October 24, 2016 by David Dehlendorf
The author makes an excellent case for progressives to not vote for Jill Stein or to sit on the sidelines on November 8.
From the Facebook page of Fred Small, October 22, 2016
Some of my fellow progressives who live in solidly blue states like Massachusetts have told me they plan to vote for Jill Stein. They want to send a message that the two-party system has failed us and Hillary Clinton needs to move leftward, on climate change, foreign policy, and many other issues.
I’ve been sympathetic. If the paramount need is to defeat Donald Trump, and Clinton’s grip on your state’s electoral college votes is secure, why not vote third party and make a statement?
In the last two weeks, Trump–and especially Trump’s followers–have changed my mind.
As the presidency appears to be slipping from Trump’s reach, Trump has escalated his claims that the election is “rigged” not only by media bias but also by widespread election fraud. Challenging the principle of peaceful succession in a democracy, Trump’s rhetoric has provoked his followers into ominous warnings of armed “revolution” and “taking out” Hillary Clinton. Even if these sentiments are shared by a small minority of Trump voters, they are dangerous. They threaten all of us–especially on the left.
The presidential election of 2016 is a watershed moment in our history. The margin of victory will likely determine whether the racist, sexist, xenophobic, neofascist movement converging around Donald Trump suffers a debilitating blow or a flesh wound from which it quickly recovers, more powerful than ever.
I believe there’s an even more important statement to make November 8 than demanding that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats pay attention to the Left. That statement is this: The United States unequivocally rejects Trump, Trumpism, and any movement that seeks to further their agenda of fear, hatred, and bullying.
Voting for Jill Stein will muddy this message. Although it will reduce Trump’s vote total, it will equally reduce Clinton’s, and it is her margin of victory that will determine how the world views the outcome November 8. If the election is close, Trump’s partisans will cry foul and fraud, and their rage will fuel them for decades to oppose not only the federal government but the Left’s agenda generally. Some of them will use violent means.
For some Trump supporters, rage and paranoia appear to be chronic conditions. But the majority, I believe, will accept or at least be influenced by the will of American voters–if it is decisively expressed. (See “degradation ceremony” in Dana Milbank’s Washington Post column below.)
If you want to make a statement to Hillary Clinton, please join the countless activists organizing, demonstrating, and going to jail for renewable energy, immigration justice, economic equity, police accountability, campaign finance reform, ranked choice voting, non-interventionist foreign policy, an end to mass incarceration, and respect for all colors, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, physical and mental abilities, and gender identities and expressions. We’ll be in the streets regardless who wins the presidency.
On election day, let’s make a statement to Donald Trump and his would-be fascist followers: You’re finished.
Vote Hillary Clinton.