Monday, April 13, 2015

Of Course I'm Voting For Hillary!

I campaigned for Obama in '08 and '12, and I soon as I knew that Barack was going to win in 2008, I assumed he was in for 2 terms, and the next logical step after that always been has been: vote for Hillary in 2016. Of course.

I also voted in the 2010 and 2014 mid-terms, and oh, if only all of you who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 had also voted in the mid-terms! The Republicans didn't suddenly get more popular in 2010 and 2014 -- they just vote much more often in mid-terms than Democrats do. That's the way it's been for a long time, but there's no reason at all that it needs to stay that way.

Would I rather see Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders be elected POTUS in 2016? Honestly: yes. Does either one of them stand a chance of being elected? Unfortunately: no. This is the thing about politics: it's about compromise. It's constantly about compromise. Without compromise, nothing ever gets done in politics. A great illustration of this is the movie Lincoln, written by Tony Kushner and directed by Steven Spielberg.

There's a great scene with Daniel Day-Lewis, playing Lincoln, talking with Tommy Lee Jones, playing Representative Thaddeus Stevens, a leader of the Radical Republicans, who were very frustrated with Lincoln for what they saw as much too much compromise on the issue of slavery. Lincoln manages to convince Stevens that the advantage of his, Lincoln's strategy, is that, although it is less direct and confrontational, it will work, and actually end slavery, very soon, while the approach of Stevens and his fellow Radical Republicans will not. Stevens is convinced, and as a result, in a speech before the House of Representatives he says some things which are extremely distasteful to him because they are derogatory to blacks, but by doing so, he helps Lincoln's 13th Amendment, ending slavery, to pass. After his speech, one of Stevens' fellow Radical Republicans approaches him, furious, says that Stevens' speech has made him sick to his stomach, and asks him if there is nothing he won't say in order to compromise with Lincoln. Stevens replies to his colleague. "I'm sorry you're nauseous, Asa. That must be unpleasant. I want the amendment to pass, so that the constitution's first and only mention of slavery is its absolute prohibition. For this amendment, for which I have worked all my life and for which countless colored men and women have fought and died and now hundreds of thousands of soldiers... No, sir, no, it seems there's very nearly nothing I won't say." And the 13th Amendment passes.

It's a very good movie.

If you can't compromise, you can often do more harm to the causes you care about than if you'd done nothing at all. In 1980, the supporters of Ted Kennedy and John Anderson favored political positions much closer to those of Jimmy Carter than to those of Ronald Reagan; but they split the vote on the Left, which ended up helping the candidate they favored least, Reagan, and Reagan was elected President. In 1992, those who voted for Perot were much closer politically to Bush than to Clinton, but they took votes away from Bush, and Clinton won.

In 2000, those voting for Nader were closer politically to Gore than to George W Bush; yet, clearly, they decided the election in favor of W. A common reply from those Nader voters, and from many supporters of Warren or Sanders today, is: "The Gores and Clintons and Bushes are all the same." Well, I'm sorry, but they're not. They may seem all the same to you in that none of them is as close to your political positions as Warren or Sanders. I'll repeat what I said above: Warren and Sanders are closer to my positions too. If I could close my eyes and wish and pick the President personally, Warren or Sanders would come before Hillary Clinton.

But of course, it doesn't work that way. And between Hillary and whomever the GOP will nominate, there is a big, clear difference in affirmative action and LGBT rights and women's rights and green energy and immigrants' rights and mullticulturalism and health insurance for everyone and raising the minimum wage and labor unions and campaign finance reform and net neutrality and a long list of other issues. I'm sure that human rights and help for the poor and the environment and stopping the extreme spiral of extreme wealth into very few hands is more important to you than getting exactly what you want. Compromise, vote for Hillary, and think of all the people you'll be helping that way, people who really need help.

Oh, and one more thing, looking forward: besides not voting only in the Presidential elections, besides turning out for the 2018 and 2022 mid-terms, keep in mind that there are many elections even between the mid-terms, for governors and mayors and city councils and so and so forth, and important ballot initiatives as well, dealing with things like taxes and schools and parks and roads and energy policies. You don't like fracking? (Hey, who does?) Find out where it's being done near you, and when the election is being held in which you can stop it, yes, you. Just one example.

I'm looking forward to a big Democratic turnout in 2016, with Hillary bringing a Democratic Congress into office with her.

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