Perhaps more than other constituency in America, the LGBT community recognizes the disaster that a Republican victory in the 2016 presidential race would be for much of the progress made under the Obama administration. Thus, the stakes are high and organizations like the Human Rights Campaign (as self-serving as it can be) feel a need to endorse Democrat candidates that in their analysis rightly or wrongly can best protect LGBT gains. In states like Virginia where the LGBT vote can be the deciding difference in a close election, a candidate with LGBT endorsements could "save the day." Indeed, post 2012 analysis suggests that if Mitt Romney had not lost the LGBT vote so resoundingly, he might have won the presidency. Given these realities, HRC has endorsed Hillary Clinton and Bernire Sanders has reacted. The Advocate looks at the the Sanders reaction. Here are excerpts:
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest and most influential LGBT advocacy group, formally endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Tuesday morning, and it didn't take long for her Democratic rival — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — to weigh in on the news.
“It’s understandable and consistent with the establishment organizations voting for the establishment candidate, but it’s an endorsement that cannot possibly be based on the facts and the record,” Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs told the Washington Blade.
Briggs reiterated Sanders's LGBT rights cred, which includes voting against "don't ask, don't tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990s as well as supporting civil unions in Vermont in 2000. Sanders supports marriage equality, but advised against it in 2006.
While Clinton currently rivals Sanders in support for LGBT equality, her record is more spotty, with support for DOMA in her 2000 Senate run and partial support for its repeal in her unsuccessful 2008 White House bid. Clinton's support for marriage equality wasn't cemented until last year. Clinton now supports a vast array of LGBT rights measures, including a national Equality Act, which would ban anti- LGBT discrimination in housing and employment, open transgender military service, and a ban on conversion therapy; Sanders supports all these things as well.
“So who knows what prompted the Human Rights Campaign to do what it does — I have trouble myself figuring why they do some of the things they do over the years — but I think the gay men and lesbians all over the country will know who has been their champion for a long, long time and will consider that as they make up their mind on support for his campaign,” Briggs told the Blade.
The HRC says its endorsement of Clinton was a unanimous decision among its 32 "community leaders" that stemmed from a questionnaire sent to all 2016 candidates (no Republican responded to the questionnaire).
As noted, I still have not made a formal decision of which candidate to support. Given the support the husband and I have given to Democrats, I am on every e-mail list and money beg list imaginable. I have bumper stickers that I have yet to put on my car as I try to decide who to back.