As prelude, I fully intend to vote for Clinton, even though I was a Sanders supporter in the primary (so, for Intelligent Designer’s sake, don’t yell at me by proxy). What I’ve noticed is that there are quite a few Clinton supporters who are trying to ‘encourage’ former Sanders supporters (along with those who align with neither) to vote for Clinton. I put encouraged in scare quotes because many of these Clinton supporters are going about it completely wrong.
One of the advantages of having been a Sanders supporter is that you have a much better understanding of why someone would not want to vote for her. Instead of hectoring Sanders supporters, giving them positive reasons to vote for Clinton will work much better (boldface mine):
Okay, in this country, we like to treat voting as some sort of higher calling/higher power, the prime form of exerting ideology and power any citizen can take. Maybe this works for the general population, and maybe it doesn’t. But for our non-voter, this is a huge obstacle. If voting is the exclusive or primary source of political power that they have, then casting a vote for a candidate that they dislike feels like a betrayal of core political values.
So if you want to convince talk about voting not as something they have to do in order to be good citizens, but as a tactical move made in order to make life a little bit better. For example, I might have been fairly unenthused by Obama’s fairly centrist candidacy in 2008, but if you’d told me that in 2011, as a freelance writer, Obama’s election would help give me health insurance I otherwise couldn’t afford at all, that might have changed matters.
It doesn’t have to be so selfish, of course. Whatever the non-voters personal or political goals might be, figure out what they are and how Hillary or your preferred candidate will, very specifically, make those better. And in this election, Trump’s white supremacy is so clearly god-awful that an argument can be made that there is a straightforward strategic benefit to having him be defeated by a big a margin as possible. But again, treat this as a question of proper tactics.
One thing to tap into is something from Sanders’ convention speech: Clinton has supported a massive expansion of community health centers. This will provide affordable healthcare to many millions (probably tens of millions) more people. If they choose not to vote for Clinton, they do have to own that. And that brings up another point–opposition to Clinton might not always be due to misogyny (boldface mine):
At their core, many of the most offputting, unhelpful arguments for voting for the Democrats are about browbeating the nonvoter into realizing they’re wrong. Here’s a rather famous example, called “I’m Voting For The Democrat In November Because I’m Not A Human Tire Fire”. It’s a funny and direct title, perhaps, but calling someone a human tire fire when you want to convince them to take your recommended action isn’t a good opening move — especially when the problem is that the anti-voter believes that voting for Democrats is a moral issue on its own! (I don’t know why they might believe that….)
The net effect seems to be that most arguments about anti-voters are much more about making the conventional Democratic voter feel good than they are about actually convincing anti-voters. Maybe that has its place. But if we’re already talking to stubborn motherfuckers, yelling at them that they’re horrible wrong people probably won’t make them less stubborn. Look to convince, not to convict.
To do that, well, follow this advice. Understand the anti-voter’s point, point out straightforward tactical benefits, and avoid making it sound like the fate of a galaxy hinges on a single person’s ballot.
The goal here is to gain votes, not converts. So do that, and, as Kaiser notes, don’t bring up Ralph Nader*. Give them a good reason to vote for Clinton–and if you’re doing so, you should have some.
*There were over 300,000 Florida Democrats who voted for Bush in 2000. They bear as much culpability for the loss as Nader supporters do, yet, oddly enough, they are never discussed. Voting for the Republican is also a ‘wasted’ vote.