There Are Bigger Concerns Than the DNC Emails

Do Not Vote Your Conscience

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There Are Bigger Concerns Than the DNC Emails

If you don’t want to read the next thousand words, Sarah Silverman put it more eloquently than I ever could.

Is the DNC corrupt?

Of course, it’s impossible for anyone to get a D or R next to their name without taking a money bath first. Welcome to the basis for pretty much every political system in the world ever. Humanity isn’t that advanced.

Did they put their finger on the scale to try to influence the election in favor of Hillary?

No, they put an aircraft carrier on it.

Is this unfair?

Yes, but this is nothing new.

Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. He only turned heel because he wanted to run a real presidential campaign – not a spoiler gunning for double digits in the popular vote. We all should applaud him for the inroads he made in a party that sorely needed a swift kick in the ass. The Sanders constituency is now the dominant faction in the Democratic Party, partially because the leadership ignored it for so long. Since at least the moment we elected Obama to his second term, the DNC has been plotting Hillary’s ascension, and they did not notice the revolt concentrating right beneath their noses. The Democratic party is as friendly with corporate interests as it has ever been, and the Sanders coalition is the first unified front able to enforce real consequences for these actions. Hillary won the Democratic election (convincingly), but Bernie won the campaign of ideas in a rout. It was such a blowout that Hillary had no choice but to start stealing Sanders’ lines. The party has been irrevocably changed for the better.

But why should the Democrats be any more beholden to Bernie than he is to them? Other than the racist “taco bowl” e-mail and the one suggesting they attack Sanders’ faith, these revelations unearthed by Kremlin forces cheerleading the rise of Donald Trump really weren’t that bad (shameless plug: check out my deep dive on Snowden for more Russian SIGINT – Wikileaks is clearly compromised by the FSB, and if you don’t believe me, you can see for yourself on Julian Assange’s TV show on the Kremlin’s favorite network).

These leaks revealed a political party conspiring to turn events in their favor, which is shady, but that’s also their entire point of being. They will always tilt the playing field in favor of those who they think have the best chance to win. This isn’t a scandal. You want a scandal? How about the fact that the only other Democrats running were a stock photo of middle aged dad from Maryland, a guy openly aggrieved over running as a Democrat, and someone whose central campaign promise was transferring us over to the metric system. That’s more nefarious than anything contained in these e-mails.

Political parties are not democratic entities. It’s why George Washington spoke out against them in his farewell address, warning that they “gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual.” Parties exist to do one thing: win elections, and Hillary gives the Democrats the best chance to win, even before you get to the name recognition bonus (sadly perhaps the biggest determinant of who wins an election, hence part of why Congress is reelected at a 90% clip despite 10% approval).

She has been working for the Democrats since 1971, raising millions of dollars for candidates all over the country. When she served as Secretary of State, her favorability peaked at 65%. In June of last year, 50% said they would be unwilling to vote for any socialist (and yes, there is an important distinction between socialist and democratic socialist, but let’s be real here, most Americans only hear “socialist”). Historically, Hillary has been fairly popular, and she’s done more for the party than anyone running. Of course the DNC would want her to win.

Approval ratings.png

This is not to say that she is an ideal candidate – far from it. She always looks uncomfortable campaigning and generally existing in the same space as other human beings, part of her brain has been replaced with a focus group that only spits out lies, and it sure as hell looks like she sold uranium to the Russians through the Clinton Foundation while serving as Secretary of State. Even though she is the best weapon the Democrats have in their arsenal, she is still a terrible candidate.

Luckily for the Democrats, the other side has an even worse one, and the best play against a fascist Cheeto is to overwhelm the electorate with competence. Say what you want about Hillary and Tim Kaine’s politics, but they sure impress a man who has been in the business for so long that he was standing on the floor of the House as FDR addressed Congress following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Hillary is no one’s first choice, but this is politics; you never get what you want, only what you can negotiate. Walking away from the table ensures you get nothing, and sadly, a vote for anyone but Hillary is a vote that helps Trump, thus becoming a vote that stands in opposition to all the progress Bernie Sanders and his supporters accomplished over the past year. You have made real, concrete gains on key issues like the minimum wage, Citizens United, and maybe even a path to free college tuition. This is a revolution whose overall goals few will forcefully dispute (under ideal fiscal conditions), and there is an opportunity for more. Hillary Clinton embodies everything we despise about D.C., but Donald Trump and his band of useful idiots are fucking dangerous.

The main reason why Trump and Sanders have made it this far is because thieves really are scampering around Washington and stealing from the American dream. But you know what? Compared to the rest of the globe, things are fine here. We can withstand another four to eight years of the corporatocracy we have endured for nearly a century. What we cannot do is undo the damage done by an orange hurricane of racism, isolationism, and trickle down bullshitinomics under the leadership of the only guy in human history to go bankrupt running a casino.

A smarmy, fishlike man who once spent an entire year with his head up Donald Trump’s ass once said “vote your conscience.”

Don’t. Not this year. 2016 is about being principled, not principles. The existential battles rational America has every four years look petty compared to the clash of civilizations that Donald Trump brings to our doorstep. Any vote that helps Trump isn’t just a vote “against the system,” it’s a vote FOR the GOP platform. Here’s a sampling of what’s contained in this lengthy, hateful manifesto of a sick, dying culture:

1) Designating coal as a “clean” energy source

2) Barring female soldiers from combat

3) Policies the Log Cabin Republicans have called “the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162 year history.”

4) The privatization of student debt (picture cutting a check to Goldman Sachs every month for your student loans)

Despite our characterization of politicians as perpetually lying meat sacks, Vox spoke to several political scientists and estimated that roughly eighty percent of campaign promises are kept by Congressmen. This GOP platform is not something to be dismissed lightly – these are not scare tactics. If your vote works in favor of this bankrupt ideology, it will betray the elemental principles of the Sanders campaign.

This election is about Donald Trump and the dying embers of the Republican Party, not Hillary Clinton. She serves the same purpose as John Kerry in 2004: an underwhelming but vital weapon in our war against certain destruction. Given the realities of the electoral college (CA+NY+IL = UT+ID+MT+WY+ND+SD+NE+KS+OK+MO+AR+LA+MS+AL+TN+SC+WV), any Republican is an underdog against a generic Democrat (and Hillary is The Generic Democrat). The goal of this election is just to not screw it up, lest we give the darkest forces in America control over the most powerful entity on earth. Frankly, who gives a shit if our political system is completely screwed up? We have bigger problems right now.

Dismissing or enabling the rise of white nationalism will be the biggest determinant of who we become as a country over the coming century. The United States is an idea, not a plot of land, and we are being dragged backwards by the primal forces which helped produce the most war torn continents in history bookending us on the other side of the Atlantic. Diversity is our source of strength, and a vote for Trump or one that benefits him is a repudiation of the central thesis of America.