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I'm Crushed Bernie Lost to Hillary. What Now?

Photograph by Getty Images

The 2016 presidential election has been remarkable in many ways. For me, it’s the first time in my life that I’ve felt truly connected to a candidate, presidential or otherwise. That candidate was Bernie Sanders and, up until he endorsed Hillary Clinton last night, he had my full support and, of course, my vote.

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I mean, nothing would please me more than to see him become our country’s 45th president. As a fervent Sanders supporter, it pains me that this dream won’t be realized. When I heard Bernie speak, I felt a deep and heady sense of pride in him, his ideals and ideas, the U.S., my daughter's future. The fact that he won't be president is a crushing disappointment, it's true. I'm less hopeful, I feel less powerful.

And yet: I will support Hillary Clinton. The alternative is much more painful. To me, not votin for her is the utterly apocalyptic choice, one that leads to a Trump presidency.

Some people—most notably Sanders’ own very vociferous supporters—question my commitment to the political revolution set forth by the Vermont senator. Because of the shady, shameful, profoundly un-democratic way the DNC handled this election, they see my support of her as hypocritical, even foolish.

But those supporters are wrong. The single most foolish thing Sanders' supporters can do this November is not vote for Clinton.

We must do whatever we can to ensure Trump is not the president and, at this point, the only way to do that is to vote for Clinton.

As he outlined in his wonderfully moving speech on the first night of the Democratic National Convention, Sanders has worked with Clinton to create the most progressive platform in the party's history. It's the result of negotiations and collaboration, and a platform that now includes a significant number of Sanders’ core proposals: a $15 minimum wage, expanded and strengthened gun control measures, and a climate plan that calls for putting a price on carbon. Sanders lengthy campaign that hadn't truly ended until last night has single-handedly moved the Democratic party back to the left where it belongs—and he knows the only way we can continue that work is with Hillary Clinton as Commander In Chief.

Criticisms of Clinton as a shrewd and centrist politician aren’t without merit. But compared to Trump, whose terrifying vision of America is one where “a big and beautiful wall” solves the immigration crisis, Muslims are banned, the Environmental Protection Act “is a disgrace” and Planned Parenthood—which provides vital health services to many women, including the poor and/or rural women—will be defunded.

Hands down, there’s no contest.

And that’s not even considering the disastrous effects of a Trump-appointed Supreme Court justice. As Sanders himself notes, when considering Clinton or Trump, “The choice is not even close.” At the end of the day, the political reality is this: a vote for Hillary is a vote against Trump.

So, no, I won't sit this election out, write in Sanders’ name or support a third-party candidate like Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. Any of these options will split the votes and do nothing to keep Trump out of the White House.

We owe it to ourselves, our country and our future to work within the flawed system we have even as we strive to change it.

With polls and reliable sources like statistician Nate Silver now predicting Trump’s victory in the general election, the facts are stark (and frightening): The country simply cannot afford to lose one single vote for Clinton. We must do whatever we can to ensure Trump is not the president and, at this point, the only way to do that is to vote for Clinton.

Sure, an argument can be made that the DNC brought this on themselves by denying the candidate, who polls showed could beat Trump. But blame doesn’t change the outcome if Trump wins.

We owe it to ourselves, our country and our future to work within the flawed system we have even as we strive to change it. No matter how much we agreed with Bernie Sanders, no matter how unfair so much of this feels.

RELATED: What Hillary Clinton Means For Our Sons

Sanders recognizes his supporters are upset over the way this election has played out, and no doubt he shares some of this disappointment. Yet he also recognizes there's only one way to ensure that we have a fighting chance to continue a political revolution that will ultimately make our country better and stronger.

And that is to defeat Donald Trump.

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