Do not throw away your vote

This election has been super fun, hasn’t it? It’s like a train wreck that will determine the direction of the most powerful country in the world for the next four years or so.

What can you say? It’s not even fun or worthwhile to talk about how crazy Trump is, at this point. Every semi-rational person acknowledges that he’s a lunatic. The people who like him will continue to like him no matter what he says. Remember when he said he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and [not] lose voters”? That was not just his beautiful braggadocio. That may actually be true. I used to think, with each new horrible, ridiculous turd that came out of his mouth, that this is the one that will stop him. This is the straw that’s going to break this spray-tanned camel’s back. Finally his supporters’ eyes will be opened to the great pumpkin monster before them, and they will run in terror and shame, aghast at what they nearly pushed through to a place of actual power.

But nope. Hasn’t happened. Not gonna happen. The people who love him love how crazy he is. They love his outlandish claims; they don’t care whether they’re factually true because they feel true, and that’s good enough. And anyone who says otherwise is a liar and a loser. They don’t care how every goddamn statement he makes will ruin this country.

So. What are you gonna do.

The only thing I can think of that might make a difference is to address the Democratic-leaning folks who are contemplating voting third party, or not voting at all, because they can’t get behind Hillary. Those votes might actually make a difference, and those voters are likely reasonable, good human beings on whom a desperate appeal for a return to sanity may not be wasted.

And so to you, liberal voter who cannot agree 100% with Hillary’s platform, politics, or personality I say: please vote for her anyway. Pretty please? Can we please do everything we legally can to ensure Trump does not become president?

Decide vote chameleon

From what I can tell, the main reasons a more-or-less identifiable Democrat would not vote for Hillary Clinton next month are (and feel free to correct me): Because her policies don’t match yours, because the current two-party system is broken, or because you don’t trust her. Or, maybe these are the reasons stated publicly, but if we’re being brutally honest: you don’t want to vote for Hillary because Bernie lost.

Buckle up, ’cause it’s a long one. I was going to intersperse GIFs and fun photos to break it up but, you know what? I’ve read a lot of shitty, prescriptive articles/posts about the election peppered with GIFs and it somehow lessens the importance of the message. Who knew.

In fact there is a list of reading material and sources cited at the end just to rub in how not funny this whole thing is. So if you came here for the lulz, just close this tab now and go back to whatever you were doing. No feelings hurt here.

If Bernie can’t have it then nobody can

I’d like to address the last reason first: You don’t want to vote for her because you’re upset that your favorite candidate, Bernie Sanders, lost. And I get that it’s a bummer, and the political party cards were stacked against him from the beginning so it’s not fair. But if you needed leaked emails to tell you that a political party plays favorites, then I’m afraid this is just the first of many sad realizations that await you, sweet baby fawn. I don’t even want to tell you about what happens to your paycheck after taxes and healthcare come out. I’ll let Santa do that.

That doesn’t mean that it’s fair, or right, or that the system that lets this happen isn’t broken, but thems the breaks right here and now. And, by the way, he lost the popular vote too. By 3.6 to 3.8 million votes, depending on your source. I’m not trying to rub it, just pointing out that the system worked the way it works, and the person who the majority of voters voted for won the nomination.

If you’re still sore about it, fine. Try again next time, try to work harder for a candidate you believe in, but it’s not appropriate to sulk about it by withholding your vote from the party’s candidate. The Berninator himself endorsed Hillary when the time came to face facts. Newsflash: adults don’t always get what they want. Do I want to get up at 6am every weekday and hang out with a few thousand strangers on a germ-infested capsule that sometimes just stops, underground, underwater, with no warning, and holds you captive for up to an hour? Uhhhhhh no. But I gotta get that paper, which they only give me when I go to work, and BART is the best way of a couple of shitty options to get me there.

To not vote for the Democratic nominee is to risk the Republican one winning. Full stop. And if you think there’s no way that a benevolent God would let that happen, let me just say–hey, wait a minute, you believe in God? Didn’t think so, you heathen. Just kidding. But please do look up the election of 2000. I didn’t think there was any way that all the adults in our county would let such a dum-dum sucker of a candidate be president then.

And that’s not even going into how the comparative success of third-party candidates may have been the difference between George W. Bush winning over Al Gore, specifically Ralph Nader’s 100,000 votes in Florida.

It’s like being upset that your family didn’t go to your favorite restaurant one night, but went to one that has a lot of the same food. And this makes you so mad that you starve yourself to death and poison your family for their stupid choices. And now everyone is literally dead.

Please don’t poison us all because your feelings are hurt.

Her policies don’t align with mine

Let’s say you supported Bernie Sanders and now you don’t want to support Hillary because her policies don’t match yours as closely as his did. Welp, I hate to tell you that their platforms were not that different (see comparison at I Side With). I took that I’m an idiot, which one should I vote for??? quiz at the beginning of the primary campaign and I came out just a few percentage points closer to Hillary than Bernie. It was a problem, actually, because I initially wanted to support her with gusto right from the start, but all of my smart, cool, good-hearted friends seemed to be so far on the Bernie bus that I think some of them got their CDL licenses.

Can I tell you a dirty secret? I was so conflicted that I didn’t even vote in the primary. Honestly, their platforms were so similar, and the differences weren’t necessarily about things I cared about. I thought they would both do good things for the country, although they would go about it in extremely different ways. So I let everyone else decide. But in my heart of hearts, I was with her, and I wish I’d been more convicted early on.

In fact, Hillary seems to have moved to the left to the left because of the success of Bernie’s campaign. See any of these analyses by much smarter people about her stance (or at least how prevalent the issue has become) on the minimum wage, the Keystone XL pipeline, the Trans Pacific Partnership, race relations, and college tuition: Has Bernie Sanders Pulled Hillary Clinton to the Left? (NPR)After Shaping The Democrats’ Most Progressive Platform Ever, Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton (ThinkProgress), How Bernie changed Hillary (Politico).

So, again, the democratic process worked the way it’s been set up to work. If you’re voting solely on the issues, please actually look at the issues. Hillary is the Democratic nominee; she will enact a liberal agenda.

The dang two-party system is broken

I don’t necessarily disagree with you. And I don’t think that voting third party is always the same thing as “throwing away” your vote–if we keep thinking this way then third-party contenders will never get enough votes to be taken seriously. But in the current environment, in this current election, voting third-party is not going to do anyone any good. Did you know that both Gary Johnson and Jill Stein ran in the 2012 election? And although they were polling at 2-3% two months before that election, they each received less than one percent of the actual vote. Because, in the end, those voters who said they would support Gary or Jill knew it wouldn’t really change the reality of the two-party system. Or because they fell asleep and forgot the whole thing. Who knows.

But in this election, a third-party vote will not only do very little to change the system, it will, again, risk putting the entire country in the hands of a curry-colored madman.

An article titled There’s No Such Thing as a Protest Vote has been shared a lot recently, and although I don’t agree with every statement, this quote seriously resonated with me for this election:

Throwing away your vote on a message no one will hear, and which will change no outcome, is sometimes presented as ‘voting your conscience’, but that’s got it exactly backwards; your conscience is what keeps you from doing things that feel good to you but hurt other people. Citizens who vote for third-party candidates, write-in candidates, or nobody aren’t voting their conscience, they are voting their ego, unable to accept that a system they find personally disheartening actually applies to them. –Clay Shirky, Medium

However, if you truly believe in a multi-party system, the time to work towards that end IS NOT ON ELECTION DAY. It’s at the beginning of a viable candidate’s campaign, to help them gain exposure and support. Don’t pretend you believed in Jill Stein all along if you’ve done nothing to support her before now.

It’s far too late at this point, you are throwing your vote away, it will not make a positive difference. Either Trump or Clinton will be president. Choose one or you leave the choice to the rest of America. And do you really trust the rest of America? No, we’re idiots. Please take responsibility for your actions and make a real decision.

Actually, the beginning of a campaign is already too late to start rallying for a non-Democrat or non-Republican candidate. Better to support them in your local government so they can gain experience, move up through the ranks, gain exposure and a solid voting history, get to the Senate or House of Representatives and help others of their party do the same. They need to be taken seriously by their peers and they need to have enough recognition to get them to a televised debate. Just voting for them on November 8th will not do a damn thing.

She’s untrustworthy

I’m going to assume you feel that way because of something she’s done in the past, rather than a gut feeling you have about her. The something that is most often pointed to as a clear sign that she’s a devious little schemer is her use of a private email server while holding the office of Secretary of State. Which, yeah, seems pretty secretive. Like, what’re you hiding, lady? But most of those emails have been released, the FBI investigated and found that it was a real dumb move, but no classified information was intentionally or willfully mishandled. If you want a full, incredibly detailed look at how the server was set up and what kinds of things were in those .48% of emails that had classified or higher information, read this narrative of the interviews and reports released by the FBI in late September.

Together, the documents, technically known as Form 302s, depict less a sinister and carefully calculated effort to avoid transparency than a busy and uninterested executive who shows little comfort with even the basics of technology, working with a small, harried inner circle of aides inside a bureaucracy where the IT and classification systems haven’t caught up with how business is conducted in the digital age. Reading the FBI’s interviews, Clinton’s team hardly seems organized enough to mount any sort of sinister cover-up. –Garrett M. Graff, Politico

She’s apologized and admitted that it was wrong, that she would not do it again if given the chance. That she’s basically a techno-idiot and will try harder in the future. So can we move on?

Although, before we do, let’s just note that a few other folks have used private email servers while in office, through which similar confidential information may have passed. Maybe I should just let John Oliver cover Hillary’s trust-eroding scandals in more entertaining detail, if you’re so inclined.

Now, maybe once you really examine your feelings you’ll find that you just plain don’t trust her, although you can’t point to a specific reason why. It’s something in her manner maybe, that feels like she’s not being genuine. She’s hiding something.

Yeah, dude, she’s hiding her true feelings. Of course she’s covering them up with a stoic smile that’s not too big and not to small, just the right size to make her seem at ease, pleasant, but not overbearing. On stage during the first Presidential debate, she was most certainly thinking, “Why in the actual FUCK do I have to stand here, listening to the ravings of an infantile lunatic?” If she were showing her true feelings, she definitely would have walked over and slapped the shit out of that baby-handed pumpkin-spiced idiot in a big league way.

“Cyber.” Slap. “is.” Slap. “not.” Slap. “a.” Slap. “noun.”

At least that’s what I was truly feeling. But no, she can’t show that. She has to calmly plow through 50+ interruptions in an even tone, with that just-the-right-kind of smile on her face in order to be taken seriously. If she had said, about anti-Hillary ads, “…it is not nice, and I don’t deserve that, but it’s certainly not a nice thing that [he’s] done,” she would have been branded a whiny little bitch.

So yes, she is hiding her true feelings, because unlike some hugely wealthy, white(ish) men who run for office, her every word, every facial expression is scrutinized.

Also she’s an adult. Trying to get a job. Are you perfectly open during job interviews?

And yes, she’s a politician and knows how to play the game–she’s too good at it, in many peoples’ opinion. But that is one of the reasons I respect her and trust that she will be able to deliver on her promises better than most. Much better than Bernie Sanders ever would.

In fact we recently learned, in the WikiLeaks dump of transcripts of some of her paid speeches, that she thought you have to have a public and a private position on policies. GROSS, right? Two-faced lie-monster, right?

I don’t think so. When I heard that line in the most-recent debate, I thought, “Yeah. That makes sense.” First of all, similar to the above issues around being a lady and hiding your true feelings, I’ve spent a lot of my life holding my opinions close, sometimes going against what I truly felt in order to get a job done. In a previous position, my boss was a truly terrible human being. Literally the worst person I’ve ever met. But I didn’t let many people know my real opinion; instead I played nice, got on her good side, put my head down and got the job done. When she quit the company abruptly everyone would ask me for updates, “How’s she doing? How’s her new position? Do you miss her so much?” And finally I could answer, “Fuck if I know! That bitch can drown in a vat of liquefied animal fat for all I care.”

But I digress. In the full text of this part of Hillary’s speech (read it here on WikiLeaks, but maybe in an Incognito tab because GOVERNMENT IS WATCHING), she actually said that you have to learn “how to balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful, politically, and that’s not just a comment about today.” She goes on to say how she admired this trait in Abraham Lincoln, “how he was maneuvering and working to get the 13th Amendment passed.” Both he and Secretary Seward knew they had to work the system to get the thing done. “I mean, politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be.”

That’s definitely a Hamilton reference, right?

How cool.

How true.

I have not a single qualm about how she gets things done, how she got to where she is today. I don’t care what deals she made, who gave her money, or what compromises were arranged. Because in the adult world, sometimes you have to give something up in order to get something big done. And however she gets there, when she’s in the Oval Office I believe she will do great things for our country and its citizens. Even those who tried everything they could to prevent her from getting it done.

She may not be the leader you wanted, but she’s the one we need now.

…ok just one GIF.

astronaut doge

Further reading

All links from above, in case you want to come back to them.

2016 Democratic Primary results:

Answer questions to find which candidate you most agree with: I Side With

Compare policy stances:

Did Bernie’s campaign move Hillary to the left:

Third-party voting:

Text from Hillary Clinton’s speeches: WikiLeaks

Uncited but great: Your Gleeful Liberal Takedown of Hillary Clinton Is Affirming Institutional Sexism (Medium)

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