An open letter to Hillary Clinton

Repeating 2008’s mistakes helps Bernie win. Or turns away his youthful coalition.

Photo: Bernie Sanders at a rally in January 2016.
(Zac Bears/Double Standard)

Secretary Clinton,

I’m a life-long Democrat. I’m a party loyalist. I’ve been involved in local and state elections since age 10. I like you. I like your husband. I read Living History and My Life before I made it to high school. I disagree with many of his policies (and many of yours), but I think you both truly believe you are doing what is best for the American people.

And I’m voting for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary this spring.

I believe you’ll find that many who say they are voting for Bernie would say the same thing about you. That they like you, appreciate your decades of hard work, and will support you in the general election if you beat Bernie for the nomination. But they also see the dangerous side of your ambition—the willingness to attack your friends and to do anything to win.

Their concerns are epitomized in these pictures:

Courtesy of The Other 98/Facebook
(Courtesy of The Other 98%/Facebook)

Hillary, you have to do better.

You are falling into the same trap as you did in 2008, and if you make the same mistakes, you will get the same result. The Democratic primary is not about tearing down Bernie; it’s about presenting a positive vision for America and convincing the people that you are the one to implement it.

As we saw yesterday, the collapse into negativity will not help you. It just makes Bernie’s fundraisers giddy. As the “who do you want answering the phone at 3 a.m.” ploy failed, so will the “Bernie wants to fire your doctor” ploy.

Hillary, I like you. I agree with many of your supporters that you have not gotten a fair shake, both this year and for the past 25 years. It is incredibly difficult to be a woman and a politician in this country. You are so often constrained in what you can say or do. But this is not about that. My fears with you are the same fears Republicans had with Mitt Romney four years ago. The Democrats cannot afford an Etch-A-Sketch candidate. Or at least, we can’t afford it if you cannot explain it better.

Tearing down a man who has been consistently fighting for universal single-payer health care for the past 45 years just won’t work. Democrats are smarter than that. It didn’t take long for PolitiFact to show that Bernie’s plan would save the average American thousands of dollars.

So I ask you Secretary Clinton, I beg you, please stop making the mistakes of 2008. I agree with you that it will be more difficult for Senator Sanders to win a general election than it was for Barack Obama. But if you win the Democratic primary through negativity and attack ads, then you will turn away the groundswell of young Millennials who Senator Sanders is teaching to appreciate real progressive solutions to our nation’s problems. And then you will lose to whatever neo-fascist the Republicans will be forced to nominate.

So, please, stop the attacks. End the hypocrisy. And refocus your campaign on a positive plan to keep America great. If you don’t, you’ll betray everyone, whether they support you or Bernie.

With passion and sincerity,
Zac Bears

(P.S. If you want your biggest issue with young people summarized in 15 seconds, here’s a great video.)

Zac Bears can be reached at


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