There's voting. And then there's the other 364

In a presidential election year constantly labeled the "lesser of two evils" election, Rob Anthony talks us through his thinking on how to decide: Clinton or Trump, Trump or Clinton....

 /By Rob Anthony/ By now most of you may have read tons of articles about how Bernie or Bust folks or any others who are disgusted with our Republican or Democratic nominees for President are going to “vote their conscience” this November, and how doing that would be a waste of a vote.

 Top choices if you “vote your conscience” – Libertarian or Green.

 Gary Johnson seems like a nice man, even if his proposals maybe sound a little left of the typically conservative Libertarian party.  He wants to end the drug war, legalize marijuana and feels the government should stay out of your bedroom (gay marriage laws or anything LGBTQ).

Gary Johnson may just poll high enough to get on the debate stage and steal a few votes away from both Trump and Hillary Clinton, but probably not enough to dramatically change the race, and definitely not enough to win.  He just doesn’t have the name recognition in the race where he’s competing against two of the biggest celebrities in the country in terms of name brand.

 Jill Stein of the Green Party is a nice lady who adopts most of Bernie Sanders’s socialist platform, but like Gary Johnson not a lot of people know who she is.   Unlike Gary Johnson she doesn’t have much political experience.  Her lack of experience or exposure don’t bode well for her making a major impact on the race. 

 So you hate Hillary Clinton, and are very shaky about Donald Trump, or vice versa, and you can’t see yourself holding your nose to vote for either, so you decide to see what else is on the menu.  These other choices don’t elicit hate or disdain on either count, but realistically serve as a vote for Donald Trump if you let Progressives tell the story.

 Progressives say hold your nose and vote for Hillary, because you don’t want Donald Trump’s finger on the button or for him to have the nuclear codes.  Think about Trump University, he’s a con man blah blah blah. 

 Conservatives will say yeah I don’t agree with all the racist and xenophobic rhetoric that spills out of Trump’s mouth, but hey anything is better than the status quo, “Hillary can’t be President,” I mean Benghazi happened on her watch; she had her own email server; we can’t trust her with anything forget about just a button.

 Here’s what I say: If you are Progressive as many of you reading this are, a vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is basically a vote for Donald Trump.  I do feel like it’s a waste, but hey if it makes you feel better then I guess, do what you please.  The choice as Paul Ryan said in his recent town hall is “binary,” it’s Trump or Clinton.   Taking what you believe to be a moral high ground might be selfish so that you can later say, hey I didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton  I voted for “Johnson/Stein”.

 Another take is the one that Marc Lamont Hill had, which is that he would vote for Jill Stein, and that if there were to be a political revolution, it wouldn’t happen under Hillary Clinton.  Progressives and leftists need to feel uncomfortable in order to really be hungry for change.  Hillary Clinton on her own, Hill argues, is not a change agent and wouldn’t be the type of candidate to lead a large scale campaign for change; she is the “Secretary of Status quo” as some call her.  Mr. Hill believes that the country could survive a Trump Presidency, and that his four years would cause a revolution so great that a new and progressive set of candidates would run for office and that would be the wave to make major changes that many are looking for.

 The slight change I would make to that philosophy or line of thinking is this.

 I know that Jill Stein and Gary Johnson don’t have a hill of beans chance to win, and I don’t feel comfortable with  Donald Trump at the helm so I will hold my nose and vote for Hillary Clinton.   But I would warn everyone to not go to sleep at the wheel just because the country didn’t elect Donald Trump.   People on the left need to keep Hillary to the left right where Bernie Sanders’s campaign pushed her.  Voting is only part of your civic duty; you have to be active the other 364 days of the year.   You have to send letters to Hillary, write your congressmen, visit Capitol Hill if you live close by DC like we have the pleasure and convenience of in Maryland.  If Hillary Clinton is not pushing forward progressive ideas and legislation, run a Democrat in 2020 to oppose her.

 When a lot of my fellow African Americans voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and 2012, they were happy to see a black face in office.  But there was no expectation for him, they just assumed because he looked like them that he would have the same agenda they did.  When I pose the question “What has Obama done for black people,” people respond with “well he’s not the president of just black people” or “ well what did you expect.”   This is the issue with black voters being in the tank for the Democratic Party.  They (the Democrats) are seen as better than the alternative, and no expectations are placed on Democratic leaders.  In 2016 and beyond, I implore voters to vote with expectations and to hold all of their elected officials to their campaign promises.   Your voice should be heard on more than just voting day, it should be heard in THE OTHER 364.



Rob Anthony blogs from Maryland. “People can also tweet me at MrRobAnthony or hit me on Instagram at @thepoliticalsouthpaw.”