Okay let’s cut right to it: this isn’t another article that tries to convince you that Jill Stein or Gary Johnson has a realistic shot at winning the highest political office on the planet through the democratic process of the general election. This is an article about why you should vote for them anyway.
People are being told by every major corporate media outlet in America that any vote for a third-party candidate is wasted at best and helping the opposition at worst. A recent viral article features the actual, honest-to-God headline, “Repeat After Me: A Vote For Jill Stein Is A Vote For Donald Trump.”
“Repeat after me.” Remember when mindlessly regurgitating manufactured party lines was something we made fun of Republicans for? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Anyway, as per the titular promise, here are four reasons why these people are wrong, and why voting third party can be the best thing you can possibly do for the world.
1. If Jill Stein voters cost Hillary Clinton the election, it will force the Democratic party to support a progressive candidate in 2020.
Think about this seriously for a minute, please. Despite the apocalyptic claims of the pundits, four years is not a lot of time for Trump to do damage, and if progressive voters can add a few more liberal seats to the House and Senate this election, he’ll be effectively neutered. For eight years, progressives have been told that President Obama hasn’t been able to fulfill the progressive promises he campaigned on because “that’s not how it works,” but now these same people are asking us to buy into the notion that Trump will be powerful enough to ruin the country in four? Sell. We’ve survived Republican presidents before, and we can do it again. The world’s still turning, civil rights are still a thing, and all the worst decisions of our last Republican president were actively supported by our current Democratic nominee.
The elites of the Democratic party feel entitled to your vote, and they don’t feel they should have to win you over to get it. They’re like an abusive ex demanding you come back and do their laundry. If enough progressives send a clear message this year that we’re not that cheap, we’ll force the Democratic establishment to get behind a solid Berniecrat next election, who will easily and without question defeat the orange fellow.
We don't live in a "two-party system." We live in a system dominated by two parties that set up rules to prevent other voices.— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) April 29, 2016
If Clinton wins, she’ll beat the next cartoon character the GOP trots out in 2020, and then after eight years she’ll hand the crown to the next neoliberal stooge in line just like Obama’s doing now. Which takes us to our next point.
2. Stopping Hillary Clinton with a Green party vote will prevent an overall movement to the right for U.S. politics in the long term.
This second point relates closely to the first, but it’s very important. If progressives rally around the Democratic party despite the DNC’s unlawfully biased (and possibly outright rigged) primaries, despite Clinton’s selection of a Wall Street crony for a running mate, despite the fact that it’s already showing signs of backing off from the few progressive concessions it’s made to the Berners, despite emphatically rallying behind an unapologetic war hawk and crony capitalist and then aggressively trying to bully, guilt, cajole, and gaslight progressives into pretending she’s their gal, if we stay loyal to the Democratic party despite all that, we’re giving them no incentive to change.
And if we give them no incentive to change, we may be sure that they won’t. There’s too much donor money to reap, too many favors available for calling in, too much power and leverage being afforded to them in exchange for maintaining their bank-friendly, military industry-friendly, corporatist positions and manipulating their interior elections however they like to keep those cushy perks going; they won’t start prioritizing a progressive agenda until they get worried they’ll be losing their jobs if they don’t. They’ll just keep making things more and more comfortable for the billionaires pulling the strings in this country, which means more and more tax breaks, trade deals, corporate welfare, and catering to the military industrial complex. And when the Democrats move to the right in this way, the Republicans lose the only thing stopping them from moving even further to the right.
If progressives send a clear, unequivocal message to the top of the Democratic party that they insist on being won over and that their votes can’t be taken for granted, it will be heard quite loudly and will echo right down the legislative branch and into local governments. If they’re going to keep trying to force this into being a two-party system, we demand that one of those parties avoid needless wars, avert environmental catastrophe, and help the people who need helping. It’s not too much to ask for.
3. By the same token, if Gary Johnson voters cost Trump/Pence the election, it will force the Republican party into sanity.
On the flip side of all this, the GOP is a chaotic mess, and as a result a walking Onion article has been able to nab center stage in the party. From a progressive point of view, Johnson is a far cry from an ideal candidate, but on paper he’s also the opposite of everything that makes Trump terrifying. He’s about as far away from a fascist dictator as you can get; he wants to slash America’s military spending and adopt a non-interventionist foreign policy, he opposes the failed and immoral war on drugs, opposes the torture of terrorism suspects, and is fairly solid on individual civil rights. Picture a Republican without the really crazy stuff. That’s Johnson.
If he takes enough votes from Trump, the Republicans will be forced to start catering more toward the libertarians and the increasingly war-weary conservatives of America. The neocons will lose influence over the party, and we may even someday be spared from bizarre spectacles like watching a narcissistic playboy court the Christian vote by pretending he reads the Bible. If America’s libertarians insisted on being courted by the GOP the way fundamentalist Christians do, they could influence American policy far more than they do right now.
The near lack of Republican resistance to military interventionism has given the Obama administration free license to bomb twice as many countries as George W. Bush did in his two terms, dropping 23,144 bombs on Muslim-majority countries last year alone. If we had more Ron and Rand Pauls gumming up the works of American military aggression within the Republican party, there’d be that much less momentum marching us toward war all the time.
To my fiscally-conservative friends who’ve read this far: I’m not going to list all the ways in which Trump is an unacceptable candidate. You already know you deserve better.
"Don't waste your vote! Vote for a third party" sign at the DNC protests pic.twitter.com/KN4Go5zorc— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) July 27, 2016
4. Restoring democracy.
I cannot for the life of me understand why more people aren’t pyromaniacally outraged about the blatant, charter-violating bias that was exposed in the DNC leaks regarding the Democratic primaries. If the DNC are going to tell us that it’s their party and they can rig it however they want, then they don’t get to simultaneously tell us that it’s a two-party system and we need to vote for their anointed queen. They can’t have it both ways. That’s not democracy. In order for democracy to be taking place, we either need a system that gives third parties equal camera time, or we need to be able to legitimately democratically elect both candidates of the two-party system.
We need to demand this. If we let the Democrats get away with this blatant assault on democracy, all they have to do every election is make sure everyone’s sufficiently scared of the Republican candidate to coerce progressives into supporting whatever corporatist shill they choose to install as their candidate. If it works this time, they’ll keep doing it. There’s no reason for them not to, and there’s no reason for them not to do it in every branch and office of government that suits them.
This ends here. This has been the hottest half-year on record, with record-low Arctic ice month after month, and the two candidates they’re telling us we need to vote for are advocating doing nothing and doing essentially nothing on climate change, respectively. Meanwhile the Republican candidate is talking about executing the families of international terrorists while the Democratic candidate is already picking a fight with Russia. And they’ve done everything they can to stop us from voting our way out of it.
Including relentlessly brainwashing us with the idea that we can’t vote our way out of it.
We can. Of course, we can, or else there is truly no democracy and we are merely slaves doing their bidding. We must at least try to vote our way out of it.
No matter how you look at it, a vote for either of them is a vote for the end of the species. We stop this now.
Vote third party, force the Democrats to lose and move to the left or die, restore sanity to the Republicans and immediately show our democratic might at the polling booths with a thunderous, relentless stream of “No, we will not lay down and take it” votes, vote after vote after vote. We will not lay down and die. They are few; we are many. We take our planet back. We will not sacrifice our planet to save some oil baron’s bottom line. We will not go to war to make a banker richer. These people need to be stopped. Now.
They think they’re so clever. They think they’ve got it all locked up. And if we vote in Clinton, they do, they have it locked up for the next sixteen years at least. With Trump at least it’s only four years of stagnation in congress while we clean house in the Democrats and get a real people’s candidate up for election.
There is only one way to restore democracy to the people, and that is to take it back immediately and unequivocally at the first opportunity. That opportunity comes this November.
[Image by AP Photo/Alex Brandon]