“Gasp! How dare he say such a thing?!”
Well, I said it. And I’ll repeat it every single day from now until Nov. 8, hoping that it sinks in for those who constitute the small but important faction of Bernie holdouts.
If you’re planning on casting your ballot for Jill Stein this fall to “send a message,” you should know that you’re only sending one message – that you want Donald Trump in the White House.
I know, I know. Three paragraphs in and you’re about to close out of this article and cleanse yourself by donating a few bucks to the Stein campaign. Perhaps you’ll shoot some angry tweets my way while you’re at it.
But we have to be realistic and we have to be adults – especially when it comes to choosing the next President of the United States. Particularly when one of those choices is Donald Trump.
Take a look at the current RealClearPolitics average of national polling between the four presidential candidates – Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Right now, Trump leads by roughly 1 percentage point.
Here’s exactly where the numbers stand as of this writing: Trump (40.0%), Clinton (38.8%), Johnson (7.3%) and Stein (3.0%).
There is a ridiculous notion among Stein supporters that there are enough responsible voters out there to ensure that Trump doesn’t set foot in the White House come 2017, thus giving them permission to vote for a third-party candidate.
But the polling is clear. This race is not a lock for the Democratic nominee, and it is absurd that some disgruntled liberals are perpetuating that myth to excuse their irresponsible de facto vote for Donald Trump.
Didn’t we see this nightmare play out 16 years ago when Green Party votes gave us the blessing of a George W. Bush presidency?
That year, Al Gore lost to Bush in the state of New Hampshire by 7,211 votes. Close, but no cigar. Consider, though, that Ralph Nader (Green Party candidate) pulled in over 20,000 votes in the state. That didn’t just tip the scales in favor of Bush; it essentially handed him the presidency on a silver platter.
It was even closer in Florida, as we all know, with Bush “winning” there by a margin of 537 votes. Those who wanted to “send a message” gave Nader 100,000 votes.
If Gore was to carry either of those states, he would have been elected president. Instead, frustrated liberals decided to “stand up” to the Democratic Party because they weren’t all that thrilled with their nominee. That act, as I said before, gave us the two-term Bush disaster – eight years that did nothing to advance the progressive causes that Green Party supporters claim to care about.
Now, all these years later, we find ourselves in a similar scenario.
Hillary Clinton, a candidate that angry Sanders/Stein supporters agree with on roughly 80 to 90 percent of issues, is the best chance we have of keeping Donald Trump out of the White House, building on the progress of the past eight years, and enacting a progressive agenda going forward. An agenda, I’ll add, that Bernie Sanders himself helped craft.
Yes, we all must work toward the long-term goal of making the democratic process fairer, more open to outside voices, and less influenced by money – but we shouldn’t be doing something in the short term that is certain to cripple those efforts.
If we spend one moment thinking rationally, we should be able to understand this.
Donald Trump is an immediate threat to this country, and we must defeat him before anything else. Casting your ballot for Jill Stein will hurt – not help – the work of achieving progressive goals by making it more likely that a dangerous demagogue wins the White House in November.
Like most responsible adults, I’m not willing to let that happen. Neither should you.