What Unity Should Mean

If headlines about the Democratic convention (shown below) are any indication, the main purpose of the event is “party unity.”  Calls to “Unite Blue” have been intensifying as the Democratic primary process has inched towards a close and represent a pitch for Bernie Sanders supporters to rally around Hillary Clinton, helping her to emerge victorious in November’s general election matchup with Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein.

Unity Images

The brand of “unity” being pushed, however, is a corruption of the word.  It zeroes in on a narrow set of attitudes and behaviors – those towards Clinton and other Democratic party leaders – and makes a binary categorization: people who praise Clinton and other Democrats while pledging to vote for them in the fall are good, while those who protest Democratic party leaders at the convention and/or refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton are at best “ridiculous” (Sarah Silverman), “crazy” (Jonathan Chait), “pathetic” (Jon Favreau) “babies” (Amanda Marcotte) and at worst “whiny diaper babies” (Bob Cesca), “dickheads” (Imani Gandy), “garbage people” (Ian Millhiser), “shitheads” (Joan Walsh), or my personal favorite, from a Daily Kos blogger going by the name of LiberalCanuck, “Regressives [who] are commonly found in terrorist and quasi-terrorist circles [and] want misery [and] suffering [so a] revolution can occur.”

This brand of unity is so blinding that those espousing it often pile on and attack individuals who turn out to be with them on the very issue they deem most important (making sure Hillary Clinton wins in the fall).  It risks alienating Sanders supporters – who are more likely than any other candidates’ supporters to hold anti-racist views and support social justice policies – and undecided voters who might otherwise be inclined to lean Democratic, thus sowing the very division to which those pushing party unity are ostensibly opposed.

There is a better kind of unity, one that actually brings people together in pursuit of a more just and equitable world.  It is based on a shared passion for helping those in need, an openness to intellectually honest disagreement, and a commitment to respect and accountability.  This brand of unity has three major components:

1) Sticking to intellectually honest arguments: During the primary, pro-Clinton partisans propagated illiberal, misleading, and/or false claims about Bernie Sanders and his supporters. Now, despite what the New York Times (hardly a Sanders-sympathetic media outlet) has called “undeniable evidence of what Mr. Sanders’s supporters had complained about for much of the senator’s contentious primary contest with Mrs. Clinton: that the party was effectively an arm of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign,” many pundits have responded, not by apologizing for mocking Sanders supporters’ suspicions, but by downplaying and diverting attention away from the evidence confirming that the primary was unfair and undemocratic.  It’s hard to develop a successful coalition when some members of that coalition can’t trust that others are engaging in good faith, and prominent Clinton supporters have a lot of work to do to show that they are.

To be clear, the behavior of these prominent individuals is not representative; most Clinton supporters already engage in good faith most of the time, and there are also Sanders supporters out there who distorted facts during the primary.  It is incumbent upon everyone who truly supports power-balancing policy to make sure we’re adhering to the truth.

2) Respecting intellectually honest disagreement about the strategy most likely to achieve a common goal: Third-party voting, for example, comes with pros and cons for those who believe in social justice policy. The main con, as its detractors are quick to point out, is that it increases the chances that the worse of two major-party candidates will win an election (though it is not the same mathematically as a vote for the worse major-party candidate and, contrary to popular belief, is not the predominant reason George W. Bush became president in 2001).  The main pro of third-party voting, on the other hand – one its detractors rarely if ever acknowledge – is that it increases voters’ leverage over the Democratic party and the likelihood of a meaningful challenge to America’s two-party system in the long run, a system millions of people continue to suffer under.

Whether you think the pros outweigh the cons depends on a number of factors, including how much optimism you have about a third-party voting bloc’s ability to use its power effectively and how much worse you think Trump is than Clinton.  Reasonable people with very similar policy goals and visions for the world are going to disagree about whether third-party voting is worth it – some have even suggested alternative voting options – and rather than excoriating each other, we should have a robust and respectful debate.

3) Addressing legitimate concerns from coalition members and working together on areas of agreement: Third-party voting holds appeal because of the Democratic party’s very real failings, and those who wish to sway third-party voters should make their case not by belittling those voters’ concerns, but by working to make the Democratic party better. If Clinton gets elected and actively pursues the policies she borrowed from Sanders on the campaign trail, we will consider voting for her in 2020.  In the meantime, those voting for third-party candidates in the general election this year must both help push those policies through social movements and make sure to be actively involved in electoral processes at the city, state, and congressional levels.

In short, there’s no reason unity has to be so divisive.

34 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Philosophy, US Political System

34 responses to “What Unity Should Mean

  1. Sanity Please

    You are an intellectually honest person, but the strategy you have chosen is too risky, and reflects a misunderstanding of how change happens. Flirting with the possibility that your vote — and the argumemts necessary to convince others — will lead to Mr. Trump’s election is playing with fire.

    Ms. Stein essentially argues that there is little difference between the parties. That is a difficult proposition in any election, but in this election cycle it is completely untenable. The gulf between Trump’s America — with Republican dominance of all 3 branches of government — and our future with Clinton as President, is stark and rife with real world consequences.

    Trump’s election would unleash the Republican agenda that has been pent up for for the last decade. It would put our civil liberties, women’s rights, and civil rights at risk; it would lead to a massive increase in ruthless deportations of immigrants; it would reverse the progress we have made towards clean energy; our foreign policy would be reckless and uninformed; income inequality would be supercharged. And that is optimistic because it assumes — with little foundation — that Trump would just be a normal President rather than one who plunders our treasury, impoverishes our people, and causes civil strife as often happens when countries entrust their fate to similar strongmen.

    In contrast, Clinton’s election promises progress on many of the issues that you and I and most Sanders supporters care about. That is particularly true if those supporters remain active and force her to do the right thing. Ask yourself which President — Trump or Clinton — is more likely to be susceptible to pressure from the left?

    You argue that significant support for a third party would marginally increase that pressure. Well, first of all, that assumes that she will win, which isn’t preordained. Making false and demobilizing arguments that there’s no difference between the parties will make a Trump victory more likely. Those arguments will also reduce participation by young and progressive voters, causing down-ballot defeats and in the long term reducing the influence of those voters.

    What will really increase progressive leverage and prospects after this election is a decisive victory — not just a narrow one — by Clinton and Democrats, a repudiation of Trumpism. In the last hundred years, the greatest progress in the wake of elections has come after the Democratic landslides of 1932 and 1964, not after 3rd party runs. The only viable progressive third party candidates have been Henry Wallace in 1948 and Ralph Nader in 2000. Neither of their efforts succeeded in producing progressive laws.

    A landslide in this election could sweep progressive Democrats into power in Congress with a mandate unlike anything we have seen since Johnson’s election — with the help of strong progressive activism — led directly to the civil rights act, the voting rights act, and the war on poverty. Such a victory may not be probable, but it is at least possible if we… are… united.

    In short: the first priority must be to win. The second is to win by the widest margin possible. A third party vote makes both of those goals harder to achieve.

    • Sanity: please explain how Clinton is not a War Criminal guilty of war-murdering millions, lying our military into illegal Wars of Aggression, and complicit with war-looting of our taxes in the trillions (among about a dozen huge criminal areas of facts, but let’s start with just one).

      Your ethical response would be to quote war law, and then explain.

      If you don’t know the two relevant treaties (under Article 6 of the Constitution that means US “supreme law” that we must honor, with many of us sworn to uphold against “all enemies, foreign and domestic” if the US is to be a nation under law rather than dictatorship), I can give you a summary.

      Please answer this question.

      • Sanity Please

        Well, technically speaking, she wasn’t the responsible party in any of the decisions you complain about. If you were going to prosecute someone it would have to be Bush or Obama, or at least someone in the chain of command for carrying out their policies. That wouldn’t be Clinton.

        By they way, by your apparent standards for prosecuting Presidents, you’d probably have to indict pretty much everyone who’s held office since at least WWII. And if Senators, Cabinet Members, and FLOTUSes were also held legally culpable, you’d pretty much have to fill up our jails.

        Hyperbole isn’t helpful here. We face an actual danger. The only ones who might be our next President are Clinton and Trump. He admits that he supports torture and that he admires dictators with expansionist policies because they are “strong.” He’s much more likely to commit war crimes and engage in ruinous policies than she is. If you don’t agree with me, fine. Vote for Trump.

        • She is responsible as a vocal US Senator advocating these lie-started and illegal wars, she is responsible as Secretary of State as the leading Executive Branch officer for international relations, Sanity.

          True?

          Again, your ethical response needs to communicate understanding of war law. Do you know it? We have to start there to then determine the accuracy of the claim of War Criminals. The policy response of what to do with whom is a separate question only after we’re clear on the facts. This is not “your apparent standards” but two treaties crystal-clear in letter and intent.

          Second request: please explain what war law is. This isn’t “hyperbole” unless you can explain war law and how I’ve somehow overstated the facts.

          • Sanity Please

            Not true. Advocating policies can’t be a war crime. Only carrying them out. Clinton didn’t do that as Senator or as Secretary of State. As Secretary of State, she was our nation’s chief diplomat. She had nothing to do with initiating or conducting war policies. I’m sure she gave advice, since she was in a position of influence. But the culpable ones — if culpable they are — would be those who took or didn’t take that advice.

            The reason it’s hyperbole is that it’s inflamatory without helping to answer the ultimate question of whether life for us and the rest of the world will be better if he or she becomes President. As I said, if you think life would be better under Trump, then by all means punch his name on November 8th.

            • She voted for funding of these illegal wars, and while you can argue that a Secretary of State can say whatever, that is not the case law for War Crimes. How is voting to fund illegal war not a criminal act?

              Third request: what is war law, Sanity? Let’s be clear that these are illegal Wars of Aggression rather than your dodge, “if culpable they are…”

              If you don’t want to read or look, and don’t already know, I can answer the question. I’m a National Board Certified Teacher in History, Government, and Economics, and Certified Coach for such candidates. I’ve also prepared and delivered over 300 policy briefs to Members of Congress. But you won’t have to believe anything I assert because war law is as simple to understand as “stop sign law” or when a baseball pitch is or is not a strike.

              Please answer: what is war law?

              • Sanity Please

                I should probably stop, but can’t help myself… The burden’s actually on you to say what law you think she’s broken. Then we can look at that law together and decide if it applies. Where’s the law that says voting to authorize use of force can in any way shape or form constitute a war crime? That’s what she voted for, BTW, and she admits it was a mistake, in part because of how the resolution was used by Bush.

                Then, tell me how Trump would be better, which is the main point I made above, and which you haven’t addressed. Trump claims to have opposed the Iraq war, but that’s not what he said at the time. During this campaign, he has openly advocated actions that definitely would constitute war crimes if carried out, including torture and attacks on the relatives of terrorists. Is that your guy?

                • You should continue as a public service and for sanity, please, to be clear about war law 🙂 I offered at my first comment to explain, if you didn’t already know.

                  War law in one paragraph, with documentation below: two world wars generated two treaties (led by US negotiators): the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the UN Charter (both active treaties which under Article 6 means these are US “supreme law”). The first states war is illegal as a foreign policy (and used to prosecute Nazi German leaders), and the UN Charter states armed attack on another nation is illegal in all cases unless your nation is under armed attack by another nation’s government.

                  Those of us working in this area are unaware of any refutation of this statement of fact. From a paper I presented in 2015 for 2,000 people at the Claremont Colleges’ international conference: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/05/seizing-an-alternative-obviously-unlawful-usuk-wars-of-the-present-2-of-7.html

                  Congress determines law and funds it. Clinton is a leading War Criminal for her votes that make these wars possible, and the Nuremberg Trials and subsequent Crimes Against Humanity trials make her advocacy incitement for War of Aggression. An ethical act would have been impeachment of Bush for violating war law under Congress’ authorization of force, cutting-off funding, our military refusing his unlawful orders to attack and occupy, then Bush’s arrest for this obvious War of Aggression. As you may know, released intel shows all “reasons” for war were known to be false as they were told (documentation in above link).

                  Trump would not be better because he advocates the same illegal wars but with expanded torture (in violation of the US Constitution and 8 treaties if I remember correctly). Advocating war-murder is already a crime, just as if an individual advocated to neighbors to murder another individual.

                  Trump is a racist bigot, narcissistic, and displays striking immaturity (including investing his spare time being in Wrestlmania’s “Battle of the Billionaires” to pimp open violence). Documentation: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/07/13-minute-video-hillary-clinton-threat-humanity-rational-legal-responsible-citizen-move-arrest-obvious-crimes-war-looting-lying-dont-vote-trump.html

                  So, the only sane response of rational, responsible citizens informed of the facts and law is to demand arrests of the “leaders” of Left and Right arms of this one “rogue state” political body, NOT to vote for them to continue the worst crimes government can commit.

                  • So, Sanity, have you exercised minimum citizen responsibility to now know war law?

                    If so, please explain to us how the ongoing wars are legal, or if you agree they are illegal and require arrests of Left and Right “leadership” as the lawful action to stop a crime in progress.

                    • carlbradleyherman

                      That’s what I thought: so-called “sanity” becomes silent when it comes to lie-started and illegal Wars of Aggression. In the name of the ~30 million war-murdered by such US wars, I will oppose War Criminals like Hillary Clinton, and their minions, with all my self-expression.

    • Tiercelet

      Sanity,

      You say:
      “What will really increase progressive leverage and prospects after this election is a decisive victory — not just a narrow one — by Clinton and Democrats, a repudiation of Trumpism.”

      This is not a lesson that was taught by the primary.

      Sanders garnered enormous support, in the face of unprecedented favoritism from the media and the Party establishment, by focusing his message on wealth inequality: equitable access to the resources of this great country. If anything, this support made Clinton’s stance even more recalcitrant. Sanders’ policy proposals were repeatedly voted down in the platform, whipped against by Clinton’s surrogates. No real commitment to a $15 minimum wage. Open hostility to government-provided health care. No solid language against a trade deal that elevates corporations’ profits above our national sovereignty. When even these symbolic victories in a non-binding party document were denied, need we discuss her selection of a “proud Conservative” (his words) as a running mate? How she actively seeks the endorsement of Republican neoconservatives? How in a country whose top social issues are wealth inequality, police violence, and higher education debt, she elevates Republican Mike Bloomberg, multi-billionaire godfather of the financial industry, stop-and-frisk, and school privatization, to a central place in her convention?

      It all just demonstrates that Clinton’s strategy in the general is the same as her strategy throughout her & her husband’s political career: take left voters for granted, move right to appeal to an imaginary “soft center.”

      The Clintons’ Democratic Party will never see a major victory as a repudiation of Trumpism. It will see it as a repudiation of Sandersism. It will see it as proof that the Left can be safely ignored, now and forever. Far from increasing our leverage, it will end our leverage, by proving the public can be reliably counted upon to fall in line behind whatever candidate is most favorable to the donor class.

      You state that Clinton’s election is in doubt and that Trump is an unprecedented existential threat. Why, then, will the Democratic party do nothing to appeal to Sanders’ base? Why ignore the policies proven to have far more appeal to the independent majority? In the face of fascism, why spend more energy punching hippies than Hitlers?

      What does the Democratic establishment really consider an existential threat?

      • Exactly, Tiercelet! Thank you for so powerfully stating the condition of Progressives under attack by neocons.

        I don’t see any hope for policies for the people until we have literal arrests of both parties’ “leaders/hijackers/dictators” for these ongoing Wars of Aggression, bankster-looting (including health care looting), and constant lying.

        Do you see an answer short of arrests, and only after more rude awakening that the Left is captured by the same dictatorial .01% types as the Right?

      • Sanity Please

        Tiercelet, IMHO, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has grown, but it remains weak. If it continues to grow, it will win policy victories, as happened in the 30’s and 60’s.

        Theoretically, one might think that politicians would want to tailor their positions to attract progressive nonvoters to participate, but in practice that rarely happens. There really isn’t a precedent that I can think of where progressives staying home or voting for a third party led lawmakers to embrace more progressive positions.

        Elections are important — if Trump wins there will be horrible consequences for real people — but it is wrong to see elections as the only opportunity to influence policy. If Clinton wins, If we want her to do the right thing on issues we care about, we will need to organize and force her to do it. The same would have been true if Sanders had won.

        That task will be easier if her margin is larger. A large margin of victory suggests that Congress, too, will be less conservative, and it will also mean that Congress will be more willing to do what she asks, at least in the early period of her Administration.

        • carlbradleyherman

          The Republican Party began as a third party, led by Lincoln, and on two issues:

          1. The war on Mexico was started by lies and violated our treaty with them.
          2. Slavery should be ended, not just stopped from expanding.

          Of course, that party has long since been captured by War Criminals, looters, and liars.

          We at RESULTS.org worked closely with both Clintons beginning in the summer of 1992, Sanity, where both soooo sincerely promised us to everything in their power to fully fund the 1990 World Summit for Children campaign (0.7% of GNI) only to watch them renege on each and every promise, public and private, with the cost of ~500 million lives since Bill became president.

          You are welcome to be gored by the Left horn rather than the Right of the US rogue state, but this is not sanity. Please, you continue to dodge the one simple question where most of our money goes (literally half of all budgetary spending is connected to various aspects of the forever wars) and could be used for progressive issues: what is war law? If you can’t state it in a sentence, you’re in denial. How are the forever US wars legal?

  2. Strong, Ben; thank you.

    This “unity” language our “leaders” use one way or another, and on all topics, and from Left and Right, is best described by the most known living philosopher in the US, Princeton professor Frankfurt in his 2005 Bestseller: “On Bullshit.” Our “leaders” have to destroy words to herd us to their dictates, and in sharp contrast to the three ethical points you make, Ben.

    Context of Frankfurt’s work: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/06/us-public-education-bullshit-train-stupefied-work-animals-introduction-defining-bullshit-demanding-comprehensive-objective-independently-verifiable-factual-accuracy-ever.html

    An educated non-partisan observer might add:

    1. The US doesn’t hold elections because of the barrier of money to enter, corporate media bullshit coverage, and the counting of votes for 25% or more of the total has nothing to count from electronic voting machines. This is Bozo democracy, and fails to meet the definition of an election.

    2. The DNC held a coronation, not a managed primary, as made clear by e-mails. This is criminal racketeering, not cause for promotion to Hillary’s staff.

    3. And about Hillary the War Criminal and federal felon for a privatized State Department with her e-mails: she must be arrested for lie-started and illegal Wars of Aggression IF the US is to be a Constitutional republic rather than dictatorship (doing whatever is dictated/said as it is bullshitted to best sell to the sheeple).

    Americans need further work to discover “Emperor’s New Clothes” naked rogue state empire right in front of them. This is similar to discovering your uncle is a war lord, and all your family leaders know it, so one must have intellectual integrity and moral courage to embrace the facts.

    Definition of “rogue state” compared to US facts and Hillary’s actions: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/07/13-minute-video-hillary-clinton-threat-humanity-rational-legal-responsible-citizen-move-arrest-obvious-crimes-war-looting-lying-dont-vote-trump.html

  3. Josh

    So I go to a big deli, order a turkey sandwich and they give me chicken salad, then they tell me that I have to eat it and be happy. Then they say that I have to be loyal and keep coming back and I can’t go to any other delis, otherwise the other big deli that also gets your my wrong will overtake them. Get my damn order right! Meanwhile, the other small delis routinely get my order right, but aren’t big enough to garner any attention from people who are mad about getting the wrong sandwich most of the time. Even if they knew that they’ve had enough of getting the wrong sandwich, they won’t make a switch to the smaller delis out of fear that by doing so the other big deli will take over and screw up even more orders.

    I am, have been, and will continue to be a third party voter; I voted for Johnson in ’12 and will again in ’16. I vote based on my beliefs, knowing full well that my candidate will not will. At best, I’m hoping that we can get into the debate (especially this one), and point out the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy on both sides.

    I can’t help but to feel sorry for Bernie supporters, not just because he was cheated, but because he rolled over and fell in line with the exact beast (the system not Hillary) he was fighting. Not that my views align with Ted Cruz, but I respect his not endorsing Trump. I’m sure the people marching down Broad Street can relate to not compromising their beliefs for the betterment of “their” party.

    Anyway, if I was a registered Democrat (I’m registered as an Independent) my response to Mr. Booker would be simple: Get my order right, and I’ll happily get in line! Otherwise, I hope you go down just like the idiots who can’t distinguish between chicken salad and turkey!

    • Sanity Please

      Hmmm. Voting isn’t much like ordering a sandwich. If it were, the actual situation would be that there are only two places in town where food is available. One serves sandwiches you don’t like much, but the other one smells foul, is owned by bad characters, and has recently been cited by the health department. There are a few other places in the area that have beautiful pictures of scrumptious sandwiches, but unfortunately at the moment they’re all out and don’t have anything behind the counter you can actually eat now. You can put in an order, but the food won’t come for months, if then. Plus, if you go one of to those places, the one deli in town serving edible food may not be able to remain in business.

  4. Sanity Please

    By the way, Ben. I’m primarily writing for you, because you are a smart and reasonable person, and I’m hoping you still have an open mind.

    To that end, I want to mention that with respect to 2000, the point isn’t whether Nader’s votes were “the predominant reason” for Gore’s defeat. The question is whether they were a contributing factor. Obviously, others were also very much to blame for the outcome. The Gore campaign could have done a much better job in Florida and elsewhere.

    But that doesn’t absolve the voters who could have voted for Gore — but didn’t — of their own responsibility. They could have made a difference notwithstanding Gore’s errors. If they had voted differently, Bush would never have become President.

    It was their choice. They should own the consequences. In hindsight, did the votes they cast for Nader make a better nation or a worse one?

    • Hi Sanity,

      Sorry for the delayed response, and thanks for the compliments and thoughtful comments. Tiercelet made some of the points I would have made, but here are a couple additional comments on some of the points you brought up:

      1) I definitely think there’s a difference between Trump and Clinton. I just think the size of that difference is often overstated (as is Trump’s uniqueness) and don’t see our set of choices during this election cycle as fundamentally different than they have been in previous elections. The difference between Clinton and what we need is much bigger than that between Trump and Clinton, and that’s a large part of why I think it’s so important to vote for a third-party candidate.

      2) On Gore v. Nader, the only honest answer I can give is “we’ll never know.” Do we go into Iraq under Gore? Maybe. Does the Great Recession happen? Probably. Would we have had the first Black president in 2008? Maybe not. Would Bernie Sanders have done so well in this primary? Who knows.

      What I believe I can say is that the mudslinging at those who voted for Nader has definitely weakened progressives. That’s a large part of why I wrote this post; I think it’s really important to learn how to work with and respect people with different electoral strategy so that we can make gains on the policies we all agree on.

      3) I agree that presidential elections are only one small part of what we need to be thinking about and am hoping that local elections and issues campaigns are both things Clinton and Stein voters can work together on.

      Thanks again for the comments!

      Ben

  5. I appreciate the well thought-out and articulated message. As a lifelong Democrat don’t see the need for anybody who is truly a Democrat to work within the Democratic party to try to effect change.
    Looking at the Democratic party platform it should be made clear that there is no anti-fracking language in it, there is no anti-tpp language in it, there is no support for a federal $15 an hour minimum wage in it, and there is no support of universal healthcare. So what I see is no Progressive ideas that Mr Sanders thought were important got included into the Democratic party platform.

    I think the issue of Environmental Protection for mrs. Clinton is like gay marriage. I think she sees that the majority of the American people are now going to start demanding it from their politicians. She was not for gay marriage until just recently and the only reason there’s any environmental language in the agenda that’s as strong as it is is because of Mr Sanders and mrs. Clinton’s political opportunism.

    I wouldn’t get into any assertions of any past Behavior by mrs. Clinton except to say that I don’t trust her. Seeing what happened in the primaries and the actions of the democratic National Committee, which I am sure we’re a doubt ably supported by mrs. Clinton, shows me that there is no more room to try to change what goes on in the Democratic party to support the true people of this country.

    Therefore I will not vote for mrs. Clinton no matter what. I will vote for some other party. I will not vote for Donald Trump but should there be a trump presidency in November do not look to any of the Bernie Sanders supporters or people like that to assign any of the responsibility too for that result.

    I apologize for the grammar mistakes as I am using voice activated software because my arthritis hurts me too much to type. Again thank you for a well thought-out article

    • Sanity Please

      I am sooooo tired of people saying that they will vote one way but won’t take responsibility for the results of that vote. Listen, if Secretary Clinton loses she will have herself to blame. But if you voted for someone else, you will share the responsibility.

      Maybe you have a good reason for your vote. Maybe you’re right. Maybe you don’t think there’s a dime’s worth of difference. That’s your right. That’s democracy.

      I think you’re wrong. I think Trump’s election will be an unparalleled disaster for our children, our nation, and our world. Your vote, with that of others like you, can help to stop that. I hope you reconsider

      But whatever you decide, don’t deflect. The future is ours to choose. Own your choices.

      • What am I supposed to take responsibility for? I take responsibility for voting my conscience. If Hillary Clinton cant win without my vote, how the heck does that become my responsibility. am not responsible for her influencing the election improperly. Maybe you are okay unless you are jewish, atheist or even a taco bowl. Clinton supporters are not taking any responsiblity for their candidate improperly influencing the vote.. I dont hear any of them saying sorry to the 13 million Sanders supporters they disenfranchised. THE END CANNOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS OR WE ARE NO BETTER THAN THE TERRORISTS WE ARE FIGHTING. Moral high ground does not belong to Clinton. Sorry

        • Tony O.

          You are supposed to take responsibility for contributing to Trump getting elected. You have a vote that can either help Trump get elected or help Hillary get elected. A vote for anyone but Hillary helps Trump get elected.

          It might be principled to vote for Jill Stein, or whoever, but if your goal is to further progressive policies then it doesn’t make any strategic sense. Like Ben said in another post:

          “There are two possibilities when it comes to my vote: it will either impact the outcome of the election or it won’t. If my vote won’t impact the outcome of the election, I might as well vote for the candidate with the best policy positions, regardless of his or her supposed electability.

          If my vote will impact the outcome of the election, I may have to decide which matters more: (a) the differences between a bad Democrat and worse Republican over the next four years or (b) the degree to which I’d undermine our chances to enact fundamental change to a broken political system in the long-run by pursuing a lesser-of-two-evils voting strategy.”

          But the first part of that is a bit of a moot point. If your Jill Stein vote does not affect Hillary winning then there were probably a small enough number of Jill Stein votes that it will not result in any change away from a 2 party system or pushing the democratic party toward progressive policies. So you get to feel good about yourself, but there is no real gain from it.

          When voting you should assume your vote will impact the election and focus on the second possibility. Sanity Please does a good job explaining why a Stein vote is a poor strategy in his first reply to this article. There would have to be a much smaller difference between a Hillary/Democratic presidency and a Trump/Republican presidency to justify the Stein vote. Even if you assume a Hillary presidency results in no progress (which is unlikely), at least it’s not the giant step back a Trump presidency would be. Sure, if 10% of Sanders supporters vote for Stein it might result in the Democratic party making slight changes to their policies, but that is not certain. What is certain is a Trump presidency would do great damage to your goals.

          I think because the primary focused on the differences between Hillary and Sanders people lose sight of all the policy positions they share. The difference between Trump/Republicans and Hillary/Democrats is much greater than the difference between Hillary and Sanders.

          Now if your presidential vote was your only tool for expressing what policies you support it might make some sense. A bit like a hail mary in football; it is extremely unlikely to result in change, but if it’s your only chance why not take it. There’s a reason teams don’t go for a hail mary in the middle of the first quarter though. You should use all your other tools to push for policies that align with those you support, but vote for Hillary in November.

  6. carlbradleyherman

    Ben, you might want to check out a key report and videos. From this one: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/07/expert-report-evidence-proves-election-fraud-bernie-won-democratic-nomination-enough-01-rogue-state-crimes-demand-arrests-need-lies-looting-wars.html#comment-214981

    “The difference between the reported totals, and our best estimate of the actual vote, varies considerably from state to state. However these differences are significant—sometimes more than 10%—and could change the outcome of the election.” ~ Fritz Scheuren, professor of statistics at George Washington University, President of the American Statistical Association (ASA)

    Election Justice USA issued their report of the 2016 primaries, Democracy Lost, with findings that Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primaries, but was denied victory from the following types of election fraud (pg. 95):

    1) Targeted voter suppression

    2) Registration tampering

    3) Illegal voter purges

    4) Exit polling discrepancies

    5) Evidence for voting machine tampering

    6) The security (or lack thereof) of various voting machine types

    Their conclusion:

    “Based on this work, Election Justice USA has established an upper estimate of 184 pledged delegates lost by Senator Bernie Sanders as a consequence of specific irregularities and instances of fraud. Adding these delegates to Senator Sanders’ pledged delegate total and subtracting the same number from Hillary Clinton’s total would more than erase the 359 pledged delegate gap between the two candidates. EJUSA established the upper estimate through exit polling data, statistical analysis by precinct size, and attention to the details of Democratic proportional awarding of national delegates. Even small changes in vote shares in critical states like Massachusetts and New York could have substantially changed the media narrative surrounding the primaries in ways that would likely have had far reaching consequences for Senator Sanders’ campaign.”

  7. Valerie @voilarie85210

    It’s not about HRC.
    She is merely the vehicle we need to skillfully commandeer in order to position ourselves a vantage point from which we build a true and viable 3rd party. One to be reckoned with. Not a 3rd party we currently have that is at best a vanity base and at worst irreversible regret. We need to look to successful social democracies with legitimate 3rd party structure and public funding. Only legitimate candidates will be supported. Let’s unite for that. 🤓🔥🇺🇸

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