Don't Fall for The Bully Vote
This is it everyone. We're officially stuck. We have the two absolute worst candidates in American history leading the two-party charge. There's a point at which we should be embarrassed, and unrelentingly so. It happens every election. The big difference this time is that this is a bipartisan humiliation.
Every election cycle seems to welcome the cacophony of voters saying “Well, we just have to pick the lesser of two evils.” But has it ever been more evil than this? We have the most hated and unelectable Democrat in US history, and a racist human highlighter who seems to understand less than a high school sophomore does about foreign policy leading the Republicans. But these are the leaders of the two biggest parties in the country. So when do we jump ship? When do we self-diagnose, and then cure, the Stockholm Syndrome that has beaten us into a universal belief that the two-party system is inevitable?
For a long time, many American voters have been aware that the presidency is nothing more than a pageant, and that the idea of a real choice is laughable. But we've always made the concession of a vote. Some people have gone third-party in the past, put that's not without consequence. It was third-party voters who took the brunt of the blame for Dubya's 2000 “victory,” after all. But Bernie Sanders' historic campaign served as a dangerous purveyor of hope to millions of voters who were on the precipice of giving up, allowing themselves to calmly drown in the hopeless and unrelenting sea of bullshit that is American politics. People who've been voting for years were just starting to get comfortable with the idea that our interests will never be represented at the executive level. Then this guy comes out, with his concern and empathy, rejecting corporate money, and talking about people not having to die because they're too poor to afford a hospital visit, and we felt like we had a chance. He consistently lead Trump by double digits in the polls (Clinton generally tied or eeked out a lead that fell within the assumed margin of error) and it was clear that if he got the nomination, his victory against that wigged lunatic with skin like a traffic cone, would be effortless.
But, alas. The voices of millions of Americans were silenced. By my last count, there are still 3,000,000 ballots in California that were never counted, DNC emails that suggest collusion were leaked, and we wound up with the best Republican on the ticket as the Democratic nominee. It became a Trump vs. Clinton race, and I've been sporadically throwing up in my mouth since.
One of the most upsetting parts of watching these two hacks try to campaign, is that both of them are painfully full of shit, even by political standards. We've become accustomed to Clinton's lies and broken promises over the years, so that pill's a little easier to swallow. When you see her on TV, pretending to be a progressive, promising to fight for health care reform and debt-free college, it's easy to consign yourself to the notion that those things will never happen under her stewardship. She's been snapping our fingers with her novelty gum pack for long enough. Our knuckles are bleeding, she's cackling like a banshee, and the trust is broken.
But what about Trump? He's a slightly new flavor of cartoonish political bullshit. Sure, we've seen him act like MAD TV's poorly written parody of a rich guy for even longer than Clinton's held the national stage, but nothing that he's said across the decades really mattered that much to most of us before 2015. “But what about his truthfulness?” you ask. It doesn't appear to exist. He's lied about his initial position on the war in Iraq, he's waffled on his key platform of immigration, and there's no shortage of suspicion that he's grossly inflating his financial status. I'm no expert in high finance, but it seems like most billionaires don't have a parade of failed businesses trailing them, with few successes to boast.
In the light of these two realities, it seems clear that we don't have 'two choices,' which is what we're always told. In reality, we have none. Hillary is such a corporatist tool that she's getting an unimaginable chunk of the big Republican money that comes from whale donors who don't have the integrity required to pass up a good deal when they see one. They know that she'll play the kind of ball that keeps their interests tucked away in a dark corner of her tiny, plastic heart. Trump may be a wild card, but we've seen him handle foreign relations throughout his campaign, and it's not been pretty. His insults against Mexican immigrants, and then his immediate prostration of “tough talk” when he was actually in Mexico, shows you what a spineless, rich kid, bully Trump really is. He's a blowhard, lacking any substance or basic understanding of how the world works. When his casino in Atlantic City was failing, his daddy bought close to a million dollars in chips, and then never gambled them. It seems that this lowbrow investment set the tone for little Donald, and he decided to live his life in a way that allows him to create whatever problems that he wants, and then wait for someone smarter and more successful to solve them.
Both of these humiliating options are running the exact same campaign at this point. Since any redeeming qualities that they may have are almost impossible to find, they really have no choice but to preach about the dangers of not voting for them. That's what you do when you can't come up with enough good reasons to get voters to support you. You have to get them to vote against the other guy. It's an old trick, and it's a bad sign. Clinton will say “Donald Trump is not fit for the presidency. His policies are dangerous for America!” She'll try to sell it with her awkward shouting and odd cadence. Trump just repeats “Lyin' Hillary” over and over, and those who despise her eat it up. In the interest of fairness, they're both right. Trump is a repugnant nightmare who will fracture whatever fragile alliances we still have with other nations without effort. And if you think that Hillary Clinton isn't full of shit, than I would like to speak to you about the investment opportunity of a lifetime, because you're a gullible sap, and I need money.
We're often told about the horrors that will befall us if we elect the wrong candidate. That was the persistent theme of the last two elections, so we're not talking about ancient history here. The major point of voting for Obama was to avoid pointless wars and to restore job growth. The Republicans were never going to be able to pull that off! While the national unemployment rate is way down in comparison to 2008, The Obama Administration has done almost nothing to slow down the war machine. In fact, Obama has bombed more countries than Bush did, has deported more people than any president in over 120 years, and he's gone after whistle-blowers with a fervor that would make Dick Cheney hard as a rock (if that was physically possible). Going a bit further back, Republican demigod Ronald Reagan invented the concept of amnesty. So, it turns out that both parties will give you what you fear, depending on your beliefs.
The painful reality is that our only choice for even the most incremental change is to vote third party in this election. The highly publicized “fear of the other” at the ballot, is not what it's cracked up to be. Trump has horrifying bluster, but it's been alleged by one of his staffers that he just parrots the views of whomever it was that he spoke to last. This means that his associates will dictate his policies. That means that President Trump (aggressive vomiting) will be a tool for guys like Roger Ailes, and greed and corruption will continue to rule the land. On the other hoof, Hillary Clinton's mettle has been well tested. We know about her cozy relationships with Wall Street and her feverish reluctance to adopt a progressive platform. She didn't speak out against the war in Iraq or support marriage equality until the eleventh hour. She has no interest in pushing policies that benefit the people when corporations have check books that are so much bigger.
The unfortunate position that we're in is that one of these two asswipes will be our next president. Short of a miracle, there's almost no chance that this year will be the one that turns it around. But you don't have to help them win. This may seem nihilistic, but seeing as we're completely fucked with either choice, there's no real danger in voting for a third party candidate. In fact, the threat of a third party rise may make one of the presumed victors actually behave like a civil servant. Gary Johnson already has a double digit position in the polls, and Jill Stein is finally getting on some ballots, so why not? The pressure of losing thousands of votes in a swing state just might be enough to get us represented in a meaningful way. Make 'em work for your vote. Let's all quit voting out of fear, and vote for the person with whom we most agree, because nothing's ever going to change if we don't.