I write this column on the morning of the New Hampshire primary. I expect Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersObama makes 0K for speech at A&E event: report Van Jones: Obama should do ‘poverty tour’ Sanders calls for renewed focus on fighting climate change MORE (Vt.) to win the Democratic primary, probably by a substantial double-digit margin. Anything less would upset predictions made by virtually every single poll and pundit.
In 1968, other progressives and I worked for anti-Vietnam War candidate Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-Minn.) in New Hampshire and refused to work for the eventual Democratic nominee, progressive Democratic Gov. Hubert Humphrey (Minn.). The result: Richard Nixon's election as president.
In 1972, we worked for left-base candidate Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.), the Democratic nominee. The result: Nixon carried 49 states.
In 1980, we worked for Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) against an incumbent Democratic president whom we did not consider liberal enough. The result: Ronald Reagan carried 44 states.
In 1984, we supported the great progressive Sen. Walter Mondale (D-Minn.), former vice president, who promised to raise taxes. Reagan won 49 states.
In 1988, we supported Michael Dukakis, progressive Democratic governor from Massachusetts. Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush won 40 states.
Only in 1992, when a liberal Democrat who governed Arkansas for a decade from the center with bipartisan coalitions — who supported liberal social programs but also insisted on individual responsibility, welfare reform and balanced budgets — ran as the Democratic nominee, did we win. Bill ClintonBill ClintonBuzzFeed toasts free press at alternative WHCA party Why Trump sitting out the correspondents' dinner is a huuuge mistake Larry Summers: Mnuchin squandering his credibility with Trump tax proposal MORE was elected twice and left office after creating 23 million jobs, turned an inherited deficit in to a major surplus and left his second term with a 65 percent job-approval rating — the highest rating in the history of second-term presidents since modern polling was invented.
And in 2008 and 2012, we elected and reelected a president who was not only a progressive and the first African-American president, he also tried to govern, like Bill Clinton, from the center — attempting to reduce the deficit while enacting the Affordable Care Act; signing a global anti-global warming pact; and, through the Iran nuclear deal, getting a real chance to control or eliminate Iran's runaway race to create a nuclear bomb.
Yet in 2011, Sanders talked of challenging Obama, the incumbent Democratic president, for reelection because he was not progressive enough — just as he criticizes Democratic rival Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonBiden: ‘Guys, I’m not running’ Trump says email hacking during election 'could've been China' or other groups Maxine Waters: ‘I’ve never seen anybody as disgusting or as disrespectful’ as Trump MORE now. Is it possible that today's pro-Obama Democrats would support Sanders over Hillary Clinton, who loyally served as Obama's secretary of State?
What is Sanders's message? Repeated over and over again (reminiscent of Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioLongtime GOP incumbent will not seek reelection Overnight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts What’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? MORE [R-Fla.]): Tax billionaires; more anti-Wall Street rhetoric; abolish super-PACs.
But these are all positions supported by Hillary Clinton. And Vox's progressive editor, Ezra Klein, has criticized Sanders's proposal for socialized medicine as requiring higher taxes and one likely to lead to reduced medical services. And Nobel Prize-winning liberal economist, Paul Krugman, in his regular New York Times column, has analyzed Sanders's and Clinton's anti-Wall Street/big banks proposals and called Clinton's "tougher."
Why do progressives ignore these facts?
Many say their preference for Sanders is emotional — I understand and respect that. But do they seriously consider the consequences of a "Republican revolution" resulting in the GOP taking over the White House and the Congress if Sanders is the nominee — taking over the Supreme Court and overturning Roe v. Wade, repealing ObamaCare and all other progressive social programs?
Can they really trust current general election polls showing some Sanders's strength, while Republican super-PACs spend tens of millions attacking Clinton and ignore Sanders? Is there a reason why they are doing that? You bet.
To progressive Democrats, I respectfully ask: Do you want to take the risk that you are wrong — that in fact a Sanders nomination will more likely result in a Republican, not a Democratic, revolution?
At least before you vote today in New Hampshire or in future primaries, ask yourself those questions, look at the facts about Hillary Clinton's lifelong commitment to progressive fights and values, and then consider the risk: If you vote for Sanders and he ends up as the nominee and the country ends up with a Republican revolution, you will regret it for a long time.
Davis, a longtime friend and supporter of Hillary Clinton, served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton from 1996 to 1998 and is a Washington lawyer, crisis management specialist, and executive vice president of Levick Communications.