By Emily Boyer
After the Democratic National Convention, Bernie Sanders supporters were howling for blood.
I was as angry as any of them. I despised Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. How could I not? They had mistreated Sanders supporters from the start, and now they expected us to fall in line like good little Democrats. The thought of voting for Clinton disgusted me. I began to consider other options.
I dismissed Donald Trump immediately. While the thought of the Democrats’ panic at President Trump filled me with spiteful glee, that was the only part of the picture I liked. Trump has none of the qualities or positions that made Bernie Sanders so appealing to me. In truth, he scares the hell out of me. Trump in the White House would hurt the whole country. Voting for him just to spite the Democratic Party would be like sinking a ship just to kill the captain.
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, was another easy dismissal. He seems appealing from a distance, but look a little closer and you’ll see he differs from Sanders everywhere it counts.
Though he agrees with Sanders on a handful of social issues—marijuana, same-sex marriage, abortion—this stems from a belief that government should have as little involvement in people’s lives as possible. That might sound nice until you realize he opposes universal health care, income tax, and regulations to protect the environment. He’s also massively unqualified; he had to ask what Aleppo was and says climate change isn’t a problem because the sun will explode one day. Libertarianism is a disaster of an ideology, and Gary Johnson is a disaster of a candidate.
Jill Stein was the most tempting. Stein and the Green Party align with Sanders on every major position, both social and economic. I also think our electoral system needs reform so as not to be dominated by two widely hated parties. While Stein cannot win the election, she doesn’t have to for change to happen—any third party candidate who gets at least 5% of the vote in the general election becomes eligible for public campaign funding. That seems a worthy goal.
However, like Johnson, the closer you look, the more flawed Stein becomes. Her only elected experience is as a member of the Lexington Town Meeting in Lexington, MA. She has chosen conspiracy theorists as running mates and wants to open a new investigation of 9/11. According to her website, she wants to “put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe.” She claims WiFi is dangerous to children’s brains. I don’t tolerate pseudoscience in a candidate, be it climate change denial or “environmentalist” fear-mongering. Jill Stein isn’t worth a protest vote.
Eliminating the rest left me right where I started: with Hillary Clinton. Even when Bernie Sanders himself begged his supporters to vote for her, I didn’t want to consider her. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized she was the only choice. Though they differ on key points—military interventionism, drugs, and universal healthcare, to name a few—they agree on more. Both support marriage equality, immigration reform, expanding the Affordable Care Act, environmental protection, Planned Parenthood… the list goes on. And while I have difficulty believing Clinton can truly be trusted to stick to those positions, she’s still a damn sight better than Trump.
That’s ultimately what this election boils down to. Due to our terrible voting system, a vote for anyone but Clinton is a vote for Trump.
Hillary Clinton is a corrupt warhawk. I’m not telling you not to hate her. I still do, and in a normal election I’d never vote for her.
But Donald Trump is something much worse than merely corrupt. He’s the fall of the Roman Empire. Hillary Clinton is the only person qualified for and capable of defeating him.
Sanders supporters, don’t forget why you’re angry. To quote the man himself: “Never lose your sense of outrage.” But your choice now is between an unsatisfactory candidate and a monster. Don’t fuck it up.