By Lila Kohrman-Glaser
Lila lives in Dover and is the director of the climate organization 350NH. The views expressed in this piece are her own and do not represent an organizational endorsement of any candidate.
Letter to Progressive Voters-Why I switched my support from Warren to Bernie
Like many people in NH, I have met most of the candidates, watched the debates, and read through their platforms. I like Elizabeth Warren and I like Bernie Sanders. I like their impressive Green New Deal plans, their records on keeping money out of politics and their commitments to make big societal change for the 99%. I have no doubt that either one of these candidates would make a great president, but for months I leaned towards Warren. She is without a doubt, the candidate who inspires me the most and it has been hard to give up the dream of seeing her in the Oval Office. So why did I switch my support to Bernie?
If we want a progressive nominee, we need to be united. If we allow the left’s vote to be split between Bernie and Warren, then Biden (the other front runner) is going to win the primary, something that I believe we need to avoid at all costs. Not just because Biden’s policy proposals fall far short of what the American people need, but because Biden’s campaign lacks the momentum required to beat Trump.
I have been to Biden’s events. He can barely pull a crowd and the people who do come leave the venue with less energy than when they walked in-you would too if you had just been subjected to an hour of semi-coherent rambling about mediocre policies from decades ago and vague talk of rebuilding the middle class. In order to win in November, the Democratic candidate is going to need to rely on unprecedented youth voter turnout. Yet, Biden is openly hostile and patronizing towards the few young people he encounters on the campaign trail and his positions on climate, healthcare and student debt, the top three issues for many of NH’s youth, make him an undesirable candidate to much of my generation.
The Bernie campaign has the unparalleled grassroots movement that it is going to take to beat Trump. Bernie has raised the most grassroots donations from the most individual small donors. He boasts endorsements from progressive organizations representing more than 1.5 million people across the country (notably: People’s Action, The Center for Popular Democracy and the Sunrise Movement) and from representatives like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
Most importantly, the Bernie campaign has an army of volunteers. I have watched in real time on facebook as my friends and coworkers from highschool and college host phone banks and stream into Iowa and NH from across the country to volunteer for Bernie. This is what it takes to win. While the Warren campaign is undoubtedly well organized by driven and passionate people,it lacks the grassroots momentum of the Bernie campaign.
If we want to see progressive change then we need to align around one progressive candidate. The primary may still be a couple of weeks away, but the American left has already voted with their dollars, with their endorsements and with their feet. He may not have been my first choice, but the grassroots movements of the American left have chosen Bernie Sanders. My choice is to stand behind this grassroots wave and to do my part to build on the spectacular momentum that Bernie has already created. I urge you to join me.
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