This upcoming Presidential campaign has the potential to unite America, if only for the cause of a common enemy. Former presidential hopefuls Senators Cruz and Sanders have polar opposite views on every issue according to Politico. Yet, the two runners up seem to agree on one thing: They do not support Donald Trump.
Cruz’s speech at the RNC said more about his opinion on Trump by the blatant absence of an endorsement than by anything he actually said. It still could represent a shift in strict party loyalty, however, the closest he got to actually suggesting another candidate was by telling citizens to “vote their conscience” and to “vote up and down the ballot.” It is unclear who Cruz may be swinging towards when it comes time for him to place cast his own vote, but one thing is for sure, he is refusing to bring any of his own sway to help elect Trump.
Bernie Sanders held out his support until the last possible moment and has now done a total about face. Recent endorsement of Hillary Clinton shows that he hopes to funnel the momentum and movement that he built through his campaign towards her bid for presidency.
Boos and defiant third party idealists show that this tide may be a difficult one to turn. Senator Sanders has been acclaimed by even Hillary herself for his ability to energize voters that previously found no reason to involve themselves in politics. With a potential candidate that lent his throaty Boston accent to the battle cry for revolution, millennials and many who are tired of the political system found someone to believe in.
Senator Cruz’s refusal to endorse Trump could be seen as almost radical and he has been applauded by many across party lines for his apparent conscience and his call to elect “leaders who stand for principle, who unite us all behind shared values, who cast aside anger for love.” This is a sharp contrast to Donald Trump’s speech during the same convention that focused on fear to get his point across, spending much of the hour and fifteen minutes discussing death and destruction and promising to “restore law and order to our country.”
Senator Sanders came much closer to winning his party’s bid than Senator Cruz, and so has a larger following even as the country pivots towards the general election.
Sanders’ full hearted support of Hillary seems less genuine after such a bitter fight to the end. Where Hillary Clinton stopped the roll call of delegates and nominated President Obama by acclamation when she was in the same position, Sanders refused to give up the fight even after meeting with that same elected president. Now the voters he inspired to follow him with blind anger and lust for revolution are splitting some extremely unhelpful camps.
I actually respect Senator Cruz in his dedication to encouraging voters to make the difference in the upcoming election. While his views on women’s rights, foreign policy and the environment make me sick, I truly appreciate his emphasis on following your heart in the upcoming election. He stuck to his beliefs in a way that also fought against a system of fierce party loyalty no matter the cost.
Sanders on the other hand has preached long and hard about his dedication to certain ideals, yet when faced with the ultimate threat to them, he has not done everything in his power to turn the tide and has gotten a late start. The splitting forces of potential third party voting or even the bizarre group of ex-Berners that are now voting Trump are one of the biggest potential difficulties in the upcoming election.
When Hillary and Obama ran against each other in 2008, plenty of harsh words were tossed back and forth but it was not so divisive that the tide couldn’t be channeled back towards Obama eventually. Some aspects of Hillary’s platform have Sander’s ideas, which could be huge for bringing together party unity.
As the campaign continues, I hope to see the continued unification of the Democratic party, as well as a continued rejection of Donald Trump by respected members of the GOP. Coming together as a country to move forward with love and respect for all has never been more possible than with a laughable and angry lunatic to unite against. Let’s hope that the fire of those who so strongly “felt the Bern” doesn’t get in the way of putting out the hate inferno of Trump’s campaign for presidency.