To start off, I need to say that I am NOT voting for Hillary Clinton. To be honest, I may just skip the primary all together and vote against the Republicans in the general. I was very much excited about Bernie Sanders in the beginning, but I’m simply not anymore. I watched his failure with black people, including what looked a lot like racial profiling at one of his events, read his distinct inability to get specific on any of his promises, and basically just lost any of that excitement I had in him when I finally accepted that, really, he’s just another politician.
With that, however, is my unshaken belief that while Democrats in general are pretty terrible, they aren’t even close to being as bad as Republicans, and so what should be galvanizing the left is keeping the Republicans as far away from government as is possible. Democrats are bad, sure, but Republicans are actively evil.
Apparently, though, not everyone who claims to be “progressive” believes this. Some people, apparently, have decided that if Hillary Clinton is indeed the Democratic nominee (and it looks like she will be), they are going to vote for Donald Trump.
Don’t believe me?
This entire blog post, written by one Roland Vincent, is, as one member of TWiBNation put it, why we can’t have nice things.
Let’s start with a couple quotes from the post, then we’ll get in to the comments:
I’ve had it. And so have hundreds of thousands of grass roots Democrats. Perhaps millions of us.
I mean… yeah. I think every left-winger worth their salt has had it. The US government (and I’m not just talking about the federal government, but the state and local governments, too) is basically terrible. Corrupt to the hilt, it doesn’t work for The People like it was set up in the Constitution to do. Our politicians fail to represent us, instead only representing the interests of the wealthiest donors to their various campaigns. The vast majority of us are left in the cold, having to fight too and nail for our rights every damn day.
So yeah… I’ve had it, too, and I’m sure most of you have had it, as well.
We are supposed to overlook these atrocities because the Democrats say nice things about Hispanics and Muslims? Because Democrats are now sorry about the mass incarceration of blacks? Because Hillary changed her mind about gay marriage?
Already, we have a problem. This is a supreme oversimplification of what the Democrats stand for when it comes to social rights. This is the kind of dismissiveness that only Privilege can produce.
But since the post itself was very short, let’s jump to the comments. I want to because Roland commented with this gem:
I think the answer to changing the Democratic party is to not keep doing what we have been doing for years, namely, voting Democratic to avoid something worse. What we get is almost as bad and we make it impossible to change the party leadership because they know we will fall in line like good little robots in the general elections.
Progressives and liberals are now positioned to dethrone the Wall Street hacks who run the party. All they have to do is vote against them in November. Four years of right wing Republicans will be a cheap price to pay to make the Democratic party democratic again.
I’d like to highlight that last sentence again:
“Four years of right wing Republicans will be a cheap price to pay to make the Democratic party democratic again.”
Let that horrible, privilege-blind crap sink in.
I responded, of course. Be warned that this comment of mine from over there is rage-filled and full of (gasp!) expletives. If you need your clutching pearls and fainting couches, go ahead and get them now, then come back:
CHEAP?!? Fucking CHEAP?!?
Republican control of the government is NEVER a cheap price to pay, unless you’re a straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied, wealthy, Christian, male. They are the ONLY ones who will not hurt (and would, in fact, benefit) from a Republican-controlled Government.
4 years of a fucking Republican means a step closer to Dominionism, means de-facto segregation, means a complete dismantling of women’s rights (including their health care), a complete dismantling of the rights that the LGBTQ have won and a complete 180 turn on the rights they are still fighting for, even more cops brutally MURDERING black people in the streets for no fucking reason and getting away with it…
That is not fucking cheap. A republican in the white house means the near end of life for the vast majority of the fucking country.
Clinton may be terrible, but she is still better than a fucking Republican. If you can’t see that, it’ll be your fault when we all have to say President Trump. And if you’re okay with that, fuck you.
Whomever is elected president in November, of either party, will face four years of political gridlock. Nothing controversial will survive a Republican House and a Democratic Senate. Just as Obama’s last six years have been stymied, so will the next president’s term be a quagmire. If it is a Republican, he will be the flashpoint for a progressive Democratic landslide in 2020. If it is Hillary, she will be a failed, even more unpopular president than she is now a candidate. Running in 2020, she will guarantee Democratic losses down ballot, assuring the Republicans of continued control of chambers and statehouses across the country, sufficient to effect a repeat of 2010 gerrymandering, and control of Congress through 2030.
So… basically, I got hand-waved with some stuff that is… suspect at best.
In case anyone hasn’t cottoned on to this fact already, I am quite a privileged person. While neither Christian nor wealthy, I am, in fact, a straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied male. So a Republican government doesn’t affect me as badly as it will affect the majority of this country, including so many people I care about. Even a measly four years of Trump or Cruz, Congress be damned, would be way too detrimental to way too many people to take the risk.
Yet his privileged ass thinks it’s a perfectly fine risk to take. For in a later comment, he actually said this:
The differences between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are fundamental, and profound. And on trade, Sanders voters are much closer to Donald Trump than they are to Hillary Clinton. I know I certainly am.
Which is why trade will be the penultimate issue in the general elections, and why, as things presently stand, Donald Trump would be my candidate if Bernie is not nominated.
(Before I get knocked for “cherry-picking”, I’d like to point out that I link directly to the comment just above the quote. It’s very long [longer than the blog post, in fact]. I picked the part that I felt summarized the whole thing. The why of it can be found in the original comment, which I will go ahead and link to again right now.)
For most people, I think social justice is the penultimate issue. It’s the rights gained by the LGBTQ community and the rights they are still fighting for. It’s the health care rights gained by woman and the health care rights they are still fighting for. It’s the right to live in the US as citizens that immigrants are still fighting for. It’s the right not to be murdered in the streets by the police that black people are still fighting for.
But for privileged white men like Roland, it’s Trade. And since he’s such a “radical progressive”, he’s going to vote for that racist, fascist, misogynistic, homophobic PIG Donald Trump (who I’m still not convinced is actually running a serious campaign to begin with, but that’s neither here nor there) rather than vote for Hillary Clinton.
I do not like Hillary Clinton. She is a dishonest politician owned by Wall Street, her foreign policy can be summarized by the words “militaristic expansion”, and I simply don’t have the heart to believe her progressive-sounding social justice talking points during this election.
But I stand by my conviction that she is still better than every single Republican out there today, especially Trump and Cruz. Yes, she is the lesser of two evils, and yes, I am immensely tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. But that trope exists for a reason. I do believe, quite strongly, that Hillary will be better for the social justice issues that are at the forefront of the minds of everybody who isn’t a straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied male than any Republican would ever be, and that’s why I’ll support her in the general if she wins the primary.
Of course, if Sanders wins the primary, then I will support him. Because I’m voting Democrat in the general election for president no matter what, because I do not think that four years of another Republican would be a “cheap price to pay”, even if, for me and my privilege, it technically would be.
I’ll support a pile of dog shit over the entirety of the Republican party, Trump included, any day.
Yes I want change. Obviously I want change. I think all of us here want change.
But we’re not going to get it by splitting the Democratic party and making it weaker. We’re going to get it by using our voice to force the Democratic party to be better.
Bernie Sanders has done something pretty incredible this election: he has forced Hillary Clinton, and by extension the entire Democratic party, to sound more progressive than they have sounded in a very, very long time. It’s only a first step, but it’s a pretty nice first step. We will lose that step, and take many steps back, if we take Roland’s “advice”.
Roland’s advice is not progressive. It’s regressive. And following it will only cause more damage.
Keep in mind that the Federal Government is the domain of only two parties: the Democrats and the Republicans. Hence, that’s all you get to choose between during a presidential election. Thus, our votes don’t mean much during them. They do mean just enough to be worth voting (so please, I beg you: if you are able to, vote), but not much beyond that.
However, we, in fact, have way more pull in basically all other elections. The congressional elections every two years, your state and local elections… even the elections for your local school boards are immensely important. One of the things that gives Republicans power is that their base actually knows this, and so turn out in high numbers to every election to give the Republicans power at every level.
We progressives, sadly, aren’t so good at it.
So get better at it. Let’s have “Get Out the Vote” campaigns for literally every public election this country holds every single year. Take an active part in your local politics. Vote as left-wing as you possibly can. That means that if you can vote Green or Socialist for your local government, do it. Third parties will never have a chance at the federal level if We, The People fail to give them power at the local and state levels. And this is where our voices are the loudest.
And when you aren’t voting, play an active role in politics. Contact your representatives. Protest. Sign petitions. Support causes. Even donate money if you can afford to.
But never… I repeat… NEVER go for a Scorched-Earth policy in a presidential election. Those only ever work for the privileged, and no one else.
If Hillary is the Democratic nominee (and it looks like she might be), come November, hold your nose and vote for her. No matter how bad she is, she is still better than a Republican. Take out your anger at the campaigns you can do real and powerful good in, like your local and state elections. Vote third party everywhere you can, and everywhere you can’t, vote as left-wing as is possible. This is where the radical politics can actually make a difference. So #VoteBlueNoMatterWho come the November general presidential election. And then participate in your local and state elections, and participate in politics.
Otherwise, there truly will never be change.