Hours of self reflection can’t seem to help me find the answer I’m looking for. I look into the future, and I see myself at my local polling station. Who do I pick?
Do I vote for Trump? A vote for Trump is simply against every single one of my interests and values that I felt were fulfilled when I voted for Bernie. Unification through hate and fear is not leadership, it’s exploitation. Attempting to fuel the fires of right wing populism through similar aspects that fueled Brexit is wrong. It’s driven on false premises of immigration’s impact on our country which is used to thinly cover the highly suggestive racism, xenophobia, and anti-Muslim rhetoric. I want someone who represents the people, not someone who scapegoats problems on minorities when the real solutions are complex. Do I want to send a message to the Democratic Party this election? Of course I do! A vote for Trump is the most extreme way of doing that but, the consequences of what happen are to great to vote out of anger. I realize that many anti-establishment voters have this train of thought. They think we need to send a message to the parties and Washington that we don’t want some political insider who is going to keep the same old playbook. They want someone that represents them, that understands the average American isn’t really being represented in Washington. If the Democrats didn’t listen to us with Bernie maybe they’ll change if we vote for Trump? I understand their frustration even if I don’t agree with this train of thought. I encourage those of you who are thinking about voting for Trump after Bernie to understand what that means. You will be putting a very unpredictable man, one who the world is fearful will be our President, in a powerful position. Ask yourself if the things he might do are worth sending your message to the Democratic Party.
Do I vote for Clinton? The idea sends shivers down my spine. Don’t get me wrong she is certainly the most “qualified” candidate to ever run for president. However, when it comes to putting my trust and belief in a candidate Clinton is not someone that comes to mind. No, it doesn’t have to do with years of right wing messaging like Benghazi. I’ll even be generous and say I don’t care that she wasn’t under sniper fire in Bosnia. How can I believe in a candidate will work for someone like me when they get money from Super Pacs’ and millionaires and gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the people who helped caused our recession and then won’t tell us what she spoke about? How can I truly believe she will be against the TPP or $15 minimum wage when she obliviously jumped on board those ideas to help win the primaries? I don’t even agree fully with $15 minimum wage, but it’s about the principle. The old Obama commercial where he said, “Clinton will say anything to get elected” seems to feel honest. Why would I want to vote for someone who hires the former chair of the DNC? The same chair that lead the DNC to favor her over Clinton in the primary battles and resigned once the information was released. Are we suppose to believe that her platform concessions to Bernie will actually be followed through? Despite this mistrust, her foreign policy is right of center. Her calls for interventions in the middle east, whether that be the Iraq war, or intervention in Libya and Syria, all of it shows she is a very hawkish candidate. Her unflinching support for Israel and non-acknowledgement of the suffering of the Palestinian people is chilling. If I don’t vote for her though am I giving a vote to Trump? Because, whether we want to believe it or not, she is probably the only person who can get enough votes to beat Trump. If I vote for her though, am I giving in to a system that I was fighting so hard to change with my vote for Sanders? I’m I sending a signal to the Democratic Party letting them know that they can continue to be a fake party of the people? As sad as it may have been to watch Sanders endorse Hillary maybe he is right. That party unification is needed right now to battle an “unprecedented” threat to democracy known as Trump. I haven’t been able to convince myself fully that voting for her is the right course of action. However, if my vote was the one that made Trump win by not voting for Clinton I would be devastated. I’ve heard much rhetoric that people don’t believe that there is that big of a difference between Trump and Clinton. This only makes the question if a vote for Clinton would make that much of a difference harder to answer.
Do I vote for Jill Stein? If there wasn’t such a huge chance Trump could win then a vote for Stein wouldn’t be such a hard choice. Her core values, ideas, and platform align super closely with that of Sanders. A vote for Stein would mean that I would be voting for my values and beliefs. I would be sending a message to Democrats that the party needs to change. Realistically, that message would go unheard. If I vote for Stein and the Democrats win without my vote, they aren’t going to change. They have no reason too. If I vote for Stein and the Democrats loss, we then have a Trump Presidency. The Democrats would for sure change after such a loss (I hope to God they would), but I’m stuck with a feeling that I might have been part of the reason he was elected. I believe a vote for a third party is a vote for a third party, or at least I want to. Deep down, I know that a third party like Stein doesn’t have a chance at winning. Duverger’s Law tells us that our type of system is bound to have a two party system and that despite all of the talk of being disappointed with the candidates most people will vote for them anyway. A vote for Stein might be a vote for my beliefs, but would it be more costly then taking the better of two evils?
The choice is ours alone to make. It won’t be an easy one.