There are three very loud arguments that I hear being shouted at me to switch my vote from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton, or at least to abandon my “Bernie or Bust” pledge and instead grab the dagger and rip open my veins, spilling hot, blue Democratic blood all over the pavement in allegiance to the party and vote for Clinton in November. Those arguments come down to pretty much three basic categories — paranoia, fear or groupthink. None of them will motivate me to vote for anyone, but they do appear to help move the needle for a lot of folks.
It should be noted that none of this should be construed as me thinking Sanders is a shoe-in for the nomination. Or even that it’s not, at this point, pretty much a foregone conclusion that Hillary will win it. Of course she probably will. What I’m writing about now is what I feel are the motivating factors for many people’s decisions, or at the very least their rhetoric about my decision.
“If you don’t help elect Hillary Clinton in November, you are helping to elect Trump you must be a paid troll who hates LGBTQs, America, freedom, and minorities!”
Seriously, I cannot even count how many times I variation on this theme has been thrust before me. The only thing I can reasonably pin this kind of rhetoric on is pure and simple paranoia. I know it’s not based in reality because I’m I’m not a paid troll (WHICH IS WHAT EVERY PAID TROLL WILL SAY!!!!!!!!!11111oneoneone), and because Republicans are now accusing their voters of voting for Hillary Clinton if they don’t vote for Trump.
You have nothing to worry about. My decision not to vote for Hillary Clinton will not result in Donald Trump becoming president. Oh, sure, it will be the scapegoated reason Hillary loses, just like Nader and his voters are blamed for 2000, but the reality is when you’re in a two party system and the parties nominate someone who is highly popular within the party, but highly disliked outside it, you run the risk of handing the election to your opponents because it’s not really the team players who determine who wins, it’s those independent voters that closed primaries conveniently ignore.
“But Trump will round up all the Mexicans and Muslims and gays and execute/deport/humiliate shame them! It will be World War III!”
Undoubtedly Trump is a bewigged, bloated asshole. Just as undoubtedly, the people he chooses to help him make decisions will likely be proponents of stuff we liberals find shity/scary/the opposite of what we want happening. None of that equates to me making a decision out of irrational fear though.
We have checks and balances built into our government for a reason. You may think that enough elected officials will roll over for Trump that when he decides to nuke Canada for not giving him free maple syrup it’ll actually happen…but I don’t. This isn’t to say that I think people on the margins of society aren’t important, or that their plight isn’t worth defending. Of course it is. As someone who has devoted countless hours to doing so in the past, my decision to stop being bullied into voting for someone I don’t want to vote for won’t change my devotion those causes, nor will one man being elected be able to roll back all the progress we’ve made.
You can choose to be afraid of an electoral outcome if you want, and you can let that fear drive your decision if you wish to, but I’m not beholden to that “logic.” And yes, before you say it, my vote is “all about” me. Just like yours is all about you. I try to make sure my vote is cast in a way that helps the most amount of people, and not just me, but in the end my vote is a signpost of my conscience, and shock of all shockers, my views might not align perfectly with yours, but I can’t let fear motivate me into compromising, not this time.
“You must not be a real Democrat.”
You know what? Maybe I’m not a “real” Democrat. Maybe I’m just an American who’s lived here long enough to see that the kind of revolution that Thomas Jefferson said we need every so often isn’t about guns and red coats and tea in harbors. It’s about revolution of thought, revolution of paradigms. Some people are born with the ability to embrace revolution, and clearly many are not.
But to me, we’re in another period much like we were in around the turn of the 20th century. Corporate influence has strangled our government into inaction on climate change, gun laws, infrastructure, you name it. We need someone to ride into town, not giving any fucks about team politics, and lay the smack down on any and all corrupting influences as well as the corrupted politicians in any party who have put on blindfolds made of hundred dollar bills that prevent them from seeing how much in dire need of a political revolution in this country we really are.
But you know the whole “be a Democrat, vote blue no matter who” thing just doesn’t sit well with me. I was never one to want to jump off a bridge if everyone else was, and I’m not one to vote for a corporatist, triangulating, cynical politician just because everyone else is.
Your vote is yours; mine is mine. Let’s all remember that and try to get through the next 180 or so days without bludgeoning each other with our asshole opinions on each other’s asshole votes for whichever asshole other assholes choose to vote for.