I find it interesting how many of my friends find it shocking that I won’t vote for Hillary Clinton for President and that if one opposes Trump, anything other than a vote for her is “wasted.” I have to admit I find it equally puzzling, if not troubling, how so many of them can for for her. However, since I’m often asked, here’s why I won’t vote for Hillary. Simple. She doesn’t represent my values or support policy positions near and dear to me. But if you need more detail, the following are my opinions regarding where she and I part ways on just a few policy positions.
Do I think Hillary is war-monger: Yes
Do I think Hillary is a candidate of white privilege: Yes
Do I think Hillary is a committed Neo-liberal: Yes
Do I think she’s committed to the War on Drugs: Yes
Do I think she’ll make a substantive difference towards peace in the Middle East: No
Do I think Hillary represents the LBGT community in marriage and adoption: No
Do I think she supports truth in labeling and sane food policy: No
Do I think Hillary will make any difference regarding black male incarceration, capital punishment, drug addiction, fracking, coal emissions, regressive taxation, distribution of education, distribution of health care, banking regulation, global warming: No
These are not opinions generated by Republican propaganda or right wing PACs. I’ve been following her for over 25 years and base my conclusions on her actual record. She’s an intelligent and accomplished person. I once thought she was a potential leader, until she led. Over the years I’ve gone from admiration, to hope, to denial and landing somewhere well beyond disappointment. The reasons I won’t support her are pretty much the same reasons I won’t support any Republican or Democratic party-anointed candidate for President.
But what about Trump, you ask? I don’t buy the “lesser of two evils” dichotomy. Yet in every election of my adult life, that’s how it has been pitched. People from both parties scream that the sky will fall if we don’t stop “that guy” from the “other party.” We are raised drinking that Kool-aid and march towards the voting booths chanting mantras, while wearing pins that speak of “Change” “Hope” and “Greatness.” We pull the same levers that assure the status quo for another 4 years. The white male establishment sighs yet another expression of relief. The winners celebrate just having saved the world from Armageddon. The losers take up the “sky is falling” lament. Rinse. Repeat. Then something really amazing happens: Nothing.
I believe this treadmill is why we will have an ineffectual two-party system for the foreseeable future. It relies on the “one of two” choice dichotomy, narrows the ideological margins of the debate and assures the “safe” outcome for those that fund the elections. This is best represented by Einstein’s quote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” We keep accepting what the parties offer and thinking things will change. The system, like an alcoholic, is drunk on corporate money and fear mongering, and we are the enablers.
Solution? I wish I knew. All I’m confident about is what won’t happen by voting for an anointed party candidate. What will likely happen? I suspect we’ll continue the downward slide on most every quality of life indicator in comparison to the rest of the developed world. (Oh, and should you think that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/ll or that we are the greatest country in the world, read this book: What’s the Economy for Anyway by John De Graaf and David R. Batker ). Breaking the two party system is in my view our best option. That’s not likely to happen if fear continues to rule the day, but we’ve had some close calls. There are now more independents than Republicans or Democrats. The popularity of Sanders and Trump are partially, if not mostly, fueled by the fact that both play outside that lines drawn by their parties and are challenging the party candidate coronation process. Neither are funded by corporations. Both are being undermined by their party, which just makes them more popular. The tide is turning slowly, but clearly; with each election cycle people are getting fed up with the system. Breaking it won’t be easy or without some pain and suffering. But it won’t change if we continue to be enablers and vote for the same system and wallow in the delusion of change.
Ralph Nader represented opportunity and is the closest we’ve come to breaking the system in my lifetime. As the Green Party representative he was well on his way to capture a large enough percentage of the vote to assure the Green Party Federal funding in 2004 and automatic inclusion in the presidential debates. Imagine what the 2004 election cycle could have been? In the end, the “lesser of two evils” sentiment prevailed in the final weeks and he fell short. That would have been a huge crack in the two-party system foundation and overnight made the Green Party the third largest party in the U.S. (Oh, and if you are one of those people that still think Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 or that Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the election…stop. Read this: Debunking the myth that Nader cost Gore the election
So that’s what I’m voting for. I’m voting to help build that momentum, broaden the discourse, break the two-party supremacy. It’s not a four-year plan. It’s not an eight-year plan. It’s not fear. It’s a long-term strategy. If you know a better way, I’m open to ideas. If Hillary represents your values or you are afraid of Trump, vote for her.
I may not see the results in my lifetime and that’s just fine. But my vote will NOT go to someone that does not represent a path forward for the child growing up in Gaza, all the drug addicts tossed in prison instead of a treatment centers, all those on death row, the gay couple denied adoption rights, countless families bankrupt from medical bills, students strapped with the highest education costs in the world, to the families of the millions killed in the Middle East by bipartisan bullets and economic sanctions. I will vote. My vote will be anything but wasted.