Unless You Want Clinton vs. Cruz in 2020, Vote for Jill Stein in 2016

A plea to think past the next four years

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the worst candidates for president ever. Depending on your friends’ placements on the political spectrum, one or the other must be stopped! We have to choose a lesser evil!, they’ll say. Additionally, this is the most important election we’ve ever had!

Every presidential election is the most important we’ve ever had. Last time, we just had to defeat Romney — in hindsight, Trump makes him look like President Obama. Before that, McCain and his radical agenda were too dangerous to be given the highest office. In 2004, self-described “socialist” Bernie Sanders stumped for Kerry, specifically dissuading people from voting for Ralph Nader, the actual progressive in the race. The 2000 election was vital because George W. Bush was even scarier than Bob Dole, whose presence in the 1996 race prompted Bernie to give an epically cold “endorsement” (if you would call it that) of Bill Clinton whom he explicitly did not believe would stand up “for children, for the elderly, for the folks who are hurting.”

The pattern is clear: Every four years, the candidates both get progressively worse. One side may be a mere hair better than the other but supposedly it’s enough that you have to overlook your disagreements, forget your values, and vote for that candidate. Otherwise, it’s your fault if we get stuck with the bigger bowl of shit. (Somehow, it’s not their fault when the little bowl of shit is still shit.🐸☕️) Each nominee is more dangerous than the last and every presidential election will be the most important one of your lifetime. If we continue, it won’t be long before we find the Democrats shaming us into supporting a Donald Trump in order to stop whatever greater-evil the Republicans conjure up. Realistically, it could be Ted Cruz in 2020 if Clinton wins. And if Trump wins, it might be Trump v. Clinton all over again. At what point will we allow ourselves, and each other, to stop playing this game?

If you’re one of the majority of Clinton voters who see her as the small bowl of shit, vote for Jill Stein, dammit!

It is well-established that, among the two frontrunners, it’s impossible to vote in favor of “the marginalized.” You might pick and choose your favorite oppressed people — because that’s what this comes down to: which groups are more and less important to protect — but there is nothing moral or good in entertaining the question of who is less bad for some Americans for the next four years. It’s time to look beyond the immediate threat of Donald Trump in order to break the lesser evil cycle altogether.

Embedded in our political system are financial rewards for parties whose candidates received 5% of the vote in past elections. This year is a past election. Knowing now that Al Gore would lose in 2000, how many progressives wasted their votes on the watered-down, dull, quasi-Republican when there was a real progressive, Ralph Nader, on the ballot? Nader received a lot of votes, which tells us there was a heavy demand for his platform, but so many progressives were bullied into voting Democrat that he didn’t make 5%. Had Nader secured that 5 percent — had he actually tipped the election to Bush — the Green Party would have had more money than ever in following elections. It would be much stronger and more competitive by now. In short, we’d be in a much better place politically. Everyone complains that the Green Party should be more successful, but nobody wants to do the work of building it up, nobody wants to take the risk and give it support in the form of a vote for long-term viability. We’ve delayed and stunted its growth for far too long.

Now that the Democratic Party has blatantly proven unwilling to run progressive candidates, even when that candidate has a better shot at winning the General Election, we must forget about changing it from within. There is no reforming the Democratic Party. Even if a progressive candidate did squeak by with the nomination, we all know the party itself would continue taking the money with strings attached and dispense it only to candidates who vote to appease the donors. It is thoroughly corrupt and must be replaced. It’s time to leave the Democratic Party.

This applies to Libertarians and conservatives, too, by the way. The GOP is just as bad at representing the political right as the Democrats are at representing the left. You deserve fair representation just as much as we do.

I favor the inception of many new political parties, but am inclined to migrate to the Green Party right now because it is established and has been doing the hard work of building up for decades now. Running solely on donations, it’s the only national clean-money party. There’s talk of moving toward a members-financed model, but corporations and wealthy donors will never fund the Green Party and superPACs will never support it. Starting a political party from scratch is unjustifiably difficult in this political environment and while the Greens may have some issues and quirks, leaders are addressing them and making important changes. Even if you don’t agree with some parts of the Green Party’s platform, growing a clean-money party is a necessary step toward reaching our short-term goals of fairer voting methods and proportional representation. If we collectively vote Green, even when the candidates don’t win, we force Democrats and Republicans into electoral reform and better voting methods much sooner.

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant

We are constantly met with the notion that it’s wrong to allow Donald Trump (or Hillary Clinton or John McCain or George Bush or Mitt Romney) to become President. But what we cannot afford is a lifelong lesser evil game. It should be seen as wrong not to think past the next four years. Indeed it’s privileged to maintain an oppressive political system any longer than necessary by putting a band aid on every presidential election and saying, At least we defeated the Republican! Because the fact is the earth cannot handle a Hillary Clinton presidency any more than it can handle Donald Trump. (Quite frankly, Barack Obama’s climate legacy is nothing to be proud of, even when compared to George Bush! Our planet does not have time for incremental change.)

Recognize that we cannot fix everything in one election cycle, but that’s only more reason to start right now. What this election comes down to is four years of Donald Trump versus a lifetime of Hillary Clintons. A single Republican victory or lesser evil voting for the rest of your life. Change, incremental or otherwise, will only come when we change what we are doing.

We have to, once and for all, change our behaviors for the Green Party’s current and future success. If Jill Stein does not win the race, we must make sure that she loses with 15-, 10-, or no less than 5%. A vote against the Green Party is a vote against progress and against the future. It’s a vote against taking back our democracy.

We have power, but we must build it together. All you have to do is vote your conscience. (🐸☕️)