Vote for the corrupt politician: A former Bernie Bro’s plea to the liberal youth

By Christin Howard

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd after taking the stage during a campaign rally at the Greenville Convention Center in Greenville, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd after taking the stage during a campaign rally at the Greenville Convention Center in Greenville, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

Let me just start off by saying that I was, and still am, an avid Bernie supporter. I believe in most of his policies and even more in the message of political revolution, the dissatisfaction with the two-party system, the need to expunge the money in politics and the disingenuousness of politicians.

Of course, as we all know, a Bernie presidency was not to be, and now Democrats are forced to consider a corrupt war-mongering politician as our next president.

Many, when faced with this unappetizing reality, have chosen to vote for a third party candidate instead.

On the liberal side this candidate is Jill Stein, an appealing option with her leftist policies, her-well spoken and passionate mannerisms, her authenticity and genuine care and her obvious intelligence. A vote for Jill Stein has become a moral statement for many liberals. It is a refusal to vote for a candidate that does not align with one’s ethical backings and an indictment of the two-party system.

And still, despite all this, I am not voting for her. And, fellow Liberal millennial, neither should you. A vote for Jill Stein is a show of a flagrant disregard for reality and a willing ignorance of the modes of political change. Even worse, it is a statement about the importance of personal morals over the wellbeing of actual individuals.

Unfortunately, the unglamorous truth of this election cycle is that a democratic vote for Stein is, in essence, a vote for Trump. We need to see how monumentally dangerous Trump is to this country and the world, and see the importance of preventing his presidency even if we must at times sacrifice our own moral comfortability for the good of the nation.

Let’s break it down. What makes Trump so bad?

He is against abortion, wants to deport illegal immigrants, and stop immigration; he wants to reverse the gay marriage act, and loosen gun laws. Even this gives him too much credit as a candidate with a discernable platform; in reality no one knows what he actually will do because the man can’t put together a full sentence, much less a coherent plan for America.

He is an unapologetic liar, he is rude, he stands on stage and insults war heroes, veterans and a disabled reporter. He is hopelessly ignorant about even the basics of important issues, undoubtedly bigoted, completely sexist and to top it off, a shady businessman who has left behind a trail of failed projects (see: Trump University, Trump Steaks, GoTrump.com, Trump Airlines, The Trump Network, and countless others).

However, the real danger in Trump lies in the rhetoric he has used to attain popularity in politics.

Trump represents a sort of national fervor, which, if we all turn our history books back to page 1935, we can clearly see is very dangerous. He presents minority groups as a scapegoat for the disillusionment in America.

He appeals to the uneducated, poor, white American who has felt slighted for decades because he continues to work and can no longer support his family. In reality this is due to, as always, a myriad of factors, not least of which are corporations such as Trumps’ own exploiting its workers and exporting goods to cheaper labor markets.

In addition to the exploitation of uneducated working class folks, Trump’s candidacy has also become a safe space for racists (like the former leader of the KKK who Trump refused to denounce) and anti-intellectuals who latch onto his rhetoric as vindication for their views. This is a group of people who have been increasingly silenced by social justice reform and the mainstream denouncement of bigotry.

In a greyscale world, Trump offers a black and white view of reality, a chance for his supporters to blame their situations on an outside force, a vindication for existing hatred and prejudice.

Now this is bad enough, but this combined with the nationalistic rhetoric that is sprouting up like a long dormant cancer across Europe is particularly frightening. The obvious comparison is best stated by the former governor of New Jersey and GOP heavyweight Christine Todd Whitman, who announced that she would not be voting for Trump. “Trump…is employing the kind of hateful rhetoric and exploiting the insecurities of his nation, in much the same way that allowed Hitler and Mussolini to rise to power,” she said.

No, Trump is not Hitler but he is using these same classic nationalistic sentiments to exploit the working class and gain popularity. These hateful attitudes are on a rise across the globe.

This is terrifying. In a world that is so connected, we are managing to forget the lessons of the mid-twentieth century and continue to box ourselves in, to blame to the outsider, to champion our own greatness and shun others faults.

With real issues like climate change and water scarcity looming on the horizon, it becomes ever important to shy away from the tempting and easy route of national fervor, and instead focus on global unification, the breaking down of borders and promoting social justice for all groups in all countries.

This fight against Trump is so much more than one against one stupid man; it is a fight for what American will be, for what the world will be.

My vote against Trump is more than a high-minded moral statement; it is also a vote for the minorities that could be in danger if he was to become president.

So many of my peers want to vote for Stein simply because they want to make statements such as “I won’t be ruled by fear” and “I must do what is right no matter the consequences.”

Yet, usually the people making these statements are the people who do not have to live in fear and suffer the consequences of those decisions. We are responsible for our choices not just as a moral statement but also with a thought to their impact on the reality of the world and other people around us.

Those who can go along with their moral code in this election are usually those who have the privilege not to be affected by the changes that Trump could very well make.

The reality of a Trump presidency coupled with a highly conservative Congress and brand new Trump-like supreme justices could pose a real threat to real people. These are people whose lives are already dictated by fear.

They are the Hispanics who see the tide of hatred rising against them, who could face heavy deportation laws, who could be searched and carded just because of their race.

The Muslims who face bigotry and hate for their personal beliefs, who watch as a man stands on stage and says he saw them celebrating after 9/11, tells them he wants to number them, track them. Black people will see their movement and their voices silenced by the greater issues of the white American. The LGBT just won a marriage victory after decades of pain and do not want to go back.

Is it not more of our duty to protect these people than make a moral statement? Is that not what being a liberal is supposed to be about?

I am all for the political revolution, but voting for Stein is not the best thing you can do for that revolution by a long shot. Indeed, voting for Stein will accomplish nothing more than making a moralizing statement.

For the political revolution to work, we need a truly organized movement. Bernie was an unexpected and awe-inspiring start. He demonstrated that the desire to change the two-party system and the need for political revolution is palpable. Bernie’s movement was just the beginning, and you can continue to be involved without throwing away your vote with Stein.

You can do far more good voting for Congressmen and supporting their causes, getting involved with politics on a local level and continuing to support genuine politicians like Stein and Sanders, than casting one vote for the moral high ground. So many of us millennials want to make our moral statements, yet when it comes time to actually put real effort into the political process we refuse. I urge you to continue to make your voice heard, continue to be involved in the actual democratic process, not just the circus that comes every four years, this is what is truly important, not your vote for Jill Stein.

You may not be happy with Hillary, but you can at least admit her policies are still left, if center left. It is our responsibility as Americans to see reality, get our heads out of the clouds and keep a truly dangerous man out of office.

If you care about America, vote for Hillary, and then get involved in your local politics. Your vote is not just a statement; it is a decision with real impacts.

Keep a pseudo-dictator out of office and vote for the corrupt politician.

Christin Howard is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]