This election, unlike any other before it, has been driven by social media’s firm grasp on our political process. More specifically, the independent media which is often hyper-partisan, sensationalized and geared toward pandering to what people want to hear rather than what’s always true.
It’s created a “confirmation bias bubble” where people surround themselves with what I call “yes media” (you know, sort of like that person who sucks up to the boss by simply agreeing with everything they want to hear) where they’re fed information they like hearing while blocking out anyone who tells them anything that they don’t.
There’s a reason why the two most talked about candidates on the Internet, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, have been so incredibly successful. If you’re a “rock star” in political social media circles, you’re going to be fairly successful. You won’t always win, but it’s going to greatly boost your chances. Both men have most definitely been the “darlings” of their particular party’s social media world.
That being said, as “the left” (liberals, progressives, Democrats – whatever we want to call ourselves), we really have two choices this November:
- Do everything we can to make sure Democrats keep the White House (and hopefully gain some power in Congress) this November. – or –
- Allow Donald Trump to become our next president.
That’s it – period.
People are free to say or do whatever they want this November, that’s their choice. They can vote for Jill Stein, they can write someone’s name in, they can not vote at all or they can even do a “protest vote” by supporting Donald Trump to “teach the DNC a lesson.”
But I’m telling you right now, there’s no “lesson” that’s “going to be taught” by any of that.
Why? Because we’ve been here before. True revolutions aren’t won by overly emotional individuals who can’t see the forest for the trees. They’re won by people who understand and see the bigger picture. It’s the people who rush into a fight, driven by emotion, who almost always lose.
Why do you think athletes try to get into each other’s heads? Because they know if they can get their opponent to get emotionally invested and lose focus, it’ll distract them – and that gives them an advantage.
So, for all the endless rhetoric that has surrounded the 2016 presidential primaries, it’s all coming down to those two very simple choices.
Most people who follow me know that, from the start, my goal has always been to make sure a Democrat – whether it was Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders – won this November. While I prefer Clinton over Sanders, I would have proudly voted for him if he won the nomination. But I’m not emotionally tied to Clinton. In fact, had Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren run, I would have looked at all the candidates and possibly supported one of them. This is not an emotional election for me.
Well, let me rephrase that: I’m “emotional” when it comes to protecting all the progress that’s taken decades for progressives to achieve.
Aiding in allowing Donald Trump to win this November is sort of like blowing up your house because the renovations you wanted done weren’t being completed fast enough. Sadly, that seems to be exactly what some liberals are fine with letting happen.
Again, we’ve seen what happens when liberals pull this. In 2000, Al Gore wasn’t “liberal enough” for some on the far-left. This drove quite a few to support Ralph Nader, which then ultimately gave us George W. Bush.
Meanwhile, the “not-quite-liberal-enough” Al Gore went on to become a leading advocate for action on climate change. But who cares about having a president who would have spent eight years heavily investing in combating climate change, right? Back in 2000, Gore just wasn’t “exciting enough” to inspire liberals. I’m pretty sure, in hindsight, pretty much every liberal in this country would have crawled over hot coals to elect Gore over Bush.
Well, maybe not.
You see, in 2016, history may repeat itself. Only this time, Trump will make George W. Bush seem like a competent president by the time he’s finished destroying this country.
Republicans ran this country into the ground by 2008. Their incompetent “leadership” drove our nation to the brink of collapse by the time Bush left office. At that time, to be a Republican was toxic. Democrats made huge gains in Congress and Barack Obama was headed toward a massive victory.
The narrative then was that the Republican party was probably doomed for years to come.
Well, that lasted all of two years.
In 2010, Republicans won large victories in Congress, reclaimed the majority in the House and have only continued to increase their control in Congress since then. All while every liberal in this country has recognized that these congressional Republicans have been purposely trying to sabotage any hint of progress for years. Still, that wasn’t apparently enough to motivate them to get out and actually vote. It’s ironic considering how “angry” so many claim to be now, when during the 2014 midterm so many stayed home.
Were income inequality, money in politics, climate change, abortion rights, gay rights, health care and the minimum wage not major issues less than 24 months ago? Last time I checked, President Obama has liberal positions on all of those. Had he been given the proper Congress in 2014, he could have passed sweeping progressive legislation to alter the entire course of this country. But I guess some of these folks who are “very angry” now were fairly content during each of the last few midterms.
Here’s the harsh truth: If Bush’s incompetence wasn’t lasting enough to motivate liberals to show up in large numbers two years later to give President Obama a Congress that would work with him to pass far more progressive legislation than he’s been able to, nothing is going to.
Like it or not, change happens slowly. It always has and it always will. We can get angry, try to “teach lessons” and demand “revolutions” – but, I’m sorry, it’s all bullsh*t. The reality is, we get more done realizing that we’re in it for the long haul than we do pushing for change too quickly, not getting our way, then throwing a hissy fit that does nothing but help our opponent. Ultimately, that only makes achieving our original goals much more difficult and take a whole heck of a lot longer to accomplish.
And don’t even give me this “we need more than two parties” nonsense. Our government isn’t setup for more than two parties. If one party splinters into two, all that happens is the one that doesn’t will dominate damn near everything and control the White House every single election. If we had a parliamentary system of government, it could work – but we don’t.
So, if that’s your argument, you might want to learn more about how our government works.
While Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have several differences, there are many issues on which they completely agree:
- Raising the minimum wage.
- Gay rights.
- Abortion rights.
- Protecting voting rights.
- Making college more affordable.
- Protecting the advancements we’ve made in health care.
- Combating climate change.
- Immigration reform.
- Protecting Social Security and Medicare.
- Overturning Citizens United.
- Not allowing the Supreme Court to be loaded with a super majority of conservative justices.
- Protecting net neutrality.
The list goes on and on. These are two individuals who voted on the same side of the issues as senators 93 percent of the time. So this belief that Clinton and Sanders are vastly different from one another is mostly fiction driven by a social media world that’s thrived on dividing people.
But if Donald Trump wins this November, everything on that list will either be rolled back, placed under attack or outright eliminated.
And if the things I just listed are stripped away from us, especially if the Supreme Court ends up loaded with up to 7 right-wing justices, we may never get any of them back during most of our lifetimes. I know it seems like gay marriage, gays in the military, raising the minimum wage, fighting climate change and providing health care for all Americans are somewhat “new” topics to many of those who are new to politics – but these are issues that took decades to achieve progress on. All of it could be undone within just a few months.
So, those are the choices we have this November. You’re free to choose wisely – or not.
As for me, I’m going to keep busting my ass until election day to make damn sure Republicans don’t win the White House. There’s just too damn much on the line this election to have pride, ego, irrational emotion or pettiness cloud my judgement when the rights for millions of Americans are on the line.
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