I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about my column title. I don’t very often, but I did choose it for a reason. “Left” means Left politics: redistribution of wealth and privileging the interests of labor over those of capital. Basically, I’m a socialist. “Lipstick” is about femininity. To be left of it is to critique it from a feminist perspective. This has turned into a lot of writing about reproduction and patriarchy.   

So, given this two-pronged ideology and the fact that the primary is right around the corner (March 6!), who am I voting for? 

I’m voting for Bernie. Are you surprised? Didn’t think so.

 Who young women are voting for (or should be voting for) has been the subject of much chatter from public figures and think pieces recently. Some of it is insightful. Most of it is silly. There was Gloria Steinem’s much decontextualized comment on Bill Maher’s (insufferable, misogynistic) show about young women supporting Bernie because “that’s where the boys are” and Madeleine Albright’s comment that there is a “special place in hell for women who don’t support women.” Neither of these bothers me much. Both are far less antagonistic than the sound bites make them seem.

 Also, it’s not really how I’m thinking about the election. What issues keep me up at night? Reproductive rights, definitely. The loss of access to abortion is happening right now for women across the country, and Hillary does have a stellar record on women’s health. But here’s what else keeps me up: climate change. If we don’t have a president who will push on climate, we’re—to put it delicately—fucked. Climate change is not an “opportunity to revamp American innovation” or some such nonsense, it’s a lethal catastrophe and a moral failing, most strongly affecting people of color. It is caused by the fossil fuel industry and is unfolding in real time. Bernie knows this, but Hillary has had to be pushed into a reasonable climate policy by hardworking organizers. On racial justice, too, Bernie is stronger. And on taxation, on campaign finance reform and funding education.

 These are issues that affect young people, and generational solidarity matters.
 For a while we were amped up about Bernie Bros. (Is that fading? I hope that’s fading.) The Bernie Bro is a fictive creature. Yes, sexism within the Left is real and long standing. The radical women’s movement of the late ’60s and ’70s was born out of the misogyny in the anti-Vietnam War and Civil Rights movements. But our weary fixation on the Bernie Bro overshadows the real reasons young people of all genders support Sanders. Unlike so many alleged “pragmatists,” we, young Sanders supporters, have internalized that deregulated capitalism leads to inequality that is unjust and unstable. A financial collapse like the one that happened in 2008 can, and probably will, happen again. We’re looking at our future seriously, and we’re scared.

 I don’t think Bernie is starting a revolution. Running for office within an existing political structure is by definition not a revolution. I think Bernie’s claim, or more likely, his staff’s claim, of starting a revolution is goofy. I don’t need a revolution; I need a functioning, active government that will exercise its power for the good of its citizenry. Democratic socialism isn’t sexy, but it’s just.   

If Hillary wins the primary—and I’m realistic enough to realize she probably will—I will eagerly vote for her. I’ll phone bank for her. I’ll canvas for her. Maybe I’ll even get a bumper sticker. Because, as Distinguished Lecturer Susan Faludi pointed out in her recent New York Times op-ed, were a Republican to be elected—any of them—the policies that are so important for women (not to mention people of color, immigrants and anyone outside of the highest tax brackets) would be eviscerated. We can’t afford that. But in the primary, I’m going to vote my conscience. I’m voting for Bernie.