It seems a large portion of the press has suddenly decided that Donald Trump is a threat to democracy. I’m unsure of where they’ve been, as this has been self-evident to many since he started his run for president.
Trump has long expressed behaviors that have shown he’s more than willing to bend or break the rules to benefit himself. He is beholden to no structures but those that he gives himself, he serves no one but himself. He stokes fear and hatred in his lust and quest for power, self-gain, and self-importance. He has a temperament of Daffy Duck and is much closer than he should be to his hand on the button; a man willing to go to war over insults yelled between passing ships .
The election of this man will continue to embolden millions of Americans that want to see a return to an America where whiteness isn’t challenged, where they can feel superior to everyone else, and where whiteness guarantees a win in your life.
Yes, there are legitimate economic fears in many of his supporters, but like one of history’s worst tyrants, Trump is utilizing fear of the other, blame of the other, to stoke the flames of his support. This is especially easy as the Republican party has been using coded white nationalist politics to keep themselves in power over the last 40 years.
This man does not care if he is caught lying, he will just keep on lying, the living embodiment of not only Internet comment trolls, but also Tweeting through it.
But, voting for Hillary Clinton is also a vote of privilege. It assumes that Clinton will address the issues that face Americans of color, today, as the status-quo candidate. Clinton is running as a continuation of Barack Obama’s White House.
Barack Obama has frustratingly tried to walk a tightrope in the middle of the Movement for Black Lives. He is a president who has overseen coups in South America, whose drone war causes more terror in Pakistan and Africa to civilians than the terror many face from terrorists. He has jailed immigrant families and broke them up. He has deported more immigrants than George W. Bush. And there was no recovery for Black America under his presidency.
The status quo is us dying in the streets. The status quo is discrimination no matter your socioeconomic background as a black American. The status quo is the federal government not stopping the brutality at Standing Rock.
But, voting for Hillary Clinton may be one of privilege as neither candidate will serve the needs of black Americans. She is the strategic vote.
There are some major reasons why.
Gary Johnson would be a disaster for black America, and for Americans in general. If Jill Stein could actually govern she would be the best option (despite her flaws, yes, she has some pretty questionable ones). But more importantly, neither one stands a shot of winning.
Also, the idea of breaking up the two-party system is a faulty line of logic. The way our political system is built, it is designed for two parties. When you study United States political history, for the most part there are two parties. Third parties come and go. They also overtake other political parties, but a constant is that when those political upheavals end, or political realignments end, and new norms are established, we end back up with two political parties. It is the nature of our political system that the default is a two-party system.
So even if we broke up our current two-party system with a third party, a major political realignment will happen, and we’ll be back at two new or very different parties.
This is not a question of voting for who’s best, but it’s a question of power. Right now, if Trump wins, America faces a breaking apart of our political system, but Trump and only Trump would be in a position to benefit from such chaos. When you give chaotic evil a shot at power, without anything powerful enough to match it, that chaotic evil will take hold of power.
The thing is that things can and would become worse under Trump. He will fully empower police to provide a brutal crackdown on Black Lives Matter. Probably akin, if not worse, than what happened in the ’60s and ’70s to our black leaders and movements. He would arrest dissenting voices in the media and maybe civilians, as well, and probably arrest dissenting political opponents.
The criminalization of any black and brown immigrant would become complete and so much of the constitutional protections we are supposed to have (but in reality have much less than we like to think) would be out the window.
“Things can get worse, and under Trump they will get worse. Voting for Clinton is a hard pull, but it’s the strategic one. She is very qualified to govern our status quo and would do a fine job of it. The problem is that the status quo is poor for many Americans, even those that are voting for Trump. But voting for her is necessary to hold the front and not let in a hurricane of chaos that is willing to use totalitarian tactics to govern.”
A vote for Clinton is a vote to hold the front. It’s a vote to not let things get worse and to keep fighting against an opponent that has its limits, whose limits we know and understand. She is very clearly a politician, so she will be impacted by political pressure. Her limits are within a known structure.
The presidency is only one front, and it’s an important one, and one we must hold the line. But it is essential that we do what the Green Party has failed to do, and that’s target local and state-level politics. We must organize at the local and state level to build and take power there.
We must engage through activism, build through civil engagement, and empower through organizing. There is a lot of power in state and local-level politics, and the ability to build more of it.
A different idea than third-party politics, which I’m not dismissing, would be to take a page from the Koch brothers, who attempted to start a third party once upon a time. This would involve infiltrating and push the Democratic party leftward.
There are major demographic shifts that are to be taken advantage of coming up, and some that are already here. It will also energize millennial voters who are the largest population and lean heavy left but vote in lower numbers than other generations. They would be pushing from a local and state level from the inside out and pushing for engagement. Organizing on the local level to push your local governments to the left, from school board, city council, mayor, city attorneys, judges, and more could have a large-scale effect. Trickle-up politics, if you will.
Doing so would also create a pipeline to county and state level politics. Not just getting people in the system, but through organizing, taking over many aspects of the system to dismantle and upend it; to recreate it in our image.
Building and snowflaking out .
You can’t go for the crown without building power. You just can’t. You will lose badly. Playing the long game, holding fronts where you can, and gaining ground where you can, is the strategic move. It is the strategic vote.
The allies didn’t invade Germany right as the United States entered World War II, let alone France once mainland Europe was taken over. They held Britain, helped Russia hold their front, found a front in North Africa they could attack as they built power and strategically weakened their enemy.
Invading right away and opening a second front in Europe too soon would have been a disaster — just as letting Trump have the presidency would be. Trump, a would-be despot, who idolizes dictators , who keeps a copy of Mein Kampf next to his bed, who threatened his political opponent with prison, who admitted to sexual assault, and who is an open bigot stoking hate and fear.
He is not only all that, but he is also an extensional threat to humanity, with his complete global warming denial, so much so that he wants to roll back any alternative energy initiatives turning us back onto coal, gas, and oil. He is so much of a threat, he openly talks about using nuclear weapons.
Things can get worse, and under Trump they will get worse. Voting for Clinton is a hard pull, but it’s the strategic one. She is very qualified to govern our status quo and would do a fine job of it.
The problem is that the status quo is poor for many Americans, even those that are voting for Trump. But voting for her is necessary to hold the front and not let in a hurricane of chaos that is willing to use totalitarian tactics to govern.
Use the energy to work within your own community, within your state, build power, and push for that change, outward and on up. It’s a hard choice, but a strategically necessary one. As any student of history can tell you, things can get worse, especially if we don’t stay vigilant of would-be despots.