Opinion: Democrats, I Did What You Asked, and It Still Isn’t Enough

When my significant other told me about Bernie Sanders as his campaign started, I dismissed his claims that this guy sounded like “the real deal.” I was dismissive of him and told him that Clinton was going to be the nominee and that she would be president.

Boy was I wrong.

Amanda Smash Hyde
Amanda Smash Hyde

The more I listened to what Bernie was saying, the more it resonated with me. His vision for America was of a place I never allowed myself to dream of. It was an America for all of us.

Like most of the people in this country, my path hasn’t been an easy one. I am an adopted child of lower-middle income, religious, blue collar and divorced parents. We lived in a small central California farm town. We never went hungry, but we always knew struggle. We moved a lot, and I knew my parents worked hard. I was a latch key kid, and I never dreamed of college because we didn’t have the money, plus I had learning disabilities so I struggled in school.

My story is the story of so many Americans. The Americans who Bernie’s message hit home with. He could see the scars, and the suffering, the struggle. He saw us.

I began spreading the word of Sanders. I went to local meet ups, followed online groups. I voraciously foraged for connectivity to other like-minded supporters. The energy was incredible. The joy, and happiness of finding my people was an indescribable feeling. Along with this feeling something incredible happened — our message started to grow. Our far-fetched dreams were actually becoming feasible.

The media didn’t report about us and still our message spread person to person, which became part of its magic. It was personal. In this era of screens and complete disconnection, we had found a way to reconnect.

As our momentum grew ,so did the opposition. My friends are all very politically involved, and my partner and I quickly became “those Bernie people” in local social circles. We were treated like a joke. The asks of our campaign were laughable and impossible, and yet, the momentum kept growing.

Democrats told us we were wrong, we were liars, we didn’t understand the process. They mocked us, cyber bullied, name called, labeled us and blamed us. They threatened us, they dismissed cold hard facts, and black and white evidence. To this day they still carry these feelings.

I wanted a better, different America, and that made me the bad guy.

You all know what happened. I honestly don’t want to relive it. Our beautiful message of an attainable utopia was stolen from us by our own party, our own friends. They lied and cheated and put us in the middle of a terrible game of wizard’s chess.

They told us our candidate wouldn’t and couldn’t win, and that the choice they had made from the very beginning was the better choice. Do you know what it feels like to go through all that work when they never had any intention other than doing what they wanted from the start? What it’s like to be in a game that you were never ever going to win? My own party manipulated and lied to me, and even when there was evidence this happened it was shrugged off like an “oh well!”

I stayed home from work that day, and I watched every painful moment of the convention. I wept and I mourned. When I shouted “Bernie or Bust” I really meant it. My heart was with our mission. I was the last of my friends to stay on the path of Bernie. Everyone else had abandoned ship and leapt into the Hillary lifeboat.

After a little time and a moment of clarity, I realized that I could stand back and watch and be an “I told you so” or I could follow the lead of my leader. I choose the latter.

I threw myself in full force behind a candidate that had eviscerated my dreams. I loved Bernie and his message that much.

I canvassed, I door knocked, I used social media, I organized. For Hillary I did everything I had done for Bernie. I was an amazing tool to be utilized on the campaign trail because I was one of those “Bernie Bros,” and if I was able to let it go and focus on the task at hand so could you.

When I went to the Hillary campaign office in Nevada I was actually referred to several times by the disparaging names we were branded with in the primary. I was there working for them and even then I was treated as a sub class. They felt the need to note I hadn’t always been “one of them”.

I never said a word. I kept my head down and I kept working and fighting.

As the debates and the campaign progressed I became more at peace with Hillary Clinton becoming president. Sure, she was qualified. It would be nice to have a woman as president, and she had adopted a large portion of our platform. I really felt this was an acceptable compromise.

And here we are now. We have Donald Trump as our president.

I cried harder on Tuesday night than I ever have in my adult life. It felt like a death and a breakup combined. I was in utter and complete shock and disbelief. I knew in my core that this is what was going to happen, but I wanted to believe I could work, hope and pray the inevitable away. I couldn’t. I wasn’t strong enough, and I felt like I had let myself and my country down.

I went through the full gambit of thoughts and emotions. I began to read articles and posts, call people and have dialogues. Why did this happen? How do we prevent this from happening again? I thought for sure my blue brothers and sisters would see we need to assess and learn and come together.

I evaluated my own path. I had myself started to believe the tag lines, and the “isms” that the Democratic Party had given me to defeat Trump. I thought maybe the U.S. really is all racist, sexist, and facist. Maybe, I thought, this was all because she was a woman and America wasn’t ready for that. I think that there is a portion of the U.S. that isn’t ready for a woman leader, but I think blaming this situation on sexism isn’t evaluating the situation as a whole.

Then the denial of the Democrats started to pour in. I was floored. Here we are, we did this, and some of us still aren’t accepting our part in why this happened. They were still taking the road that led us to destruction.

Calling the Republicans racist bigots and not listening to their concerns is what got us here. Eating our own — the working class that is the backbone and the real base of the Democratic Party – is what got us here. We denied them their wants in the primary. We yelled at them to “get in line or else,” and now we are going to blame third party voters for this end result?!

Blame, avoidance, denial, what do these emotions achieve? Nothing.

Democrats – we did this. This is our fault. We alienated and didn’t engage our core. Our party has become Republican-light and that is not what America wants. The DNC alienated their people, leaving them with nothing to cling to but the terrifying change. You gave them the lesser of two evils and they choose no one. So they stayed home.

Yet I am not leaving this country, and I am not leaving this party.

The moderate Democrats have destroyed our party and the people have spoken. I am no longer believing their propaganda. I will no longer wait my turn and accept the crumbs they want to distribute. I will enlist in every local Democratic Party group. I will run for office. I will form community groups and organizations. I will recreate my party to match the demands of the people it should be representing from the bottom up.

Democrats, I did everything you asked of me and more. I devoted my life to you. I did things that my other progressives refused to do. I betrayed my own wishes to help you. I did all this and it still isn’t enough for you. You still blame me for wanting something fair and right. Will you please stop breaking my heart? Will you please learn from your mistakes? We need you and if you don’t work with us you will cease to exist.

Amanda Smash Hyde is a local activist and esthetician.

  1. I have to remind myself that in every other democratic country on earth, the one with the most votes wins – so Hillary would be the winner. One person, one vote. That is how it should be. The electoral college needs to go and this should be everyone’s concern.
    I would also like to remind people that the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Some states had very strict voter ID laws and no early voting. This took votes from disenfranchised people who traditionally vote blue. There has been re-districting in favor of republicans.
    It seems that 58% of white women voted for Trump. We are our own worst enemies. I can’t explain how any female – and any nice guy – could vote for an old man who thinks sexual assault is okay.

  2. Amanda,

    Amazingly poignant and i agree with you. I saw how the democratic party destroyed Marianne Williamson when she was running for Waxman’s seat in the 33rd district. Here was a woman who has dedicated a huge part of her life to supporting and helping the Gay community. The backlash and lack of support from that community in the name of the democratic party was incredible. Lindsey Horvath even wrote an article calling her out for being a radical Pro life candidate! why? because Marianne believed abortion has a moral component and an underage girl should receive counseling prior to just being able to run scared to a free clinic for a free abortion. She also has moral reservations about late term abortions. The way the NOW (democratic party apparatchiks) excoriated her really made me think hard about how low the party would go against it’s own. Marianne was a miniscule version of Bernie Sanders here in LA and she was eviscerated by the democratic party. Not John Duran, not Heilman, not one member of the Gay City council that owes a huge debt of gratitude to Project Angel Food that Marianne was instrumental in creating and growing gave her the time of day. I even heard women have the audacity to tell her before Waxman resigned how could she consider running against him, Was she serious!!!

    The fact is that the Democratic party is arrogant and horrible to those that don’t step in line. If you have an alternative they are not interested you will experience Amanda’s pain and ridicule – and then all we do is blame year after year on how Republicans are racists and homophobes! Donald Trump isn’t even the problem He’s just a shiny object that everyone is focused on.
    Consider this:
    Obama began his presidency with 62 of the nation’s 99 legislatures in the democrats control!
    After this election The REPUBLICANS are in control of 68!!!
    Democrats lost control of the governorship’s and legislatures of Michigan and Wisconsin!!!
    Seriously How do democrats lose 2 states that have been blue for ever!!!
    Vermont even elected a republican Governor!!
    Trump isn’t the problem The Democratic party of today is the problem and Amanda is a perfect example of the rot in the party.

    If you want to keep crying and blaming Trump rather than considering the soul searching that is required to look state by state at the local democratic parties then stay the victim and blame Racists, homophobes and Rednecks for the problems we have brought on ourselves!

  3. Amanda, I feel your pain. Having been around the Democratic Party for longer than I care to say, the most consistent thing I heard as an activist from the Party establishment is that “its just not time” for meaningful change. As an advocate for same gender marriage in the 1990s it was sure lonely out there until San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom decided to out flank his progressive gay critics by embracing the issue. Suddenly the very LGBT leaders that had been dismissive of the issue and those who counseled delay were forced to take up the cause. The rest is history.

    So stand by your principles and you will never have regrets.

  4. Amanda I love you a lot and your passion but there is no need to blame your discount the thought that you got behind Hillary. Hillary won the popular vote. Her first mistake was not embracing Bernie for a ClintonSanders ticket. I supported that. She had four million more votes in the primary, you support democracy don’t ya? The electoral college in this country was created in a time when the small states were a year behind the big media markets. We used to say hat in the fashion business where trends were slow to reach the masses. Today things have changed and the media and cable and fashion and information have created a level playing field in data and info. Our fight should be one person one vote and our individual voices should not be marginalized or discounted by faithless electors. Hillary had faults and one of them was too much dignity. Today you may have saw a photo on the news of her hiking. Where was that all during the campaign? She acted like a lady instead of a fighter. Comey did her in. Lynch let Comey have the reigns. Obama could have stepped in too on that matter. Trump highlighted things people felt, he appeared to work harder and speak to things in a way she didn’t . Americans like a cowboy, Reagan, Bush, Trump. She was too politically correct because the first woman candidate had special challenge. I apppreciate your beautiful synopsis but as democrats fighting for much of the same principles finger pointing to eachother is not the solution. Yes we lost, but one thing for sure. Trump made enemies of many. And I too have fences to mend in my family and among my friends. The shop got hate speak for being for Hillary, some said they would never come there again. This is a great country because of people and passions like you. But nothing says Bernie would have won.. there is no proof so there should be no blame.
    Keep fighting because we are Stronger Together.

  5. Out of all the pundits and analysis of this election and it’s horrible outcome, Sandra’s is by far the most heartfelt and spot on as to what ails the Democratic Party, our political structures, and the “inside the beltway” of how our system operates so dysfunctionally.


  6. “Democrats – we did this. This is our fault. We alienated and didn’t engage our core. Our party has become Republican-light and that is not what America wants.”

    Well said, Amanda. I do think there is truth to that and the answer is to keep fighting for the issues that we care about and re-engage the progressive core. For example Trump will begin dismantling all environmental regulations, forcibly deporting illegal immigrants, forcing Muslims to register, etc… but only IF WE LET HIM. The progressive core is about to be incredibly energized.

    Let’s remember that 60% of voters in CA voted NO on Trump, as did the majority of voters nationally. So I don’t think he has a legitimate mandate on these issues.

  7. i voted for Trump after what i saw what “we” the democrats did to him.
    Sanders was “my man”.
    Sanders was my first choice.

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