While I’ve spent almost all of my career covering politics battling Republicans, there’s one group of people I can’t stand even more than my conservative counterparts: Supposed progressives who claim they’re not going to support the Democratic nominee this election if they don’t get their way.
These are the Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders supporters who claim to be “progressives,” but have said that they refuse to support the nominee if the person they currently support doesn’t ultimately win.
In my opinion, these people are just as bad, if not worse, than Republicans. In fact, I refer to this group of people as “absentee Republicans.” Because when you don’t vote for Democrats, especially for president, you might as well be voting for the Republican candidate. You are giving the GOP exactly what it wants.
There is entirely too much on the line this election for some voters to act like spoiled children who didn’t get their way. You want to change the Democratic party for the better? Great – we all do! But what we have to do before anything else is save this country from Republicans. It doesn’t do us any good to try to “improve the ideological nature of our party” when we’re allowing Republicans in every corner of this country to corrupt our voting process, attempt to rig our elections, gerrymander districts and make it nearly impossible for Democrats to win power in our government.
In 2000, many “progressives” cast “symbolic votes” for Ralph Nader because they didn’t care for Al Gore – which handed George W. Bush the White House. Now seven years after his disastrous two-term presidency finally ended, we’re still trying to clean up his mess. And what did all those “symbolic votes” accomplish? Not a damn thing. All they did was allow Bush to take us into two wars, nearly double our national debt and wreck our economy. But I’m sure all those people who “voted symbolically” based upon their own selfish feelings above anything else felt really good about themselves that election. They sure “showed” all of us, didn’t they?
Would Al Gore have been a great president? Who knows. But I do know this much, he would have been a hell of a lot better than Bush.
And ultimately, that’s what these “purist” and “symbolical” voters are – selfish. All they care about is what they find important. They don’t care about others… they care about themselves. Sure, they claim to care about others. But their entire decision to help Republicans win is based solely on their own selfishness, ego and pride.
I’ve said this before, voting Democrat doesn’t benefit me personally nearly as much as it does many others. I’m a straight, white Christian male. My rights really aren’t on the line this election. But I fight practically every day to make damn sure Republicans don’t take back the White House.
I’ve spent years actively fighting for women, homosexuals, atheists, Muslims, health care for the poor, minorities, immigrants and practically everyone whose lives would be negatively impacted under GOP leadership. It would crush my soul to see all of that progress undone thanks to one election.
But those claiming that they might not support the Democratic candidate this November – they’re only thinking of themselves. What they want – what they believe.
So this is what I say to these people. If you don’t plan to “vote blue, no matter who” this November because your candidate didn’t win and you didn’t get your way, before you cast your “symbolic vote,” I would encourage you to:
- Find a Mexican family (or any immigrant family for that matter) that has lived here for years and has been praying for immigration reform to get passed so they can become American citizens. Tell them that it doesn’t really bother you that they’ll likely be deported if a Republican becomes president.
- Find someone who’s living in poverty, who obtained health care thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Tell them you don’t care that a Republican president will take their health care away from them.
- Find a Muslim and tell them you’re okay with a Republican president spending the next four to eight years vilifying their religion, potentially setting up registries where they would be tracked like criminals.
- Tell every woman you meet that you’re okay with a Republican president potentially appointing 3-4 Supreme Court Justices who will almost certainly deem abortions illegal, thus taking away her right to have control over her own body and putting millions of women’s lives at risk as they seek out desperate measures to end unwanted pregnancies.
- Find a homosexual couple and let them know that you’re not concerned with a Republican president potentially appointing 3-4 Supreme Court Justices that will almost certainly deem bans on same-sex marriage legal and strip away gay rights any chance they get.
- Find non-Christians and atheists and let them know that it doesn’t bother you that a Republican president will undoubtedly try to force Christianity on Americans, thus violating their First Amendment rights. Rights that will also be under attack if that same president stacks the Supreme Court with 3-4 ultra conservative Justices.
- Find someone with a pre-existing condition. Tell them that you don’t have a problem going back to the “old system” of health care where individuals born with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage and discriminated against by the health insurance industry, because a Republican president will damn sure repeal the Affordable Care Act.
- Find climate scientists and everyone you can who cares about combating climate change. Tell them that it doesn’t really bother you that a Republican president would undo all the progress we’ve made to try to save our planet.
Please do all of that before you vote. Because when you don’t support either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, everything I just listed is exactly what you’re saying.
I don’t care what you think about either candidate personally, because both have flaws. But I damn sure know this much, both Clinton and Sanders will:
- Protect women’s rights.
- Stand for gay rights.
- Push for more policies to combat climate change.
- Support immigration reform.
- Protect our current health care law and try to make it better.
- Support real religious freedom – which also means freedom from religion.
- Fight for a higher minimum wage.
These are things no Republican candidate would do if elected. And with everything that’s on the line this election, our number one goal needs to be keeping the White House this November. Then after we secure the presidency, hold either Clinton’s or Sanders’ feet to the fire to make sure they keep most of their campaign promises.
This election isn’t about ushering in new ideas as much as it is about protecting the progress we’ve already made and building upon it going forward. Often, “winning a war” is about knowing how to pick your battles. This election, the battle we need to fight is for the defense of the White House. This election is as much about pushing new ideas as it is about keeping Republicans from destroying our old ones.
Pride, arrogance and selfishness by too many handed George W. Bush the White House in 2000. Now, 16 years later, we’re facing a similar situation. And if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.
Only this time, a President Trump, President Cruz or President Rubio will be an even bigger disaster than George W. Bush.
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