Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It's Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein. Period. *Update*

Describes me to a T.

According to CBS News, an alarming percentage of Democrats either won't vote for Hillary Clinton or would only support her nomination to prevent a Republican from winning.

The poll cited there is a month old, which means it was taken before the first Dem debate, and while Joe Biden was still considered a quasi-candidate.  So it's a little salty.

When under half of Democrats would "enthusiastically support" Clinton and 27% would only do so "because she is the nominee," even Democrats planning to vote for the former Secretary of State hold reservations.

Then there are 14% who will not support her in a general election; this figure could easily increase. Also, not only will a sizable percentage of Democrats refuse to vote for Clinton, but 57% of Americans find Clinton "not honest and trustworthy."

In addition, Clinton's negative favorability ratings in 9 out of 10 national polls make her unelectable as a candidate in a general election.

I'm not Ted, who graphs and posts a different poll every single day to reinforce his support of Clinton.  I don't trust the polls generally -- neither should you -- and I certainly don't trust early 'horse race' polling.  It feeds into an inevitability meme, and we saw how Bob Stein of UH essentially spun the momentum that helped Bill King into the Houston mayoral runoff.

That said, and for the sake of being a contrarian to H.A. Goodman's and my own POV, fresher polling indicates Clinton strengthened her favorability ratings following the first debate.  Goodman's (the author of the HuffPo piece linked) general premise is essentially the same as mine; irrespective of what the polling suggests, I will not be supporting the candidacy of Hillary Clinton in any way, shape, or form in 2016.  If Bernie Sanders isn't the Democratic nominee -- and I laid out the two main reasons why he won't be last summer -- then I'll vote for Jill Stein for president.  Goodman gives ten reasons why he'll only support Sanders and never Clinton; here's a few.

4. One candidate is the Charles Darwin of politics. The other is Bernie Sanders. Clinton always evolves; usually following Bernie's lead on issues. I wouldn't sign a contract with an "evolving" clause, nor would I want a president who continually evolves based upon reasons unknown to the average voter.

5. Presidential powers. On war and foreign policy, I want a Democrat, not a Republican. I explain this viewpoint in a recent article. Sanders is the Democrat on foreign policy, while Clinton is another Republican in 2016.

6. The TPP. Sanders has always been against the TPP. Clinton supported it 45 times, but now says she's against it. As POLITIFACT states, "It's up to voters to decide how they feel about her changed stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but we rate Clinton's reversal as a Full Flop."


8. I want a Democrat in the White House. I don't want a moderate Republican on Wall Street, or a neocon pertaining to war.
9. The DNC needs to end its fear of being too progressive. I'll only vote for Sanders because progressive politics are mainstream. This isn't 1972 and Nixon is no longer with us, unless you equate Clinton to Richard Nixon.
10. Bernie Sanders is a "once in a lifetime candidate." Clinton represents establishment politics. If you're not voting for Sanders in 2016, don't ever again complain about Wall Street, perpetual wars, or money in politics.

Americans need a choice in our democracy. 43% of American voters are independent, so allegiance towards political party is quickly becoming a thing of the past. I want an honest progressive, not a Republican...  [...]  Bernie Sanders will win the presidency in 2016 because there are millions of people like me, and I'll no longer be intimidated by the phrase, "You can't let a Republican win!" 

Goodman, with many of the best rationales detailed, overlooks voting for Stein as a protest vote when Sanders is shoved out of contention; IMHO a glaring lack of a 'what if' option and a critical error.  The threat of voting for someone other than no one in 2016 is the only threat the Democratic Party will take seriously.  If Sanders supporters who can't be sheepdogged in behind Clinton go back to sleep, then yes, the 2016 election is over already.

Movements in this century will be built not only when authority figures take protests seriously, but when the threat involves direct action.  That what "Sanders or Stein" is all about: a direct threat to the two-party system.  It needs to happen in order to shake up the system.  That's what Bernie Sanders represents to me, and that's why I sent him another contribution last week.

But I also contributed to Plan B, in the same amount, at the same time.  Because those two options work best for me, and because eventually we're only going to have one of them.  YMMV.

Update: Here's the kind of ad hominem that's being generated in response.  I actually agree with Allen Clifton that H. A. Goodman is a rather bad writer and perhaps even worse at online research, as noted at the very top of this post.  But Clinton supporters just aren't going to be able to insult their way to helping her win the White House.  They should focus on convincing the irregular D voter, independents, and the mass of unregistered to start doing their civic duty rather than drive away those of us who are more likely to help them down the ballot.

Democrats are only capable of winning state and county elections in presidential years; they typically lose them the rest of the time because their base has ebbed away for a variety of reasons, mostly presumptive.  The remaining core of conservative Dems who are trying to drag Hillary across the finish line would do better with their efforts spent elsewhere, politically speaking.  Like Al Gore in 2000, she will win or lose based on her own merits or demerits.

I still believe she can thrash any Republican she's matched against, but only if she inspires people of color and women and young people in the way that Obama did in 2008.  There's both positive and negative evidence to that strategy as we take stock today, so her campaign has lots of work to do.  It would help if they stopped trying to persuade us she's progressive or even liberal.

That's a dead horse for all but the least of critically thinking voters.


Gadfly said...

Spot on and resharing.

David Collins said...

I noticed too, in reading Goodman's piece yesterday, that he proposed no alternative in the event that his man Sanders does not receive the nomination. That in itself is worse than sheepdogging, in that it just makes him look whiny. To compound that, he completely ignores Sanders's voting record on Israel/Palestine in the Senate and House, because he's too busy heaping scorn on H. Clinton.

However, taking such a principled or truculent stand in the swing state of Ohio at least shows some courage (or at least chutzpeh).

Gadfly said...

Amen, David. And, I just got done with a "wasted votes" exchange with David Linker at Time/The Week.

I don't know if you've read David Lazare's "The Frozen Republic." I highly recommend it.