Tag Archives: Jill Stein

It’s Not Who You Vote For It’s Who Wins That Matters

“But I love Bernie! He’s the first politician I’ve ever…”

I did not cry, when Bernie endorsed Hillary. I had worked for him, donated money, time, letters to the Editor, but when he endorsed Hillary, I agreed with him. To me, he wasn’t giving up; he wasn’t selling out; he was acting strategically. He saw that he could not win the nomination, although he had come tantalizingly close, and had mobilized a significant segment of the potential Democratic Party’s constituency.

Yes, obstacles were put there by the DNC and state Democratic parties; there was a conscious attempt by some in the DNC to diminish Bernie’s appeal in any way they could. But it’s probable Bernie still would not have won even without these sub rosa efforts. He couldn’t mobilize Black, Asian and Latino voters, or even Whites with less than a college education: the latter are Trump’s special constituency. He knew that. He’d tried, with BlackLivesMatter, and with other outreach efforts.

So, Bernie wasn’t selling out; he was acting strategically: when he stopped campaigning, did not endorse, but negotiated with Hillary. They both compromised; that’s the nature of politics that works. After he’d gotten what he could get—for all of us—he endorsed her.

Bernie has also stated over and over again, that Trump must be stopped, and he’ll do everything in his power to prevent his election. Why?

It’s not because he’s sold out; it’s because he’s gotten considerable concessions from Hillary, and they hold a lot of views in common to begin with, like their view of Supreme Court nominations. What he’s modeling is what you do in strategic voting.

The difference between strategic voting and ideological voting is in what each accomplishes. More narrowly, issues voting means you vote only for particular policies. The extreme example is the anti-abortion voter, who will only vote for a candidate who is explicitly anti-abortion, the more obdurate the better. If feelings are intense enough, issue voting may actually result in legislation and policy, but usually it’s never enough for the true believer—on whatever issue—and it only has impact on that issue.

Broader than issue voting is ideological voting. This is voting for a candidate who best exemplifies the voter’s ideological preferences, even if the candidate has no chance of winning office, and therefore no chance of putting that ideology into legislation and actual practice.

Ideological voting best describes the Bernie voter who gravitates to the Green Party’s Jill Stein, or the libertarian Republican supporter of Rand Paul, who supports Gary Johnson.

In a winner-take-all electoral system, which is what the US has had since its founding, and what our neighbor, Canada, to the North has as well, both issue and ideological voting can have paradoxical effects. In a winner-take-all political system, a plurality (not a majority), wins the election. In Canada’s case, for two separate elections, voters on the left split their votes between the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, and Parti Quebecois. While the left was in a clear majority, it lost, heavily, to Steven Harper, Conservative, who was funded by the oil industry in Alberta. So, all Canada’s support for combatting climate change was thrown out the window; government encouraged Tar Sands oil production, while social programs were radically defunded: the electoral structure permitted a minority to elect a large majority in Parliament. After two terms, the Conservatives were thrown out by a more unified left, behind the moderately leftward Liberal party. They had discovered how horrible it was to have a radical right-wing government.

The same thing can happen here. If the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is close (still a real possibility), ideological votes for Stein and Johnson could be the deciding factor: not in one of the latter winning, (there’s no chance of that) but in the triumph of the Democrat or Republican candidate who loses the fewest votes to the third party candidate to his or her left or right.

In other words, if Jill Stein were able to attract a larger slice of former Bernie voters than Gary Johnson gained from disaffected Republican voters, it would become increasingly difficult for Democrats to win.

I suspect that Johnson also attracts issue-voting millennials, with his legalize marijuana position; many of these were former Bernie voters. His polling at twice the level of Stein, may in part be because of this, so he takes votes away from both Trump and Hillary.

The paradoxical effect of Bernie Sanders mobilizing young, left-wing voters, increasing the size of the left-leaning constituency (from left of center to far left) could permit Trump to win, if too many of these newly mobilized voters end up voting for Stein or Johnson: a minority, voting for Trump, could prevail over a left of center majority that is split into two or three parts.

Now, think of the consequences: instead of Bernie in the Senate being joined by a President and Congress that supports much of his agenda, and is likely to be responsive to pressure brought to bear by groups like Our Revolution and BlackLivesMatter, instead, Trump would be President.

Would Trump and the triumphant Republicans give credence to any left-wing group? Of course not. Bernie endorsed Hillary for a reason: her election would be the best chance to carry out much of his (and our) agenda in the next four years. With a Republican White House and Congress, we would get a Supreme Court that overthrew Roe v Wade and permitted even more voter suppression; the US would be ramping up of coal mining and oil drilling, not mitigating global warming; there would be an increase in racist policies at all levels, and rejection of virtually every policy that Bernie and his supporters advocated: instead of a public option for healthcare, you’d have a return to the monopoly-controlled market and rejection of even the minimal reform represented by Obamacare.

Strategic voting for a Bernie supporter, instead, would be: to vote for Democrats, however flawed they may be, because this would accomplish two things: it would prevent what could amount to a Fascist takeover, much like the minority Nazis taking over the German government in the face of a divided left and center, and it would increase pressure for the kinds of changes we (Berniers) all want.

Besides: if you love Bernie, strategic voting is clearly what he advocates, even despite the corruption of the Democratic Party by the likes of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Further Bernie activists can do what Kelleigh McKenzie, co-founder of Ulster4Bernie, is attempting in Ulster County: to gain election to the NY State Democratic Committee, so she can help bend the party in a progressive direction. She appears to say: if you don’t like the Democratic Party, work on changing it.

That’s strategic thinking.

Emigrating To La La Land

A  fellow Bernier) sent me the link to a short film, as one of the reasons she could never vote for Hillary. Hearing veiled remarks about ‘corruption’ and ‘can’t trust her’ and just ‘follow the money,’ I realized: this is what Hillary first called ‘a right-wing conspiracy” back in the ’90’s. All the rumors of the terrible things done by the Clintons, or by Hillary specifically, have a funny way of never being confirmed or proven. And the conspiracy-mongers always have an explanation, how ‘she’ or ‘they’ wriggled out of it.

And it does come out of the right-wing. It’s the kinds of things right-wing radio ranters and the Enquirer have been shouting for years.

A current example, Clinton Cash was produced by Breitbart Films. The organization also publishes Daily Caller and is a well-known right-wing propaganda mill.

So, viewing Clinton Cash must be done with a healthy dose of skepticism. The film itself is rich in images of cash, of supposedly corrupt people being greeted by or hosted by or hosting Bill and Hillary and of a drawn, unattractive Hillary announcing decisions as Secretary of State—none of her announcements are actually shown, but the commentator helpfully tells you what nefarious deals they facilitated. So, there are a lot of inferences drawn, a lot of circumstantial “evidence” is mustered, but the inferences in all these cases are only insinuations.

Since Brightbart doctored videos that destroyed ACORN and then attempted to do the same thing to Planned Parenthood–posing as innocent reporters, they twisted the videos through deceptive editing, to show that PP was selling fetal tissue for profit, when it has never been proven that PP ever did: they sell tissue at cost, to cover handling expenses, since they want to make it available for scientific research. Why believe anything declared by Brietbart?

You have to realize, this is the same propaganda that animates Fox News, and the screamers in Cleveland calling for Clinton to be jailed or executed. It has about as much credibility as the failed effort to destroy Planned Parenthood.

And, almost all the stories about Hillary and Bill, extensively investigated over and over and found baseless, have been circulating on the Tea Party network for years. Now these same propaganda “news” groups are seeking new converts: among Bernie or Busters: to persuade as many Berniers as possible that they should NEVER vote for the demon, Hillary Clinton. Trump’s been pretty up front about that, himself.

Just to know where all this comes from should tell you how insidious and spurious it is.

I think Hillary has made some mistakes, because she listened to longtime experts in State, for example, to support the Honduran coup, and to overthrow Libya’s Qaddafi, without a realistic scenario for what should come after–both incidents NOT covered in this film. But to portray her and Bill as on the take, solely motivated by accumulating money on the backs of poor Haitians or Congolese is just completely BS. Yes, they sought funds to carry out their programs abroad, programs they believed would do good. They thought the people in charge knew what they were doing, or that the only way to get things done was to work with questionable people. That’s an especially old story in foreign development circles, where corruption is endemic and expected. Any politician trying to get things done will probably have to make questionable connections.

Bernie’s wife, Jane, is also supposedly tarred by questionable actions vis a vis an education fund. No one is pure.

As for Trump: his whole career has been built on legally (that’s why so many lawsuits) bilking contractors, workers, students, and ordinary people in virtually all his “business” dealings. That’s how he’s made his money.

If you don’t vote for the Democrats (including Hillary) you are making it easier for Trump to be elected, and he could win. He’d probably have the mob with him—and his own mob. He’s admired Putin and Saddam because that’s the kind of dictatorial regime he wants to lead himself: he’s also on board to discriminate against: immigrants, Latinos, blacks and the LGBTQ community (despite his careful repeating of the initials in his speech). He would abolish the health care act, privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, while cutting taxes on the wealthiest, thereby creating huge deficits that would require slashing government services to any except the very wealthy. And, he’d build up our military (now accounting for 40% of all defense spending in the entire world), so he’d probably need new taxes: maybe an “America Tax”, a sales tax or a value-added tax that would hit the poor especially hard (they are his favorite victims in business, after all).

I’ll vote Democrat to protect my children, all of whom are identified as in the LGBTQ spectrum. I’ll vote to protect a Supreme Court that could become either even more conservative than it was with Scalia, or could be progressive if Hillary gets to appoint his replacement and the other Justices getting too old to serve. That court will serve long after I’m dead.

I’ll also vote to insure that we have someone leading our country who is sane, not unstable and unpredictable.

That Hillary has also signed on for a good part of Bernie’s agenda is a bonus we could work for. It would be impossible for us to even think about the Bernie agenda (except maybe through violent revolution) if Trump were elected.

The idea that, even if Trump got elected he couldn’t do anything, is unwarranted. He offered Kasich the Vice Presidency, in which he, the VP, would be in charge of Domestic and Foreign Affairs, i.e. the one getting things done for Donald. It’s very likely Pence signed on for the same deal. And there are all sorts of radical ‘conservative’ Republicans who would do the kinds of things outlined in their platform. Pence would dismantle as much of the Federal Government as he could, except for Defense, Homeland Security and DOJ. If he and Trump were elected, they’d probably take Congress, too. And, of course, the Supreme Court, since he, or Trump, would have the pleasure of appointing the most conservative, pro-monopoly-corporate, “Christian,” anti-LGBTQ lackeys they could find.

Tell me: what would voting for Jill Stein do, if Trump were elected?

Would her 3%—5% make a difference in the election? You can already see it in the polls: Jill takes votes from Democrats. Trump and Hillary were neck and neck, when Stein and Johnson were included in the latest polls, while a pairing of Hillary only against Trump shows Hillary slightly ahead.

Voting for Jill Stein, if Trump were elected, would signal to him that the left is divided and weak, so he can destroy us as predatory “leaders” are apt to do: by turning us against each other.

Maybe, he/they have already done that, with the help of Brietbart, Fox News, Limbaugh, and all the other right-wing propagandists.

I hope not, but if so: Welcome to their LaLa land!