(And One Thing You Cannot Do)
By Guest Writer
I get the Bern. I feel it too. Bernie is a once-in-our-lifetime candidate with big ideas about issues we care about, a sincerity we rarely see, and an endearing grandpa quality that brings comfort to all of us. If you believe Bernie is the best option for president, then by all means get out there and vote for him in the primary.
For those of you who have not been following Bernie closely, he is the only challenger of Hillary Clinton remaining for the Democratic nomination. He has garnered widespread support with his anti-billionaire platform, especially from millennial voters, which got him within spitting distance of a victory in Iowa and helped him to win the New Hampshire primary. But if the grassroots revolution of Bernie fades by the time this absurdly long circus of primaries ends and the Democratic Party—not the superdelegates, the actual human people of the Democratic Party—ultimately chooses Hillary instead, here are your three options this November.
Option One: You do not vote.
While I think this is the worst of the three options, there are some cases where I can understand why someone might abstain from voting. If no candidate is better than any candidate, this option makes sense. If you don’t feel informed or you just don’t want the responsibility of voting, also an OK choice. If you forget to submit your ballot ahead of time and something comes up at work and you are suddenly super busy on November 8 and you can’t get to the polls at lunch because Cheryl is making you eat with her again so she can talk shit about Steve even though you politely said “Cheryl, I need to get to the polls,” and then you can’t go after work because you have to pick up your kid early from daycare because he has a case of pinworms and the teacher says “Your son is scratching his butt all the time and spreading pinworms to the other kids, you need to pick him up immediately instead of stopping to vote”—then this is really your only option.
Option Two: You write in Bernie’s name on your ballot.
This is the best option for idealists, because there simply won’t be enough of you to elect Bernie, but hey at least you can feel good about voting for someone you believe in. And you can brag to your friends who think you’re a sellout because you gave up on your dreams about how you’re not mainstream after all. You wrote in a candidate’s name. You’re so anti-establishment. That’ll show ‘em.
Option Three: Suck it up and vote for Hillary.
Not that I personally see how this is “sucking it up” at all. She basically has the same ideas as Bernie (I grant that she has focused on these ideas more since he has been in the race) combined with the know-how to actually achieve them. She has White House experience, First Lady experience, Senator experience, and Secretary of State experience. What more do you people want? Your life will not be worse if Hillary becomes president. It just won’t. If anything, it will get better.
Plus, added bonus to all of this experience, she would be making fucking history as president. I know her politics aren’t necessarily groundbreaking, but I truly don’t understand why people don’t see Hillary as a revolutionary candidate—because she is one. Her narrative is powerful; it is one of hard work and perseverance. Yes, she has changed some of her ideas over time, just like any normal, developing, growing human might. She is a woman who has withstood all of the shit thrown at her with poise and humility. She has built her life around fighting for feminism since before many of us were born. Why are we all suddenly able to ignore that? How can we all suddenly see Hillary as a disgraceful choice? It baffles me.
Whatever you do: Don’t vote for fucking Donald Trump.
If you are even thinking this in an option, you are probably reading this from Buffalo Bill’s basement because you are a psychopath with a death wish and you can gtfo. I understand there are some people out there who believe Trump is the best nominee overall—to you, I have nothing but sympathy for how angry you must feel all the time. I would recommend one of those little stress balls you can squeeze. Or maybe yoga?
But for those of you initially supporting Bernie, you cannot possibly rationally believe that Trump is the next best thing. I refuse to accept that. I have read a disturbing number of comments lately with this “if we can’t have Bernie we might as well give up on everything” sentiment (cue Dark Knight Michael Caine “some men just want to watch the world burn”). This is wrong on every level. You have no right to give up on the needy and poor, to give up on international relations, to give up on the environment, to give up on people worldwide whose lives hang in the balance like that. Not only to give up on them, but to sentence them to dastardly fates. A Trump presidency will set back the entire world. Are you so tired of the “establishment” that you are willing to throw away your, our country? Is Hillary so evil, so offensive to you that you just can’t bear to vote for her? If so, please see options 1 and 2 above.
A vote cast for Trump is dangerous. It marginalizes people of color, women, the disabled, immigrants, and countless others. It jeopardizes international relations that have been hard negotiated. It idolizes and elevates the very same unaccountable Wall Street greed that Bernie-lovers propose to denounce. I do not exaggerate when I say a vote cast for Trump sets up an imminent collapse of United States dominoes the likes of which we have never seen.
So if the election rolls around and Hillary goes head to head with Trump, and you’re thinking “yeah, Trump is the better choice” please consider your options and maybe eat that lunch with Cheryl on November 8.