Clinton campaigning in Paducah
"It's like déjà vu all over again," Yogi Berra supposedly said when he found himself in some situation he thought he'd been in before.
The calendar says it's January, 2016. I'm feeling like it's Nov. 8, 1972, the day after the presidential election.
I'm back in graduate school commiserating with a classmate. Our candidate for president, Democrat George McGovern, had lost in a landslide to Republican Richard Nixon.
"We'll get 'em next time," I said, hoping to cheer her up.
"Oh, I'm not really into politics," she replied. "I was just for McGovern."
I hope I'm wrong. But I'm starting to feel like more than a few folks are "just for" Bernie Sanders.
The other day, I saw an SUV with a "Bernie 2016" sticker on one side of its back window. A "Stop Hillary" sticker was on the other side.
When I got home, I saw where Jeff Wiggins, one of my union brothers, had emailed me an image that showed a couple fussing about Sanders and Clinton.
"If Hillary doesn't get the nomination, then I'm not voting!" one argues. "If Bernie doesn't get the nomination, then I'm not voting!" the other replies.
Below the feudists is a photo of a semi-smirking Donald Trump, frontrunner for the GOP presidential nod. "Thank you both for your support," The Donald says.
The image came from the "Real American Liberal" blog. The guy who runs it isJohn Sheirer, a Massachusetts community college English prof and newspaper columnist who authored the book Tales of a Real American Liberal.
The image illustrated a Sheirer musing headlined "The Sanders-Clinton conundrum." The piece grew out of one of his columns in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, published in Northampton, his Bay State hometown.
"I'm a fan of Bernie Sanders," Sheirer wrote. "....But a disturbing trend has developed. Whenever I engage Sanders supporters in a discussion of the issues, they often voice distrust of Hillary Clinton with claims that she isn't honest, is too much like a Republican, and is too disliked to win the general election. None of these contentions are accurate. Clinton and Sanders are far closer on the issues than most people know, and both candidates fare extremely well in general election polls."
He added, "....Many Sanders supporters call a potential presidential contest between Clinton and the Republican nominee, 'the lesser of two evils.' But lumping Clinton into the same category of 'evil' with the truly horrible cadre of Republicans food-fighting for their party's nomination plays right into the Republican scheme."
I like Sanders, too, though my union, the American Federation of Teachers, has endorsed Clinton. About 20 other unions have endorsed her. Around five are with Sanders.
The AFL-CIO has not endorsed anybody. I wish my union had done likewise.
Anyway, Sheirer is right. Sanders and Clinton do mostly agree on the issues, especially on union issues. Sanders, an independent Vermont senator, doesn't rate a whole lot better than Clinton on the AFL-CIO legislative scorecard.
When she was a New York senator in 2001-2009, Clinton supported the union position on legislation 94 percent of the time. Sen. Sanders has a 98 percent score, according to the AFL-CIO.
When I taught history at a Kentucky community college, 90 and above was an A in my classes.
So we've got two good union candidates on the Democratic side and none on the other side. Trump and every other Republican in the running is a bare-knucks union buster.
If Sanders tops the Democratic ticket, I'll "Feel the Bern" and vote for him. If Clinton is the Democratic nominee, I'll be "Read for Hillary," and she'll get my vote.
"If you stay home because your candidate didn't win, you are just helping give the Republicans a victory," said Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and president of Steelworkers Local 9447 in Calvert City, Ky.
Likewise, Sheirer maintained, "The bottom line is that Democrats must vote, whether we nominate Sanders or Clinton. If we don't, then a Republican will win. That's not fear mongering. That's basic electoral reality."
Here's hoping that reality will dawn on the likes of that SUV owner with those pro-Sanders and anti-Clinton stickers.