Keeping It Real on Election Day


So, I think I’ve fully come to grips with the fact that Bernie won’t be elected President today, even though I did my part and voted for him as a write-in candidate. You can do that in a few select states, like California.

A wasted vote, you say? Perhaps, although Clinton has a lock on California.

A risky vote, you say? Again, you may have a point, but show me a vote that is not risky.

And furthermore, which vote doesn’t feel wasted?

Right now, on the morning of the election, I am uninterested in judging anyone’s vote. I’m not so much concerned with who you vote for as much as I am concerned that you recognize the possible consequences of your vote. In other words, let’s keep it real today. 

Scenario #1 – Trump’s your man and Trump wins
Sure, there’s a remote possibility that he cleans up the system and fights for the little guy. And if you’re a conservative, there’s a slight possibility that he might do something to advance one of your issues (abortion being front and center this election cycle). On the other hand, let’s keep it real: Trump’s number one issue is Trump. There’s also a possibility that Trump uses a nuke, incites and inflames racial hatred and violence, publicly degrades women using the most consequential microphone in the world, runs the economy completely into the ground, and otherwise finds some way to completely fuck things up — because one thing Trump is not is intelligent.

Scenario #2 – You vote for Clinton and Clinton wins
While it’s true that Clinton might join forces with Bernie & Friends to bring sweeping progressive reforms that could get our nation back on track, it’s more possible that the progressive positions that Clinton has outlined are merely part of her “public” positions and that Clinton’s “private” positions are the ones that she will use when making policy decisions. (After all, these public progressive ideas are fairly new for her.) It’s also quite probable that scandal will continue to impede Clinton’s ability to govern — and to those who rush to explain it all away as a vast Right-wing conspiracy, please note that Right has repeatedly embarrassed itself in the last eight years with attempts to tie Obama to scandals — but nothing takes and the Right has nothing to show for it save for a disintegrating Republican Party. But here’s the point: It’s the Clinton policies that have created the chaos and suffering that now marks our world, and the most likely scenario is that we continue the downward slide. This sets up 2020 as a ripe opportunity for someone on the Right to take the wheel and really fuck up the country. Worst case scenario: a smarter version of Trump takes over. Imagine your proud vote for Clinton being the catalyst for Trump 2.0 in 2020 and the complete degeneration of American culture as we know it. Just sayin’, let’s keep it real.

Scenario #3 – You cast a protest vote
Those of us voting Third Party, or not voting at all, or writing in a candidate like Bernie who isn’t even running — we’re not off the hook. There are consequences to not voting for either Trump or Clinton, namely, that failure to vote for one results in the election of the other. Inaction is a form of action and we who exercise some form of protest vote have to live with the reality that not voting for “the lesser of two evils” might result in the greater evil. Of course, at this point, I honestly am not sure which is the lesser of the two evils — but again, that doesn’t get me off the hook. If my not voting for Clinton results in a Trump win, then I’m at least somewhat responsible for whatever nukes Trump sets off.

This is not a defeatist post. Yes, this election may be the worst in my lifetime, but I think there’s something more important than who we vote for today. What seems most crucial is to vote with your eyes open. Keep it real. Understand the consequences of your vote. Liberals and conservatives alike write fluff pieces and wax eloquently about one or the other candidate. It doesn’t hold water.

Both Trump and Clinton are seriously compromised. Either President represents a failure, but maybe that’s the point. The point is that we the people must continue to fight.

You must fight. For the next four years, your government won’t work, unless you force its hand. We are the ones we have been waiting for, and for the next four years, we sink or swim based on whether or not we put pressure this dysfunctional family we call our government to act for the benefit of the people and not for the highest bidding lobbyists.

Here’s what I say. Democracy has failed the nation. Long live democracy! The will of the people has been thwarted, now is the time for the people to rise up. Keep fighting, brothers and sisters. Keep fighting.

Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

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