Let me make a few things abundantly clear. The first is that I’m not going to vote for Clinton. I’m voting for Stein as a protest candidate. The mathematics of the electoral college being what it is, and my state being what it is, that’s not going to make any kind of difference in the election outcome. You know it and I know it, and any argument that this somehow helps Trump is pure unadulterated magical thinking. My reasons for protest are not important and they are not the subject of this statement. If, on the other hand, you live in a swing-state, or even a state that might become a swing state, your calculus is different. The reason I felt the need to write this is simple: No one else seems willing or able. Time and time again there has been a consistent refusal to acknowledge Clinton’s failings and cast into the light good reasons to vote for her.
Instead a vote for Clinton is unappetizingly framed as a vote against Trump. It doesn’t seem to matter that this argument has not worn well with use over numerous elections, or that it is not working on the remaining holdouts. Well goddamnit, I actually give a shit about the outcome of this election, and if Clinton’s surrogates and advocates cannot get off their asses to set the record straight then you better bet I fucking will. Not because I’m the best person to do it, but because I’m afraid that I’m going to be the only person to do it. I was going to make this statement a case for Clinton without Trump, but any full analysis must include him. I can only promise to mention him last. In the meantime I’m going to give several persuasive reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton. In doing so, I make the following promises: A Hillary presidency will entail real work on your part, you will be left with many duties, your principles will be tested, your expectations will have to adjust, your hopes will be postponed, and your dreams deferred. In exchange for these things I promise you these others: You will keep hope alive, your dreams will remain in sight, and you will have your ultimate victory.
A Clinton victory is a way to seize power directly rather than cede lesser power in the hopes that greater power will be given to you eventually. The former is built into the system, however poorly, and the latter is a gamble. Voting third party and throwing the election will most likely lead to a recalculation that excludes you. It may even sour the future of third parties long-term. I want to be clear that I do not believe in the absolute merits of “working within the system.” More often than not, it’s a sucker’s errand. In this case however, it’s a matter of relative risk and the path of least resistance. It is a tactic, not a long-term strategy of deferring to a system that is all too happy to betray you. If you turn up in quantity and win her the election, you position yourself as a kingmaker. You are now in a position to make demands. This is when you make them. Not on Inauguration Day. Not when she’s settled in at the White House with all the new furniture picked out. Election Day, while the world watches. You come out with all of your signs and your sturdiest soapbox and you get in front of every camera and pen you can and you declare that you are casting your vote for Clinton, and that you expect something to come from it. You do not do this alone. You find a way to make this a unified grassroots action. You tap into the Bernie fan pages, you get on Twitter, and you drag this movement kicking and screaming to Election Day. Why? Because then you get to seize; meaning to take, steal, snatch, grab by force; credit for saving America from Trump. Understand that it will not be given to you. You will demand it and you will insist on it until you have no voice left to do so. This is one reason to vote for Clinton.
Bringing out the enthusiastic vote for the Democrats realistically means increasing the number of House and Senate seats that make progressive change possible. The rise of Bernie Sanders has already caused some progressive candidates to gain viability that they never would have had otherwise. In practical terms, presidents do not make laws, the House and the Senate will. It is very much in our mercenary interests to ensure that the most progressive candidates possible are in those chambers. If we can cram or push real progressive legislation through those chambers, then Hillary will not be in a position to veto it and survive a primary challenge. Remember, our job at this stage will not be to take the path of least resistance, that tactic will have ended with Election Day. Our job will be to drag the party we brought to power through the screaming muck to our way of doing business.
This brings us to the next critical part of the strategy: Remember the promises. Make a website and call it “Hillary’s Promises” if you have to. Strike through any item she reneges on during her presidency. Whatever works, whatever is high profile. If that means you interrupt every speech she gives because she changed her mind again on the TPP, you do that. You do that until she’s too sick of it to fight you. You do not cede an inch at this stage. You chant “Primary” from the fucking rafters when she moves right. If she does what you demand, then you, the voters who brought her to power, reward her. Throw money at her. Throw up her speeches on your Facebook page. Give her a taste of what doing the right thing can do for her legacy. Make an example of her that her House and Senate colleagues cannot ignore.
See here’s the other thing. The voters who are happy to vote for her? They’re the ones who will disappear on November 9th like so many rarefied unicorn farts. They will go back to mowing lawns, filing TPS reports, and working on new chutney recipes. You will hold the political floor in ways you only wished you could during the primaries. Why? Because you have something driving you, you’re not asleep in between terms. You’re active and you’re dangerous. You are part of a sustained push to move the party left, and your opponents will be asleep. You will still have to fight big donors and money in politics, but that is always going to be the case, whether or not Hillary wins or loses, so bring your A game.
Up until this point, with a few exceptions I’ve discussed means and methods that are best characterized as working within the system. That is hardly an end to my calls for direct action. Direct action is to become your new eating, breathing, and sleeping. If you cannot do it, then you should encourage and support those who can. What you must understand is that Clinton is a hawk. There is no sugar-coating it, and there is no denying it. This means literal war is the price we will pay for any failure of our eternal vigilance in this regard. She may taunt Iran. She might tickle North Korea. She may attempt to rub Putin’s bald head. All of these and other warning signs will be your official excuse to remind her who put her into office and why. Those reminders will be constant interruptions at speeches. Consistent protests. You will be loud, and so loud that it will appear that no one else in the universe might have an opinion. Your job will then be to fill her ears with the deafening roar of disapproval. And remember, her comparatively lazy advocates will have evaporated. Their victory ended at the ballot box. You will have no real opposition.
Finally, I must present the alternative. This is because there is no real truth in omission. Do I fear Hillary’s penchant for overseas adventure? Sure I do. I’m the one whose neighbor’s house got inadvertently shot at by aircraft carrying out a military exercise. A lot of my family lives in places best characterized as Not America. No one was hurt in the above incident, fortunately, but it was part of military exercises being carried out in anticipation of the disastrous invasion of Iraq. The same one that Clinton voted for. I have no illusions when it comes to her flaws, and I do not believe that her relative affinity with brown and black people in this country is sufficient counterbalance to her relative cruelty when it comes to those same colors outside our borders. That being said, Trump is no improvement. I am deeply concerned not only with what Trump will do, but what he will normalize.
Whatever your criticisms of Bush’s drone warfare and extrajudicial tendencies, these tendencies were continued by a Democrat without pause. A Trump presidency is one that is willing to break international laws that keep us from making the killing of civilians a part of our long-term deliberate strategy. We kill civilians far too often, but it is reckless disregard for human life at play. Trump will bring a murderous streak to our policy that I fear will become the new American Way abroad. Consider also that vile shitstain of a man, David Duke, is now running for office in Louisiana, emboldened by Trump. Garbage people, iridescent with impotent rage, are attacking minorities in the streets while yelling Trump slogans. This will be the fight, the hard work, the tireless effort that you will find yourself engaged in if he wins. There will be no time for persuasion, for politics, or for your discontent at the Democratic machine to hold the floor. You will be flailing with the rest of us, pushing as hard as you can against the disaster. Between his unapologetic racist rhetoric, and his ability to empower the worst possible Supreme Court nominees in the history of this country, you will cry out in crushing despair for justice. And in this emergency, it will be hard to come by.
In the immortal, haunting words of George Orwell, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.” Look around. Do you really see anyone else besides you who is capable or willing to prove that wrong?