Burlington Free Press photo
Bernie Sanders votes in Vermont’s presidential primary election on March 1 in Burlington. Bernie claims that in November he will/would vote for Billary Clinton — to help stop Donald Trump — but as Vermont is a solidly blue state that will go to Billary anyway, under the winner-takes-all Electoral College, Bernie’s vote for Billary won’t/wouldn’t actually stop Trump. And statistically and practically speaking, your vote for president in November won’t matter, either — unless you live in a swing or toss-up state.
Bernie Sanders today told MSNBC that in November he will/would vote for Billary Clinton – in order to help stop Donald Trump from occupying the Oval Office.
Reuters called it “a lukewarm show of support that his campaign said was not a formal endorsement [of Billary].”
It was rather lukewarm, true, but was even a lukewarm show of support necessary?
Politically, it probably was. Because democratic socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (probably wisely) chose to run as a Democrat rather than as an independent or third-party candidate, he pretty much is bound by the code of conduct of the partisan duopoly, which is that if you don’t win the duopolistic party’s presidential nomination (and he very most likely won’t), you (at least more or less) endorse the candidate who does. You’re widely considered to be an asshole if you don’t.
So I forgive Sanders’ “lukewarm show of support” for Billary because I view it as fairly politically necessary; we’re still in Rome (or maybe it’s more like King’s Landing in Westeros…).
But I do take issue with Bernie for very apparently having reinforced the we-must-support-Billary-because-Donald-Trump! mindset, which is about all that the Democratic Party establishment has left to offer us commoners.
For many years now the Democratic Party has assumed that a huge swath of the American electorate – those of us who are left of center – have nowhere else to go and that therefore we’ll tolerate this “lesser”-of-two-evils bullshit indefinitely, and thus vote out of fear indefinitely.
When we commoners do nothing to stop this cycle, but instead go along with it obediently like bleating sheeple, we have only ourselves to blame over the fact that the Democratic Party doesn’t return to progressivism, but continues its corporatism.
Bernie promised to return the party to progressivism, and so that’s why it is disappointing to see him jump on the “What?-Do-you-want-Trump?” bandwagon.
Because the president of the United States is chosen by the Electoral College and not by the popular vote, even if Bernie does vote for Billary in November (and because we have a secret ballot, we probably never will know whether he actually voted for her or not, but will have only his word on the matter), it won’t hurt Trump. At all.
That’s because Sanders’ home state of Vermont hasn’t gone to a Repugnican presidential candidate since 1988; Barack Obama won Vermont by around two-thirds of the vote in 2008 and in 2012. Vermont is highly unlikely to go to Trump or to any other Repugnican presidential candidate in November. (And even if it did, Vermont has a whopping three electoral votes in the winner-takes-all(-except-for-Maine-and-Nebraska) Electoral College.)
So: Bernie can’t say this because of the political constraints that are upon him, but I can:
This is what I suggest you do if you are a true progressive:
If, like I do*, you live in a solidly blue state that Billary Clinton no doubt will win** (and thus will win all of its electoral votes anyway), then feel perfectly free to not vote for her if you don’t feel good about voting for her.
You can vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, as I probably will, or you can vote for another candidate – or you can vote for no one at all for president. If you live in a solidly blue state, you do have options. It’s not only Billary or Trump.
Similarly, if you live in a solidly red state that Donald Trump (or whomever the Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate will be) no doubt will win**, under the woefully outdated Electoral College your vote for Billary Clinton wouldn’t change the electoral-vote outcome of your state anyway, so if you don’t feel good about voting for Billary, then why do it? Why do that to yourself? Again, you do have options – you can vote for someone else or you can choose not to vote for the office of the presidency at all.
If you live in a true swing or toss-up state**, of which there aren’t all that many, then you must leave it to your conscience.
If you can’t stand Billary like I can’t, but you live in, say, Ohio or Florida and you really are concerned that if you don’t vote for Billary then you truly could be helping Trump to win your swing state and thus perhaps the White House, then by all means, follow your conscience and vote for Billary; I couldn’t really be mad at you for that.
But voting for Billary when you don’t really want to and when it’s not a necessity with the way that the Electoral College works – yeah, that just makes you dumb or an asshole or a dumb asshole.
**If you’re not sure of the political makeup and presidential voting history of your state, you can check it at 270towin.com. (The website gets its name from the fact that it takes at least 270 electoral votes out of the 538 electoral votes possible for a candidate to win the White House.) Just click on your state for your state’s information.
For your convenience, here is a list of states that 270towin.com says are “safe” Billary Clinton (that is, solidly blue) states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state, and the District of Columbia (which is not a state, of course, but which has three electoral votes).
Here is a list of states that 270towin.com says are “safe” Donald Trump (and thus, solidly red) states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
So: If you live in one of the 34 states listed above (or in D.C.), there is little to almost zero chance that we don’t already know today whether Billary Clinton or Donald Trump will/would win your state in November. (Presuming, of course, that those two presumptive nominees are the duopolistic parties’ presidential candidates in November.) Therefore, if you live in one of the 34 states listed above (or in D.C.), your vote for president in November in a sense already doesn’t count, since the winner-takes-all Electoral College gives all of a state’s electoral votes to the victor of that state.
This is the short list of states that, per 270towin.com, truly are “toss-up” states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. Again, I can’t hate you if you live in one of these seven states and vote for Billary; your vote there would or at least could make a difference. (Indeed, one might argue that these are the only states whose presidential elections in November will matter in determining the national outcome…)
According to 270towin.com these states either are “likely” to be won by Billary or “lean” toward her: Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin; and these states either are “likely” to be won by Trump or “lean” toward him: Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, and Missouri.
Most of these nine “likely” or “leaning” states are purplish, so if you live in one of these states and vote for Billary out of fear that if you don’t then you’re possibly helping Trump, I probably could forgive you.
But, again: If you live in a solidly blue or solidly red state and it’s already clear that Billary or Trump will win your state, and you vote for Billary even though you don’t want to – yeah, hell has a spot waiting for you. (And you’ll have to spend eternity in the company of the doddering war criminal Madeleine Albright. Think about that.)