It’s rare that I write in direct response to someone else’s thinking but I have to make an important exception today. It’s this article in which Ben Spielberg claims that voting for Hillary Clinton would do little more than represent “the lesser-of-two-evils mentality.” Spielberg is convinced that if Bernie Sanders loses the Democratic primary, progressives should refuse to vote for Clinton in the general election in an effort “to enact fundamental change to a broken political system”. I disagree with this sentiment profoundly.
My disagreement comes mostly because I so vividly remember the 2000 Presidential election and the horrific aftermath from which we are still recovering. Yes, Vice President Al Gore was a poor campaigner. Yes, he should have let President Bill Clinton campaign for him. Yes, he should have won his home freaking state. Yes, the Supreme Court made a decision that will be to its eternal shame. (Which they knew AS they were making the Gore v. Bush ruling.) All those things are true.
It is ALSO true that lots of people voted for Ralph Nader instead of Gore in for the same reasons being suggested in this piece. In, at least, Florida and New Hampshire, the Nader vote tipped the state to Governor George W. Bush. Gore also had to spend lots of additional campaign resources to win Oregon, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest because Nader ran so strongly there.
To suggest, as Spielberg does, that there so many similarities between Clinton and the GOP that progressives shouldn't pull the lever for her is baffling. How about potential Supreme Court nominations, safeguarding LGBQT rights, crafting a reasonable immigration policy, preserving the existence of Planned Parenthood, responding to income inequality, slowing global warming, refusing to have a President who talks casually about indiscriminate bombing and avoiding the nightmare of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan running Congress unchecked? Don't progressives think those issues matter enough to choose "the lesser of two evils"?
Why, in fact, do so many on the left revile Secretary Clinton so much? Why is it that so many on the left love Bill and tolerate Hill? Is it because we've also bought into the fictional narratives Fox News has created about her? Do progressives believe the rumors and lies about her more than we want to admit? Or have Americans on the left simply accepted the same 'Who do I wanna have a beer with?' concept that many conservatives have?
If you consider yourself a progressive and decide to vote for Jill Stein because that’s the right choice for you, go for it. Of course, that’s your right and privilege. But please, don't let it be because you pretend to think there's not much difference between a world led by Hillary Clinton as opposed to one led by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.
We went down that devastating road in 2000. If we do it again in 2016, shame on us. Shame on us, all.