Who will I vote for?
My brain says Hillary and my heart says Jill Stein. I’ve read so many things from people on both sides of this that I can’t read more without mentally countering it with something else I’ve read, whether I agree with it or not.
Most of my Facebook feed says vote for Hillary because we don’t want a deranged Cheeto Hitler in office with access to our nuclear launch codes. She’s not perfect, especially for all you ex-Bernie supporters (that’s me) but we have got to fucking elect this woman or the whole country will go to shit.
Then other people, the more radical ex-Berners, say vote for Jill Stein with all the usual anti-Hillary arguments: she’s in the pocket of Wall Street, she’s a criminal, the primaries were rigged, she is (in the words of Jill herself): war-monger and faithful servant of the 1%. She goes against all our ideals and voting for her is throwing away everything I stand for.
On one hand, it’s FUCKED UP that for a lot of people in the Hillary camp, their best argument to vote for her is literally fear-mongering about the terrible effects of a Trump presidency.
On the other hand, to some extent they’re right. Because here’s the thing: Jill Stein is not going to win the 2016 election.
Listen. Stop. She’s just not going to win. Sometimes it can seem like she could have a chance, because we surround ourselves by people who tend to think like us, and even though my whole Facebook feed seems to be anti-Hillary Green Party converts, Facebook is not the real world. And, in fact, proven to skew your feed politically.
A vote for Jill Stein is a protest vote, and people pretending it might be more than that need to reflect harder on the sad truths of our first-past-the-post voting system and its two-party consequences.
This is hard for me to write because I desperately want Jill Stein to be able to win. Every political alignment test I’ve ever taken tells me Green Party is where my values lie, not Democrats. I am angry! I want this to change. But I also feel like I’ve accepted that it won’t change in the next six months.
So is the protest vote worth it?
I want it to be. I want to refuse to vote for the party that doesn’t hold up my beliefs or act in my best interest. I want to do what I can to scream to my country that I don’t want what’s going on.
And yet, as the Hillary supporters remind me, a protest vote is for people who are privileged enough to not care about the actual outcome of the election. Because a protest vote for Jill Stein means being complicit in helping to bring about a Trump presidency. And no matter my idealistic reasons for voting for Jill, that’s the reality of what the vote means.
A protest vote for Jill Stein won’t stop Trump from deporting thousands of undocumented immigrants, preserve a woman’s right to her own body. It won’t put a progressive on the Supreme Court. And it would affect me very personally as a queer woman, two labels Trump is known to discriminate against.
I’m angry, because I hate the idea of “vote for Hillary because she’s not Trump.” But I don’t have the privilege of throwing away my vote for idealism. I’ve never been an idealist in my life. I like to think about how the world could be better, but have trouble imagining the United States as a progressive utopia beyond the bounds of practicality, so I have to go with the best I can get.
My practical-oriented brain cannot reasonably imagine a world in which Jill Stein wins the presidency. It’s just not the way our country works. Therefore, throwing my weight behind Jill feels too much like a lost cause for me to logically agree with.
My heart understands the Jill camp 100%. I yearn to be with them too. I agree with all Jill’s tweets about how Hillary is not progressive enough to care about what we want. But I live here, in the Real World, where half the country are Republicans and Jill has no chance. For now, I’m with Hillary.