Assuming Game

I’ve done my best to put some distance between myself and the current Presidential election here in the US. Having been fully invested in the 2004 and 2008 campaigns, I saw what it did to my usual easy-going humor and turned me into a nasty little troll on the internets. It affected the way I interacted with people and overall affected my mood in general. It really wasn’t a pleasant feeling and was not the person I wanted to be. Since then I’ve lived with the concept that it’s all well and good to be informed, and I highly encourage doing so, but live and let live. Above all else, if someone is going to vote for a candidate who I believe fundamentally will legislate against their interests, it’s their business — and there’s fuck all I can say that will make them change their minds. Hakuna fuckoffa.

When candidates starting lining up for the job, I was a bit perturbed that everyone on the Democrats’ side seemed to be stepping out of the way for Hillary. On a fundamental level, sure, she’s got the experience and knowledge for the job. But she also has a rather distinguished history of changing her viewpoints when it best benefits her political goals. It’s the kind of trait that is usually pointed out by any voter as something that disgusts them with all politicians. Oddly enough, when it’s their own candidate, they don their blinders and become very vocal in their defense of them. But it’s also the reason why I became a Bernie Sanders supporter. The man has been espousing the same political rhetoric for the better part of forty years. Agree with him or not, you have to admire that kind of dedication and integrity.

The one that shocked me, and indeed continues to shock me, is the popularity of one Donald Trump. I’m actually loathe to write anything about him because the man thrives off of negative publicity, and has gotten 99% of election coverage on all major news outlets. Of course he is — he’s a reality TV star and knows how to manipulate the American public. It’s said public that inspired this post.

Jon Stewart recently did David Axelrod’s podcast and summed up the Trump phenomena pretty well. To paraphrase, Trump is the obvious result of years of right-wing talk radio scaring the shit out of its listeners with overblown rhetoric — the illegals are stealing your jobs, Muslims will kill all of you, etc. People who believe this nonsense don’t do nuanced answers to very complicated issues. So here comes Trump who’s going to deport all illegals, build a wall on the border (and make Mexico pay for it), stop all Muslims from travelling to the US, and so forth. Never you mind that absolutely none of this is actually based in reality. People who believe the framing of the problem as detailed by the likes of Rush and Fox News are going to believe anything that sounds like a solution that they don’t have to do themselves.

If the person reading this happens to be supporting Trump, you are all that’s wrong with the elections here in the United States. You know nothing about the real problems facing this country, you know nothing about realistic solutions that are direly needed, and you know nothing about what makes for a true leader. I’m not saying this to insult you. My only wish is that you would look to other sources for your news that offer context that you probably won’t like, but is likely the best perspective you’ve ever heard. It’s based on facts and not visceral reaction to perceived threat. Jesus H Christ, stop doing that to yourselves.

That said, the alternate choice, at this stage of the game anyway, seems to be Hillary Clinton. Indeed, much of the reason the great liberal bastion of MSNBC has been wall-to-wall Trumpmania is because that network has all but handed her the Democratic nomination. Why bother covering what initially was a rather boring contest on the left when feces of every size shape and color was flying on the right? Ratings gold, baby. Regardless, Hillary has pretty much sealed things up on her side. To a Sanders supporter like me, this is turning out to be a true shitshow of an election. I realize that there are a few of you out there who are Hillary supporters, and I trust and respect your judgments in coming to that conclusion. But here’s my problem…

In 2008, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had a pretty bruising campaign. I personally think it was ultimately perfect for Obama because he was able to build a ton of recognition with the American people as being, ultimately, a two-term President with a pretty good record. But there was a certain sense of grudging acceptance that came from Hillary supporters then. Everyone eventually rallied behind Obama. But now, in 2016, the same supporters seem to be taking the attitude of “We had to suck it up last time, now it’s your turn.” I haven’t even frequented many of the left-leaning sites because Hillary supporters are downright nasty to Sanders supporters. But we’re supposed to accept the inevitable, fall in line like good little Democrats, and vote Hillary. I’m sorry to say it just doesn’t work that way and it’s beyond arrogant to think it does. “Bernie isn’t even a real Democrat!” Yeah, and what does that say to you?

The left, collectively, is a heard of cats. We’re very independent-minded, like going our own way, doing our own thinking, and expect to be pandered to by very specific personalities. We’re really a lot less unified than the lockstep of the right; a fact the right takes full advantage of. For the powers that be on the left to assume that we’ll act accordingly is a stunning misunderstanding of what makes us who we are. It’s also extremely foolish and arrogant to just assume that if Bernie loses the nomination that his support will automatically fall to Hillary. In fact, the opposite is turning out to be true. Many of the Bernie supporters I know are turning to Jill Stein of the Green Party. However, recent polls suggest that the populist leanings of Bernie supporters will fall more into line with Trump than with Hillary. I’m not proud of that statistic, but I can’t argue with it.

Fundamentally, the voting public — a sadly lower number than it should be — is tired of Washington DC politics. They’re tired of the political games, pandering false promises, and a never-ending two-party battle to the death. Too long ago politics became a contest of who gets elected more rather than what actually gets accomplished when it’s governing and legislating time. This was another main reason I supported Bernie. He actually wants the system to change. Clinton supporters are quick to criticize, “Too much, too fast!” How about “If not now, when?”

As of now, the California primary is coming next week. Even if Sanders wins, he’d have to win big to overtake Hillary’s delegate count. That’s not even counting New Jersey, which Hillary has a commanding lead. All that said, if Hillary wins, her supporters should not be so condescendingly arrogant to assume that Bernie voters should “Vote Blue, No Matter Who”. I honestly don’t know how it’ll go for me at this point. While I can guarantee that Trump will not get my vote, there is absolutely no guarantee that Hillary will. It’s not a question of being a sore loser, it’s a question of judgment and integrity — qualities that I honestly don’t find all that strong in Clinton.