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An Open Letter to the DNC

Cartoon by A.F. Branco

Dear Democratic National Committee,

I write to express my outrage over recent revelations detailing how DNC officials attempted to derail Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Presidential campaign. It is evident, based on released internal emails, that Deborah Wasserman Schultz and operatives within the DNC were working behind the scenes to marginalize Bernie Sanders, paving the way for Hillary Clinton to become the Democratic candidate for President. Earlier this year Bernie Sanders complained about attempts by Wasserman Schultz and the DNC to keep him from becoming the nominee. The DNC dismissed Sanders’ claims, categorically stating that both candidates were being treated fairly and equally. Thanks to Wikileaks, we now know better.

I am a diehard Bernie Sanders supporter. As a liberal, democratic socialist, I found Sanders’ policy positions to be the closest to my own. Sanders is the voice of progressivism; Hillary Clinton is the voice of centrist Democratic politics. Sanders is a man of principle; Hillary Clinton is a political opportunist. Bernie Sanders didn’t take a dime from Wall Street; Hillary Clinton made millions off of private Wall Street-sponsored speeches. Bernie Sanders opposes  war in the Middle East; Hillary Clinton will continue the blood-spilling policies of the Barack Obama. It is for these reasons (and others) that I support Bernie Sanders.

I am also an atheist. Offensive revelations that Wasserman Schultz and the DNC considered tarring Bernie Sanders with the atheist label suggests to me that the DNC doesn’t realize that most atheists are political liberals who most often vote Democrat. It is also clear that the DNC doesn’t understand that scores of millennials are non-religious. These millennials generally skew to the left — good news for Democrats. Good news, that is, if the DNC stops treating non-religious people as if they have some sort of communicable disease.

I am pleased that Wasserman Schultz has been removed as the head of the DNC. But that action is not enough. Every DNC operative who thought labeling Bernie Sanders an atheist was a good idea should immediately be fired. A failure to take such action shows that Democratic leaders don’t value fairness. The DNC should also publicly apologize to the atheist community for their shameful use of the word “atheist” as some sort of pejorative term. A full-page apology in the New York Times and personal letters to the major atheists groups will suffice.

I plan to vote for Hillary Clinton come November. I will do so for one reason and one reason alone — Donald Trump. I cannot in good conscience do anything that will increase the likelihood of a Trump presidency. These are perilous times, and I must do what is best for my country. Quite frankly, if a centrist Republican was running for President I would likely cast my vote for Jill Stein. In doing so, I would be telling the Democratic Party that until they value me as a voter, they have lost my vote. I want to do this now, but I can’t. I know that if Donald Trump is elected he will fundamentally and permanently harm our Republic. It’s Hillary Clinton’s lucky day. She will get my vote, not because I think she best represents my views, but because Donald Trump is a real threat to national security and social progress. If Clinton wins the election, the DNC might want to consider how to keep my vote come 2020. If liberal, democratic-socialist atheists aren’t welcome in the Democratic Party, then perhaps it is time to start seriously considering  third-parties that value people such as myself.


Bruce Gerencser
A Former Right-Wing Evangelical Republican Turned Liberal, Democratic-Socialist Atheist


  1. Avatar
    Dale mcinnes

    For starters Bruce, I to am a Bernie fan. However, a polite No No here. We must stop calling ourselves socialists. We do not crave to follow a hirer power and have that power fell us how to live, what to say, who to believe. Do you not understand that it is Religion that is socialism on steroids ?? We are NOT socialists. We admire social programs that help NOT enslave people. That’s what church programs do …. a little of both.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      I know what I am. I understand the various strains of socialism in their historical context. This is why I say I am a DEMOCRATIC socialist. Capitalism is not evil as long as it is controlled and regulated. While I agree that the grand ideal is freedom (and security), I suspect you and I disagree on what programs are considered enslavement.

  2. Avatar

    I continue to be astonished at how the word ‘atheist’ continues to be such a disparaging term in the US. Whilst the UK is far from being religion free (in fact, when it comes to ‘faith’ schools, we are worse than the US), it is likely that any random group of people will probably be proportionally more non-religious than religious. On the whole people aren’t afraid of using the word atheist, and politically it’s of no consequence.

    Looking at recent political leaders in the UK, only David Cameron came out and said he was a Christian, but that was probably a political mistake, as he’d already made known that he didn’t have a religious belief. Indeed any politician who does claim anything more than a very mild belief loses trust, as Theresa May’s conservative opponent, Andrea Leadsom, recently discovered.

  3. Avatar

    One thing about all the cheating. Everyone knew it was going on, it was obvious. The e-mails are mere confirmation with a smoking gun. Cheating wouldn’t have affected the outcome though. It doesn’t bode well for the Hillary administration. Since cheating when you don’t need to is not the hallmark of an effective leader.

  4. Avatar
    That Other Jean

    Oh, please. Politics is not a process run by angels—not even among Democrats. There was discussion, in private emails, of how to give a favored candidate a boost by leaking information, assumed to be unfavorable, about a rival in the Democratic primaries. There is not a shred of evidence that this information was ever actually used against Bernie Sanders, or even that it would have been seen unfavorably. He lost, fair and square, because voters thought Hillary Clinton would be a better candidate against Donald Trump. His religion–or hers–had nothing to do with the results.

    Lots of things get talked about during a campaign; few of them are implemented. Please, get over your disappointment with a lack of complete neutrality by a political party for its rival contenders, and turn your attention to defeating Donald Trump. That’s a much bigger problem.

  5. Avatar

    Bruce, voting against someone is never as good as voting for someone. As a kind-of republican (though more libertarian, and I vote the issues, not the politics), I am appalled at who my party puts forward as candidates. Some of those people are down-right embarrassing. In the last couple of elections, I have voted democrat, because they were the better person.

    Though we have different political beliefs, I 100% agree with you and think it is a shame.

    I’m not sure how Trump was able to beat the republican establishment.

    Where are the true statesmen, people who care about our country? Men and women who will put the good of the people ahead of personal gain are nowhere to be found in Washington DC. Very few are to be found in state or local politics, either.

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