Dear Mr. Sanders,
You are a good and intelligent person. I think you would make a fine president of the United States. I have been planning to take part in the Washington State caucuses (not an uncomplicated task) and vote for you in my home precinct. But I’m sorry to say that, as of right now, I am changing my mind.
The reason you are losing my support is not because of anything you’ve done, or any of your stated policies and beliefs. I agree with everything you stand for. But Your most vehement supporters are scaring me, and therefore, I think that the sooner you are out of the race, the better. It will give many of them (though certainly not all, or even most) the chance to cool down and let reason prevail.
You see, while you are not running against some great conspiracy to “coronate” Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president, you are running against a formidable candidate with a political organization that has been in place, and active, since well before the 2008 election cycle. Clinton has the “boots on the ground” as they say, and nearly every Democratic congressman, senator and Governor has endorsed her.* That means more than chatroom support or straw poll victories. Ask Ron Paul about that. For you, Bernie, to win the nomination, you’re going to have to do it by winning in states where you have little to no staff or organization. It would be a miracle, and a long-fought and bitter primary season, if you are to win.
And, if you don’t win, this is what we face: Nearly every Sanders supporter I know has said, to the effect, that if you aren’t the Democratic nominee, then they are not going to vote in November. They would rather let a Republican win the White House, let a conservative pick the Supreme Court justices for the next four or eight years, undo Obamacare, gay and women’s rights, even civil rights, rather than make the important choice to send Hillary (who they call a corporate whore, or worse) to the White House. That is a ruinous promise to make, and is reminiscent of the disaster that was Ralph Nader in 2000 (or, from the Republican perspective, Ross Perot in 1992).
So, because it isn’t certain you can win — and win enough quickly to ensure you’ll be the nominee — I have to say that the prudent course is that you lose primaries early and often, and get out of the way sooner rather than later. That may let time heal the anger in some of your supporters so they return to reason in November. I know you won’t run a third-party campaign (you’re a man of your word and intelligent) but a large percentage of your supporters writing you in or refusing to vote could tip swing states such as Florida and Ohio to the Republicans. And I just can’t take that chance. I’m sorry.
You want my vote back? Then tell your supporters to calm down, to stop screaming about conspiracies every time they think something isn’t going their way. Tell them that the Party and what it stands for is more important than the Candidate. Those are the times we live in. If I can hear rational discussion from your supporters, and an end to conspiracy rantings and hatred, then I can rejoin them.
-Chuck E., WA State
Preemptive note about comments: Feel free to disagree with me below, vehemently if you wish, but I primarily want this letter to stand on its own. This is really how I feel and is really how my thoughts on Sanders have changed over the last six months or so. It’s not rocket science, or even tortured logic, just pragmatic decision-making. I neither think Hillary is a savior nor that Sanders is unqualified. I am personally happy to have either of them as president. Peace.