…and why you should consider it too.
I’m not voting for Jill Stein – the Green Party candidate for president – so much to send “a message to the Democrats” – who aren’t listening – or because of some irrational distaste for Hilary – who’s really quite a traditional politician – but because I’m sick of the “lesser of two evils logic” that ensures that the same old, decrepit system and cycle of American politics rolls over and over. It’s a game I am refusing to play because if Hilary loses to Trump this November, the Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves.
Yes, third party candidates can draw off supporters for a more mainstream candidate, but that’s a small factor compared to larger issues, like voter suppression and general cynicism. I suggest that third party candidates like Ralph Nader and Ross Perot simply illustrate the root problem: huge numbers of Americans are disaffected with the process and understand on some level that their vote doesn’t matter. It’s the rigged nature of the system (through corporate monies and backroom ‘understandings), not Bernie or Bust people that are the problem. Simply put, the Democrats have trouble getting progressives to come out and vote for them. The recent behaviour of the Democrats and Hilary simply illuminate this.
I’m voting for Jill Stein because as much as Trump’s a facist buffoon and a catastrophe for all that’s at least semi-decent in the world, America’s centrist-corporate policies – perfectly encapsulated by Hilary – are really leading in the same direction in the long run. Trump’s a train wreck. But the ideology and policies represented by Hilary will lead to just as much as a terrifying apocalyptic dystopian world in a generation or two anyway. It’s these supposedly left-leaning, but in actuality neoliberal (and therefore suspiciously right-of-center and fundamentally Reagan-ish), policies that have generated and nurtured these right-wing gargoyles in the first place.
I’m voting for Jill Stein because every election cycle all the cynics – and I suspect the majority of Americans – start going about talking about “it’s time for a change” and how the “system is broken”. And then nothing happens. Funny how that works. This is both voter psychology and the effective raison d’être of both political parties entirely beholden to powerful corporate interests and a smattering of ultra-wealthy individuals.
And yet when the majority of Americans stand in the voting booth, they vote their fears. And then wonder why “The Establishment” always seems to win. Meanwhile, conservatives vote for the guy who “hates big government” and wonder why the country is in chaos. Divide and conqueror – it’s happening here, and it’s corporate greed that is the motor behind the politics that is conquering us.
Yet when a true candidate of change appears – Bernie Sanders – he’s branded by the established parties and media as unelectable; a communist; if not, some sort of adorable, yet idealistic hopeless grandpa. As if wanting to do something about global warming, or thinking that rich people should pay there fair share of taxes makes you into a unicorn that wants to leap over a rainbow.
And so most people will vote for Hilary – a baby-boomer’s candidate with baby-boomer polices. She has come to represent to the restive American voter everything that’s wrong with business-as-usual in Washington DC. She could easily loose because once again – this Herbert Humphrey of our time – seems to misjudge the mood of the American voter.
The only problem really, is that people are of three minds as to “business-as-usual”. There is the rightist-populist response (Trump), centrist (Hilary) and the left-progressive response (Sanders). America has never had a progressive president in the contemporary sense. And while I despair of getting one in this election – Bernie Sanders will always be the president we should have had – both the factual reality of our society and sheer historical record screams for a much more progressive country.
Look at the track record of Democratic presidents. It’s really not all that left-leaning. Carter is considered the furthest left and he massively increased military spending. Raising the minimum wage by a few nickels and dimes every decade just doesn’t really make one “progressive”. Without going into the whole “socialism” vs “capitalism” rigamarole (the very use of these words indicate that someone is trying to change the subject), the simple truth is that this country has been slipping badly toward the right. As things get worse and worse there is no backlash against neoliberal (trickle-down) policies that have clearly failed, and failed badly. By this I mean that while Progressives are consciously against neoliberalism, conservatives – populist conservatives are un-consciously against it as well. However, there is no consensus of what is happening in our society and therefore no unified resistance to that indefinable series of events and feelings that make up why people are so alienated, angry, afraid, disenfranchised and disgusted. With any serious, reflective thought that delves into the roots of our various “issues” it is easy to see that systemic corporate greed is the underlying source of the problems that besiege us today.
I used to give Democrats the benefit of the doubt; the most progressive elements of our society don’t vote regularly, and so there is no reason to rely on them in an election. If Hilary won – by a landslide – perhaps the Democrats would feel empowered to actually carry out progressive policies. But the way that the Democrats have behaved in this election simply prove that no progressive policies will ever happen. A Hilary administration will be very busy on the social front but it seems that little true reform will ever happen.
TPP must be stopped. The Glass-Steagall Bill must be reinstated, Citizens United must be overturned, and real progress must take place on protecting the environment. Hilary will do none of these things. The neoliberal economics that have been the de facto ideology of Washington DC since Reagan are being carried on by the Democrats and Hilary. These policies have been a disaster and are the root of the populist rage that drives the Trump campaign. Neoliberalism will stagger on for another decade – probably – with a Hilary administration. And we can’t afford it. Our democracy – what’s left of it – can’t take it. Our environment can’t take it. Our society can’t take it.
This is what the Democrats don’t understand, and why the “Bernie or Bust” crowd is so angry. The entire attitude of the Democrats towards progressives – remarkable summed up by Sarah Silverman’s “You’re being ridiculous” – only confirms that the DNC just doesn’t get what’s happening in this country. Despite the surprising strength – at least a third of Americans want Bernie and no body dislikes him – of Bernie’s campaign, and despite all the warming signs, the Democrats have opted to stay loyal to their corporate sponsors – and then wonder why so few people turn out to vote for them.
Here’s some good articles that echo my point: