Many of the millenials I know were fervent Bernie Sanders supporters. I get where they were coming from. Bernie made a lot of good points and had a lot of good things to say, but he didn’t become the nominee. One can argue that the system was rigged against him and to some degree it was but he knew that going in. He was always a long shot although at times it felt closer than it really was.
Now, with six weeks to the general election, many of those same millenials are still trying to figure out what to do. Vote for Gary Johnson? Not vote at all? Many of you harbor quite a dislike for Clinton. I’m not going to argue whether you should like her. You’ve got your reasons and I respect them even if I disagree with many of them.
I’m happy to try to convince you why I think Clinton would actually be a good president. She’s smart. She’s experienced. She has done a great deal of good work over the years. But, she’s also saddled with a perception problem. With decades of political life behind her she’s been in some ethically gray areas at times. Truthfully, any politician you see with that much experience will have the same issues. However, in my life, I’ve never seen a person who has been so systematicallly smeared by her political opponents as she has been. President Obama comes close but it’s been going on far longer for Clinton. These smears have been going on for so long that many people assume they are true. After all, people have been saying these things since before some of you were even born. However, for the sake of discussion, let’s ignore all that and assume there’s at least some truth to them. How should that influence the vote in November?
Let’s run through the options. The most appealing candidate to many Bernie supporters might appear to be Gary Johnson, but in fact he’s very much opposed to most of Bernie’s policies. Social safety net? Not so much from the libertarian. And let’s not forget that he’s less informed on foreign policy issues than the average 6 o’clock news viewer.
Jill whatshername from the Green Party? Her campaign strategy seems to be to get arrested to get any kind of news coverage. If I can’t remember her name then nobody else can.
And then there’s the orange candidate. Trump seems to think that disaffected Bernie supporters will flock to him. But Bernie supporters have far more sense that that. The only thing that Trump and Bernie have in common is that both have tapped into latent (and sometimes not so latent) anger in their supporters. But, they are angry about different things.
So that leaves Clinton or not voting as the only other options.
The only practical option is to vote for Clinton. Welcome to American politics (probably all politics) where there usually isn’t a candidate that feels like someone you can really support. However, you need to.
Let’s be clear: not voting or voting for a third party candidate only helps Trump. It might let you feel morally superior but that feeling will go away quickly when Trump manages to create even more chaos in the world. Where Clinton might be morally gray he is morally corrupt. All politicians lie to a degree but he lies more than any other in Amnerican history. Clinton is actually relatively truthful for a politician according to Politifact. Clinton’s foundation does real humanitarian work but Trump’s pays his legal bills and buy portraits of Trump. Where Clinton has policies Trump has slogans. She is substance. He is vaporware and hyperbole.
So, if you are a millennial and don’t want to vote for Clinton, do it anyway. But, then stay involved. Change the system. Build a viable third party (and fourth and fifth). It will take years of work but this country needs political options beyond what we ave because our current two party system has become so polarized that there is no room for sanity. Trump’s very existence is an example of that. In any sane system a politician who is overtly racist and misogynistic and morally bankrupt would never rise to be a major party’s candidate. Clearly the system needs change. But, just as clearly, the time for that change is after the election. For this one, hold your nose if you have to, but vote for Clinton. Then change the world.