Bernie & Ralph & Jesus
I claim no great moral compass in saying, simply: I was wrong. At the time of the 2000 election, Gore v. Bush, I was wrong to suggest that the better vote was a protest vote for Ralph Nader.
It isn’t that I feel as though my vote, or my blog posts, cost Gore the election. Living in NYC, my vote for Nader had little effect on the state outcome in favor of Gore-Lieberman. And my blog’s impact? Oh, come on.
But it is impossible to ignore that history in light of the present situation of Clinton v. Trump. With so many Bernie Sanders supporters declaring they will vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or someone other than Clinton, the issue is relevant all over again.
If you want to vote for Stein or some alternative to the Clinton-Kaine ticket, then let’s just be clear about three things.
- A vote for someone other than Clinton is unambiguously a vote for Trump. If Trump wins, you will bear some responsibility, the same way that many others–including me–bear some responsibility for allowing Bush-Cheney to win. Do we need to recount those eight terrible years? I’d rather not.
- If your justification is that you supported Bernie–you’re a BernieBro, a BernieCrat, a Bernie-whatever–then you should ask yourself about what it is you really believe in, and how rational it is. When was the last time you believed that one human had all right the answers? Is Bernie the Messiah? Because if the answer to that second question is yes, then you have to wonder how he couldn’t overcome opposition from mere voters. And if the answer is no, well…
- You many not use the “I support a Third Party” defense. Because you didn’t; you supported an independent who decided to run as a capital-D Democrat. Because the history of third parties in the USA is very clear (Perot; Nader). And because Dan Savage is right.
Bernie Sanders did the right and honorable thing by endorsing Hillary Clinton, knowing that Clinton-Kaine represents a better political future for this country than any of the other options. If the Sanders campaign has brought out in you a dedication to fix the political system–whether in the Democratic party or through a ground-up third party–great. You can do that work with Hillary Clinton as president, and live to fight again in 2020. But in the meantime…let’s not make the Nader mistake again.