Hillary Clinton is Running Against Donald Trump — and No One Else
As a resident of Philadelphia, having the Democratic National Convention here has made this election all the more real for me, especially in its terrifying divisiveness. While I seem to have the great fortune of being spared a Donald Trump supporter in my social circle, I have seen an alarming amount of my Facebook friends who subscribe to the #BernieorBust movement. It is these friends and colleagues I would like to address directly now, though of course all are invited into this conversation.
Look, I understand the establishment is frustrating and flawed, but the American people at large need you to really think about what the “Bust” world would look like at this point. When I see you boo during various speeches at the DNC, all I can think of is this article from The Onion, and it makes me laugh-cry in a way only The Onion can. Why does this come to mind? Because lest we not forget what happened in the 2000 election. George W. Bush narrowly beat Al Gore because a few disillusioned voters decided that voting for a 3rd party candidate would make a stronger statement than stopping a recession, a war, and other downturns that America faced after that election.
However, a Trump presidency terrifies me on so many more levels than a Bush presidency ever could. My fears range from a fear of losing the health coverage that I and so many of my loved ones need, to the fear of a rise in hate crimes and towards people I care deeply about that are PoC, LGTBQ+, or a marginalized group in some other sense of the word (even my status as a female scares me under a Trump presidency). Furthermore, with issues like the passing of Brexit to the increasing amount of gun-related deaths looming over our heads, the stakes are much higher than they were in 2000.
#BernieorBust supporters, the American people need you to understand two things now more than anything else.
- Hillary Clinton is not the antithesis to Bernie Sanders. Donald Trump is.
- This is not a race of Hillary against Bernie, or Hillary against Barack Obama (or Michelle Obama for that matter), or a race of Hillary against anyone else except Donald Trump. At this point, it is only the two of them.
If you’re sitting there thinking, “But there’s Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or other 3rd party candidates that are way better!”, stop. The two party system is problematic, and it definitely needs to be fixed. Now is not the time, however, to fight the two party system at the presidential level.
If you want to fight the two party system, vote for 3rd party candidates within congress, both on the state and federal level. Vote for 3rd party candidates for mayor or governor perhaps, or vote for 3rd party candidates in city council. For the love of God though, know that voting for a 3rd party candidate for this presidential election only favors Trump.
As one commenter from the article linked immediately above so aptly stated, “700 Floridians decided the 2000 election when they voted for Ralph Nader. The consequence was 8 years of George W Bush. Elections have consequences. Don’t be so naive.”
Furthermore, let’s take a look at that notion that there are 3rd party candidates that are “way better” or “more qualified”. They’re not. If we recognize the definition of ‘qualified’ as, “officially recognized as being trained to perform a particular job,” then I honestly don’t know which candidate is supposed to be more qualified than Hillary Clinton. Practically every man, woman, and child in politics, no matter their policies or leanings, recognize that she is qualified to be the next President of the United States.
Instead, I can’t help but wonder if what people really mean when they say she’s not qualified is that she’s not likable. I was listening to NPR the other day as they discussed the first day of the DNC. One of the commentators made a fascinating and important note. He stated that Hillary Clinton’s approval ratings tended to lower during elections and campaigns, but remained largely favorable during her years of actual service. His point, therefore, was that Hillary makes an excellent public servant, but a poor campaigner. I decided to look it up myself and sure enough, he was right.
Think about this in more applicable terms for a moment. Imagine you walk into a job interview, perfectly suited for the position, but are shy, or lack people skills, or simply get nervous in an interview situation (none of which describe Hillary, by the way). Imagine that you don’t get that job simply because you could not wholly impress the interviewer in a situation like that, and then they go on to hire someone charismatic but entirely less qualified, who proceeds to destroy that company.
Does this sound extreme? Not really. In the book Quiet by Susan Cain, she informs her readers that it was exactly this kind of mentality that led to corruption in Wall Street and the recession just 8–10 years ago. Skilled and knowledgeable economists warned their colleagues that if they continued taking the same kinds of financial risks as they had been, eventually the economy would suffer. What happened to those quiet thinkers? They were ignored at best or fired at worst. Then, the economy indeed suffered.
Has Hillary made mistakes? Sure, we all have. Would it be much better if she made both an excellent public servant and a political candidate? Of course. But isn’t it interesting how, according to the chart linked above, we cared less about her mistakes when they actually happened and more about them when telegenic fools told us to?
If there is no changing your mind that both choices are terrible, then do this for me. Enter yourself into the political arena as a reporter or a campaign manager or heck, run for office yourself. Then, in eight years, when the candidate you have fought hard for is eligible to run for president, promise me you’ll be able to rest easy because you did not hand your dream candidate a terrible America, all because you were too stubborn to vote for a completely qualified candidate who simply rubbed you the wrong way.
That is why, #BernieorBust supporters, I use a much simpler hashtag. That is why #ImWithHer.