People upset, furious, or otherwise flummoxed by Senator Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president need to understand that he will vote the lesser evil and fight the lesser evil at the same time.
That is exactly what Sanders did in 2012 when he endorsed Barack Obama for president and then took him on when he tried to cut Social Security. Sanders’ vigorous opposition aborted what would have been another case of voting for the lesser evil and getting the greater evil as a result.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama explicitly promised that he would “reject any plan that slashes Social Security benefits” but within days of getting re-elected, he put Social Security benefits on the chopping block during deficit reduction negotiations with Congressional Republicans as part of a so-called Grand Bargain.
Sanders sprang into action against Obama’s backstabbing of senior citizens, the poor, and the disabled who depend on Social Security by forming the Senate’s Defend Social Security caucus. The Defend Social Security Caucus began with just 6 Senators but once Sanders reached outside the Beltway to help mobilize mass organizations like American Association of Retired People (AARP) and the AFL-CIO, the caucus’ influence grew to 30 Senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
This was political revolution in action — mobilizing the American people in the interests of the American people to force politicians to work for them instead of the billionaire class.
After nearly two years of struggle, Sanders and his allies succeeded in forcing the Obama administration to back away from cutting Social Security. In 2016, Obama flip-flopped completely and adopted Sanders’ call to expand Social Security.
None of the above would have happened if Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election. Because struggling successfully for a progressive agenda would be much more difficult under a Romney administration than under an Obama administration, Sanders viewed Romney as the greater evil and campaigned to defeat him.
Sanders is taking the same approach to the 2016 presidential election: defeat Donald Trump, fight Hillary Clinton. Sanders understands that sometimes getting to the greater good requires trudging through, against, and over the lesser evil first.