Dems. must be pragmatic and support Hillary

To the editor:

As a Democrat, I stand squarely behind Hillary Clinton. Imperfect and human, she is our best and most reliable hope.

It's been said, "Democrats have a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory," a possibility growing each day as Bernie Sanders' campaign, initially meant to widen and deepen Democratic policies, now divides and undermines the strength of the Democratic Party. Democrats are potentially handing the presidency over to a Republican who will make the Bush years look like the Renaissance.

Democrats, please ponder the following questions:

* Have we forgotten our memory? In 1972, a solid, admirable, "pure" Democrat, George McGovern, took on Republican rival Richard Nixon, winning one state (Massachusetts) while Nixon won 49. In 2000, the "pure" third party candidate Ralph Nader whittled away Al Gore's slim lead over Bush as followers "voted their conscience".

* Do we realize how little political capital Democrats now have? Face it, Dems, we are an endangered species with a Republican majority in both Congressional houses and 31 states with Republican governors. Sanders' promise of instituting juicy financial and social policies is both admirable and dubious. After cutting food stamps for hungry people, this Congress will be providing free college tuition to students? After passing 60 bills to eliminate Obamacare, this Congress will soon be passing single-payer? As ranting has seemingly replaced meaningful dialogue in this election, so too the misperception that simply by preaching to our own choir, the rest of the country will fall in line.


* What effect is demonizing Hillary having on the Democratic Party? The more Bernie is heralded the good guy and Hillary the bad one, galvanizing the Democratic vote, especially the youth vote, looks more and more perilous. Copying from the Republican campaign playbook, Democrats exaggerate and spin Hillary's faults and missteps into epic proportions. The well-intentioned Sanders campaign is creating a toxic environment for anyone but Bernie.

We are bickering over how progressive and pure our candidates are while ignoring the foreboding political enemies at hand. Hillary, by all measures, is the experienced, diplomatic, most informed and knowledgeable candidate most likely to win the nomination and the national vote. We need to come together and get behind a tried and true candidate with the best chance of protecting our country's political future, Hillary Clinton.

Peggy Schjeldahl, Lenox