, it is an act of temperance and justice.

I disagree with Sanders. The majority of Americans are not calling for a revolution. The country, by and large, does not want more chaos, confusion, upheaval, and disruption. They have seen enough of that over the past three years to last a lifetime. The American people want policies that make sense and a leader who knows how to act with a moral compass. They are starving for rationality rather than revolution.

Sanders’ delivery too often comes across as bombastic, overly hostile, and simply too extreme for most voters to get behind, and these are voters who otherwise agree entirely with his ideas.

Of all the democrats running this year, I think Elizabeth Warren is the one who can take Bernie’s message and make it palatable to a wider swath of the general electorate. She is tenaciously smart, well-positioned to speak authoritatively about the economy (Trump’s biggest strength) and in tune with the objectives of the #MeToo Movement. If Trump wants to make his campaign about her DNA and his image of her as Pocahontas, then he is in serious trouble. She has been underestimated her entire life, and, faced with major obstacles, has relentlessly clawed herself to where she is now. If Trump treats Warren lightly, she will deal him a heavy blow indeed.

Still, Sanders is right. He always has been. Revolutions are sometimes necessary. John F. Kennedy once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

But now is not the time for such rhetoric. Warren gets it. What the American people want is something more radical than a revolution. What they want is good governance, peace, and stability in their neighborhoods, quality education for themselves and their children, and the opportunity to pursue happiness. That’s not a revolutionary idea anymore. A war was fought more than two hundred years ago to make sure that these inalienable rights would never be taken for granted again.

That’s why I am voting for Elizabeth Warren. It’s Sander’s message in a voice that can be heard by those who need to be convinced. No sense in preaching to a fanatic base. Who can reach out and persuade moderates and independents? Is it Sanders or Warren? I say, this time around, it has to be Warren.

ON THE 2016 CAMPAIGN SEE:

Would America elect a democratic socialist? We already have. Think FDR

Asking and answering three questions at the Bernie Sanders rally from George Payne

On seeing my first Trump supporters outside the Bug Jar

Citizenship in action at the corner of Culver and Parsells

Athesia makes D & C print endorsement!

Athesia, Video Celeb turned Paparazzi, at the rally

Millions of views and counting! Athesia makes the featured Bernie Sanders campaign video.

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  1. Bill Pruitt

    I am deeply shocked that astute writer of George Cassidy Payne’s level would be pro-Bernie. Bombastic is only the start of it! Of course Warren is better. So is Harris. So is Buttigieg. But all that the machines are hackable and nobody is doing anything about it. So the question of who you’re voting for better simply be: the Democrat.

  2. George Payne

    Bill, I appreciate that you read my article. Although I doubt you are “deeply shocked” by something so mundane as a short and rather benign opinion piece, I can respect that you are not a proponent of Sanders and the ideas he champions. I am. In 20 years or so, our country will look back and see that nearly every issue he fought for is one that our nation adopted for its very survival as a democracy: real action on climate change, an end to imperialistic foreign wars, the restoration of labor unions and workers rights, a closing of the wealth and pay gap, the protection of civil and human rights, sensible gun laws, a balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestine conflict, and more.

    I do not claim astuteness. But if I possess that quality at all, then it would lead me to support a politician such as Sanders. I am siding with Warren, only after serious deliberation and not a little remorse.

    • Bill Pruitt

      I am deeply shocked because I thought you could see through Sanders,. In 2016 he made all kinds of statements about what he would do without the slightest sense of how he would accomplish them. What kind of expertise did he have that would make the Republican legislature do what Obama could not? When it was time to back off, did he explain to his supporters that the DNC had not stolen the nomination from him, that it was not true that more Democrats supported him than her? Not so you could hear it! Even worse, did he clearly even try to persuade his supporters that his criticism of her– while valid– was NOTHING compared to the nightmare her opponent would create? Not at all. Which I think helped more than a few decide there wasn’t enough difference to bother. This brought him in history to Ralph Nader than to anyone else.

  3. George Payne

    There is a lot to deconstruct in this response. Let me start by saying that I am glad we live in a democracy where not only two people like you and I can have these discussions, but two democratic candidates can challenge each other right down to the wire. The election was never Clinton’s to lose. She had to earn every last vote. At no point, should Sanders have just handed it over to her; nor should he have acted as if he did not have a chance of being victorious. We all know that many shenanigans happened on all sides.

    Sanders has proposed ways to pay for his programs and make this a more equitable, just, and progressive society. You may not like his methods (i.e., taxing the rich, corporations, and rediverting money from defense) but he has well thought out plans, Besides, what institution or program is working well under the current system? Healthcare? Education? Infrastructure? The Debt? Winning wars? Curbing violence? Fighting climate change? The status quo is killing us. Sadly, Clinton represented the status quo to almost half the nation. That is why she lost, not Sanders.

    And by the way, Nader is a great American citizen. His work on auto safety alone has saved more lives than the Clintons, Gore, Bushe, Omama, and Trump put together.

  4. Bill Pruitt

    Nader’s candidacy = Gore loss= no invasion of Iraq =completely different world .I’m sure you will contest this, but it looks very plausible to me. My point about Sanders you don’t address. How was he going to execute these excellent plans? He talked as if it would just magically happen upon his election. Which yesterday did he think we were born? Everything was about what, and nothing about how.. You also don’t address the very real points about enabling his supporters to justify not voting for HRC, raising serious questions about his character for many of us.

  5. George Payne

    I don’t think it was Bernie’s job to tell intelligent, well informed, politically conscious voters what to do or think. He had too much respect for them to treat them, as you are suggesting, like sheep and children.

    I invite you to go to his website and actually read his plans. These are the same ideas that he had in 2016. You may not agree with how he intends to pay for these programs, but to say that he does not have a fully articulated plan for every proposal is disingenuous. Sanders has not only been philosophizing about these ideas for decades, as a Senator of Vermont, he has also actually put many of them into practice.

    Regarding Gore’s foreign policy credentials, it is difficult to say what he would have done as president. Maybe not a misadventure in Iraq, but perhaps he would have gotten ensnared elsewhere. Judging by the Clinton-Gore mishaps in Somalia, Rwanda, and the utter failure to stop al-Queda, it is clear that his judgment on these matters was far from impeccable.

    Nader had a right to run, a right to persuade anyone he could find to vote for him, and the right to challenge Gore on his many faults and weaknesses as a candidate. That he certainly did.

    • Bill Pruitt

      It’s funny how this issue of rights comes up,as if I were questioning someone’s rights. Of course Bernie has a right to run, and Ralph too.I was talking about their responsibilities, which is a different thing. I think Nader could not see much difference between Gore and Bush, maybe you also. I think Gore invading Iraq is a stretch made more plausible by your affinity for Nader. It took Cheney to get Bush to invade Irag, for Christ’s sake.Re: Sanders, I am not talking about plans and ideas. HOW IS HE GOING TO CARRY OUT THE PLANS? His bluster tells you: He’s going to make it happen. I don’t think so. I’d like to see some realistic appraisal of the mountain to be climbed, but it’s too late for that. It’s bombast time. As far as his job not to tell people what to think, do you really find his speeches thoughtful, inviting reflection? I think he uses rhetoric and old time fustian oratory just like the speakers on the backs of trains, he’s just got a different message (N.B. my equation should have read: Nader candidacy= Gore loss= invasion of Iraq= world as we know it today. Too much dry eye to type straight.).I think these people have responsibilities as well as rights.

  6. George Payne

    “HOW IS HE GOING TO CARRY OUT THE PLANS?” How else can he talk? How can anyone describe how they are going to accomplish a goal without referencing a plan? Every solution was once a plan. Every plan hopes to become a solution. What do you want from him? To zoom ahead into the future and record how his plans worked and then come back to the present and post the methods online?

    • Bill Pruitt

      It’s simple. The content of a plan should include the means of carrying it out, in these times especially. The obstructionist Republicans should be included in the (public) thinking. How else can he talk? He could begin by acknowledging the difficulties and complexities of running radical reform past this Congress. He is not talking about deal-making, he is catering to the righteous and pure-minded and those who do not dip their pinkies into realpolitik.. He is not showing smarts. This whole way of thinking summarizes how Democrats marginalize themselves.I think I’m done with this exchange.

  7. George Payne

    “I think I’m done with this exchange.” The adult equivalent to “I’m taking my ball and going home.” If you care enough to listen, Sanders talks about the “difficulties and complexities of running radical reform past this Congress” all of the time. Once again, I sincerely invite you to take some time to learn more about what Sanders is proposing and the means he has laid out for making his ideas work. Many of them are not radical at all. They make perfect sense and it is a shame that our country is not doing much of what he calls for already. Don’t settle for Republican talking points and the soundbites from the reality TV debates. As the nation’s most progressive candidate, from one of her most rural states, I think he knows a little something about deal making. Besides, after another year of the Trump trainwreck, my guess is that members of Congress on both sides will be eager to work with someone who is experienced, convicted, well- intended, and NOT a malignant narcissist and pathological liar. I often wonder how many so-called Trump supporters secretly wish that he would just go away but do not have the courage to say so in public. No one is more radical or unpredictable when it comes to getting stuff done in Congress than the current POTUS.

    • Bill Pruitt

      I know you meant it to belittle, but there’s actually nothing wrong with knowing when it’s time to take your ball and go home. I wish it were more frequently practiced.

  8. George Payne

    I’m glad you brought up responsibilities in a previous post. Do you think Clinton had a responsibility to campaign harder in swing states such as Wisconsin and Michigan? Or was that Sanders fault? Did Gore have a responsibility to display an ounce of charisma? Or was that Nader’s fault? And do you think voters have a responsibility to inform themselves about the candidates they are so eager to lambaste?

    Are you still kicking around or have you taken your ball for real this time?

  9. George Payne

    “I am deeply shocked that an astute writer of George Cassidy Payne’s level would be pro-Bernie.” Let’s go back to the beginning of our exchange. How you began this conversation does not constitute an argument, That was a simpleminded and cheap attack on my personal judgment. As far as I am concerned, you are not able to challenge Sanders on the issues. You had a kneejerk, emotional outburst of frustration. Try thinking for yourself, Bill. When called out on your inability to deal with facts rather than feelings, all you could do was pretend to take the higher ground. If you want to have a substantive debate, I’m all in. But that’s not what you want to do. It’s so much easier to just bash a person’s character than it is to actually talk about policies. For someone who ostensibly dislikes Trump so much, I can’t help but notice how effortlessly you employ his tactics.