Edge of Chaos is a political podcast starring Joe Ryan and Neurotoxin. Its aim is to have a free-flowing discussion of news and current events that also examines the empirical outcomes of public policy, avoiding biases based on ideology and policy intentions. Listener discretion is both advised and encouraged.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why I Might Vote for Hillary in November

With the results of Super Tuesday now fully in the record books, and the two main front runners of each party’s primary now firmly in the driver’s seat, both party establishments are now reckoning with what seems like a foregone conclusion: it will most likely be Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton in November. This has caused much gnashing of teeth and a predictably irrational, apoplectic reaction as the Republican establishment pictures just what a Trump candidacy might mean to their rapidly fracturing party going forward and while that is an entertaining storyline, I want to focus on the Democratic party, and what Bernie’s now seemingly inevitable defeat will mean to the movement he’s led so far (and continues to lead at the moment).

Make no mistake, the candidacy of Senator Bernard Sanders has definitely exposed some deep fissures amongst those who call themselves Democrats. It has opened up and exposed a divide between Democrats under 40 and those over 40. It has opened up an even wider gulf between those supportive of the “corporate Democrat,” those in the mold of Obama, Hillary and old Bill himself, and those who have tired of the lip service paid to Progressive issues while embracing the corporate establishment, pushing them more towards people like Bernie or Elizabeth Warren. I count myself in the latter group, and I found it refreshing that Bernie could so effectively be our Ron Paul: the old guy who’s been around a while but managed to not be co-opted by a corporate special interests, the truth teller who didn’t mind getting booed at a debate so long as he was making a point he felt was right, and the populist who bucked against the system as-is, with the incremental changes that seem to be an inexorable part of American government. Simply put, people like us were tired of all talk and little action, while the middle class vanished and the rich continued going to the bank. Bernie gave us hope, but now he has seemingly fallen short, just as Ron Paul did before him.

So where does that leave us, the disaffected masses? Exit polling has already made clear the reason Hillary is winning: she’s captured the support of minorities, she’s captured the support of older people who show up to the polls in large numbers, and she’s captured the support of women. But mostly, she has not seen the sorts of large turnout numbers that Bernie has said all along were needed to upend the race and give him the nomination. For all the folks that show up to his rallies, they’re not showing up to the polls in equally large numbers. Bernie said it all along: turnout matters. So if you did turn out, and voted, but are now disappointed that your horse didn’t win because more supporters like you didn’t do the same, what are you to do? Stay home in November? No. You do what I’m planning to do in the event that Bernie cannot somehow win: you suck it up and vote against Donald Trump anyway.

Now: let me set the record straight for the uninitiated. Listen to my podcasts going back 18 months or so. I am no fan of Hillary as a candidate. She’s slimy as hell, she’s part of the same corporate oligarch class that was long ago bought and sold to the highest bidder, and I have no doubts that, if elected, she would, much like Obama before her, bow to her corporate masters in some way or another. But is my distaste for her enough for me to stand on the sidelines while a disaffected and uneducated horde of first-time voters propels a reality star “billionaire” charlatan into office? No. And if you give a shit about the future of this country, you won’t either.

Obviously this proposition I’m making is the nose holds of all nose holds. But sit back for a moment and imagine the sorts of special interests that will have the ear of King Trump. Do you honestly think he’s not for sale as he claims? Isn’t this the same guy who has hawked everything on television from steaks, to Vodka, to cheap Mexican-made suits, to so-called “universities,” to mortgage companies (extra points: he opened the mortgage company in 2006, just in time for the housing market to implode)? Isn’t this the “builder” that has, multiple times, been sued for attaching his name (licensed for a tidy fee by the actual builder) to buildings that were later never built, most notably in Mexico and Tampa? Do you honestly think he wouldn’t do something like continue the Koch brother funded war against solar power in Nevada and Florida, continue to allow the coal industry and the fossil fuel industry pretend we can still burn everything in site without consequence? Do you honestly think Trump desires to lessen the overall influence of corporate power over government in this country? Do you honestly think he will appoint as many as 3 reasonable, sound jurists to fill present and future vacancies on the Supreme Court? The list of questions goes on and on. I’m no fan of Hillary specifically. But if Trump is the alternative, doesn’t the choice become clear?

Hillary is part of the slimy Clinton political machine. Why was there such a dearth of other Democratic candidates? Why were there so few debates, and why were they put on Saturday nights when no one was watching? Why does every tie along the way in this primary process always seem to go to Hillary? It is quite obvious to those with clear vision that the Democratic Party establishment and the powers that be have been in the tank for Hillary since the beginning of this process, and that she will bring every dirty trick to bear to win. It’s also clear she has a trustworthiness problem amongst the electorate, underscored by the ongoing and damaging email scandal that even this week produced a key witness that now has immunity to speak at length about what went on. Where this goes is anyone’s guess. It may go nowhere.

But assuming we get in November what it seems like we will get today, it means a choice between Trump (or whoever ends up being brokered in) and Hillary. The sooner we address this reality the better we will be able to deal with it when it comes time to. This election is lost already, if the aim was to get someone different, someone not in the mold of corrupt and incestuous politics-as-usual who was also not ragingly unreasonable or insane. That ship has sailed. So in the light of day, do you trust Cruz, or Rubio, or Trump with 3 Supreme Court appointments? With addressing the ever-obvious danger of global climate change? With not starting World War 3 in what has become a perilous foreign political landscape? I cannot say I trust Hillary 100% with these issues, but I trust any of the Republican candidates 0%. So my choice, given the options, is clear.

So, Hillary supporters, you get what you wanted. In the end I will, indeed, shut the hell up (not completely, who am I kidding?) and vote for Hillary. I will not do it quietly, and I will not for one second let up on my criticisms of her along the way, up to and after the day that she is elected into office, assuming that she is. And I will work to change the electoral landscape along with other disaffected Bernie voters to ensure we are never, ever presented with such poor and horrible choices again. It is the least we can do to prevent World War 3 abroad, and Mad Max at home.

But I will still hold my nose the whole time I’m in the voting booth this November. It is my right as an American.


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