A Hillary presidency, we believe, would do very little to address wealth inequality, and the situation in the middle and working classes would continue to deteriorate. Republicans would have another villain to turn their base against — maybe even a better villain than Obama, if such a thing is possible — and a means of escaping accountability yet again. Maybe they’d win the next presidential election, and if not, they’d at least stir up enough hatred and backlash to maintain their ironclad grip on Congress and state-wide offices. When 2020 came, they’d gerrymander the hell out of every district in the country to ensure another decade of legislative dominance. It’s status quo all the way, and the status quo doesn’t work.
But! If Hillary lost because progressives abstained from voting, it’s possible that Republican incompetence would be laid bare, and that they’d run the country into the ground over the next four years. If that’s what it takes to show the people that a leftist political revolution is the only viable way forward, it will have been worth watching Hillary bite the political dust. Come 2020, we could be looking at a landscape where progressive politics can finally gather enough momentum to sweep the country, and usher in a new era of FDR-esque reforms.
We tried that with Bush. Three thousand dead soldiers and a hundred thousand dead Iraqis and everybody and everything that is on fire in the Middle East called, and they’re glad you’re still alive to push this dumbass fucking oldmeme.
I love it when some comfortably situated jerkoff who will not suffer a single thing as a result of a Republican presidency likes to talk about using that Republican presidency to teach the rubes a lesson! Sure, I mean, some women might die from lack of decent health care, and some kids might starve if their food stamps get cut off, and some old people might just have to put on four sweaters and turn the thermostat down again, and a couple of bridges might collapse, and we might send another few goddam thousand kids to die in the sand, but hey, at least progressives will be proved right for once!
Is there a name for this genre of commentary? You know, like when a columnist wishes for poor people to learn from their poverty or imagines a natural disaster to inspire people with lots of awesome death? Or when a politician compares people on unemployment to stray animals who’ll return to the site of their handouts and breed? What do we call this particular rhetorical tic? I feel like it needs a name so we can see its practitioners coming.
Once and for all time, politics is not a game and its consequences are not imaginary for many, many people. Salon columnists may always have a job no matter who is in office, and let’s face it, so will I, but there are people who will not. Who will be fired, turned away from clinics, denied help, denied food, denied their rights under the law, as a result of decisions being made by voters. Real people, who have real lives. They’re not bargaining chits to be used to push a presumably somnolent country to some kind of spiritual epiphany.
And by the way screw you, dudebro, for assuming everybody’s asleep. Plenty of people are working hard to elect Bernie Sanders to fix this country and plenty of people are working hard to elect Hillary Clinton to do the same goddamn thing and nobody but Republican primary voters and Sunday show bloviators think Republicans would be a better choice than either of them. Spare me your Bernie-bro whining about what you think America needs. You haven’t got the slightest idea.
In the end, there is something that feels viciously self-defeating about voting with a defensive mentality. We keep hearing from centrists that the time for progressive change lies somewhere in the rosy distance, and that for now we have to settle for whatever dubious compromise Hillary Clinton represents. But you can only be told to bide your time so often before the message begins to ring hollow, and those visions of a progressive future look increasingly like a mirage designed to keep us complacent.
Those are the terms. Will 2016 be the year when a revolt is justified? For now, I remain undecided.
Well, as long as it’s all about you, pal.
Let the Republicans win so everybody can see how right and righteous you are? Because that’s worth the life of even one woman, one man, one child? Your being proved right? That’s what you’re saying here, and it’s far more repulsive than the prospect of a Republican presidency.