For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about how best to approach the very thorny subject of Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein voters in Hawaii. Though there’s no real polling done out here to gauge her support in this, one of the most liberal states in the union, this Reason blog post from September put her numbers at around seven percent here.
Anyway, I couldn’t think of what to write, and then I realized that former MauiTime reporter/current Creative Loafing Tampa Bay News & Politics Editor Kate Bradshaw just did my work for me. On Nov. 3, CL Tampa published her “Dear Jill Stein Voter” essay as part of their voting guide, and it’s fantastic. In it, she talks directly to liberals who’d rather vote for Stein than Hillary Clinton:
You said you’d be voting for Jill Stein, tipping-the-scales-for-Trump be damned.
“We survived Bush, didn’t we?” you said.
Well, technically, yeah.
But I can’t say that I don’t often wonder how different it all would have been had Al Gore been in the Oval Office; whether fewer of our siblings and friends would have been subjected to physical and emotional trauma (death, in many cases) while shipped overseas to fight an unjustified war (as war often is). Sure, Clinton is hawkish and she voted to authorize that war as a U.S. Senator. That is an extremely fair point—and an ugly blemish for her. But it would not have come to that if, in 2000, hordes of people like me in swing states (like this one) hadn’t thought of the greater good instead of vanity-voting.
Given the volatility of the presidential race, the possibility that Clinton could win the popular vote but lose the more important Electoral College and the fact that the Republican Party has degenerated into a feral, racist, mysogynist, authoritarian threat to our nation, votes for Stein in any state are a luxury we simply can’t afford. Again, here’s Bradshaw:
To shrug this off as if the stakes weren’t incredibly high, and cast your ballot for the person with whom you agree 99 percent who has zero chances instead of the person with whom you agree 89 percent who has a 50-50 chance is, frankly, vanity voting. And it’s selfish.
It’s better to focus on local issues, like getting plastic bags banned in your city or fighting fracking in your state.
Clinton may not be everything you dreamed of, but That’s. Fucking. Life.
Look, Donald Trump is a fascist, and this isn’t your typical election. The Republican Party, blinded by their quest to regain the White House, has embraced his fascism. That millions of American voters–mostly white males without college degrees–are backing Trump is an existential threat to American democracy. A vote for Stein in no way combats this. In fact, a vote for Stein aids this.
“Trump supporters have been threatening to turn me into a lampshade for 6 months,” New York Observer writer Dana Schwartz tweeted last night. “Take your protest vote and shove it up your ass.”
Here’s the link to Bradshaw’s essay: Cltampa.com/news-views/politics/article/20839936/voting-guide-2016-dear-jill-stein-voter
Photo of Jill Stein: Matt Johnson/Flickr