I have many friends who consider themselves progressive and are excited about Bernie Sanders's run for the presidency. Their excitement excites me. The appearance that the Jewish agnostic former Socialist mayor of Burlington VT has a chance at a major party nomination is downright thrilling to me.
The hopeful progressive voter is Charlie Brown, the Democratic Party is Lucy van Pelt, and Senator Bernard Sanders is just another football.
Even if we ignore the way the DNC has rigged the primary contest in the past—and will rig it for Hillary Clinton this year—I cannot and will not join my friends in supporting Senator Sanders. His positions on foreign and defense policy are far from progressive; his votes in Congress on such matters as drone strikes, the F-35 boondoggle, and Israel's operations against Palestinians in Gaza are deal-breakers. They do not represent the nation I want to live in or the ideals I hope it will some day embody.
None of the candidates is perfect, nor should we expect perfection. We should not view the presidential campaign as an ideological purity test. But we should vote our consciences, and my conscience is in direct conflict with some of Bernie's positions.
In the event that Sanders does not win the nomination, I fervently hope that my progressive friends will switch and vote Green, especially here in Texas.
David Cobb, the Green Party's 2004 presidential nominee (and a man whose friendship I treasure), reminds us that we do not have one presidential election every four years, but fifty-one separate elections. This is the result of the ratification of the 12th Amendment, following the chaotic election of 1800, and the creation of Electoral College. No Democrat has won Texas since Jimmy Carter in 1976, post-Watergate; only Bill Clinton in 1992 has come close, and that was thanks to H. Ross Perot's third-party effort.
Considering the Republicans who have won statewide elections in recent years, their victory margins, and the generally paltry turnout figures, no Democratic nominee has a chance here until the situation changes drastically. That frees up progressive voters in Texas (of whom there are more than non-Texans might realize) to vote their values and hopes.