Of those key figures who supported Bernie Sanders’s failed quest for the Democratic nomination, none was as ubiquitous at his campaign rallies and pumped up with so much passion as Nina Turner, the former Ohio State senator. Turner, who herself had flunked the election to be her state’s secretary of state despite President Bill Clinton’s spirited help as a campaign surrogate, had no qualms endorsing Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency when the former first lady tossed her hat into the ring. Along came Sanders. And what did Turner do? She ditched the former president’s wife and hitched her wagon to Sanders’s star. Turner was painful to watch as she joined other high-profile Sanders supporters to throw shade at Clinton on television and at rallies to boisterous cheers.
Now that the primaries are long over and many of those who supported Sanders are gradually, if grudgingly, gravitating towards Clinton, the likes of Turner are finding themselves stuck in a no-man’s land, ashamed to return to origin, and instead looking for the sheerest opportunity to hang onto the memories of vanished dreams. That was why on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Laurence O’Donnell last night, she expressed deep disappointment at Clinton’s choice of former Virginia governor Tim Kaine as vice presidential nominee. Turner would have preferred a liberal in the mold of her principal as Clinton’s running mate, be that person an Elizabeth Warren or a Hispanic-American candidate. For that reason, Turner could not guarantee O’Donnell that a lot of Sanders supporters would be motivated enough to vote for Clinton. Turner’s gravamen is that the Democratic base, represented largely by Progressives and Millennials, need to be whipped into a frenzy first before they could vote for Clinton, as neither her nor Kaine is particularly exciting enough as a candidate.
Turner also retweeted two tweets by Michael Moore, liberal activist and documentary filmmaker. One of the tweets reads: “Show me 1 voter gained by naming Tim Kaine. Att’n Hillary campaign: It’s not Trump who’ll beat u. It’s the people who are going to stay home.” Moore, like Turner, was one of the senator’s fanatical supporters during the primaries. And like her, he had nothing too nice to say of Clinton either. It is therefore a little gratuitous for them to claim to know what is best for the Clinton campaign.
Exciting the base can’t be the only consideration that goes into selecting a running mate. There has to be a whole host of other factors, most of which the Clinton folks must have considered as well, as, for example, the running mate’s readiness to govern should something happen to Clinton. After listening to Kaine narrate the story of his life and career at a joint rally with Clinton this afternoon in Miami, I don’t know that there are still many who would come out to argue forcefully that Clinton had made the wrong choice. You don’t have to wear the tag of a Progressive to be actually one. The man, from what we have heard from him, in addition to what we already knew of him, is a living, breathing, talking and walking embodiment of that appellation.
Finally, to Turner and Moore and other Sanders supporters who are so miffed as to want to contemplate staying home because a candidate of their choice wasn’t selected as running mate, I’d like to say this: the thought of Donald Trump as president of the United States should be more than enough motivation for you to vote for Clinton, regardless of what you think of her. If the foreboding darkness that looms large on the horizon does not scare you shitless enough to vote for Clinton, then you must truly hate her that much. And that’s a shame.