When the Democratic Party decided it preferred Trump to Bernie and would rather nominate to run against Trump a more corporate-friendly candidate who was polling more weakly against Trump, there were — in theory — at least two choices.
First, millions of people could have publicly announced that they would not vote for either rotten candidate but only someone who stood for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, public education through college, demilitarization, and massive taxation of corporations and billionaires — or at least one of those things. Either a candidate would have credibly changed or a message would have been sent very loudly to all future candidates. I tried promoting this plan, and a relative handful of people mumbled their agreement. Apart from the Green Party doing its thing, and a new party being started, there was no more organizing around this than there was to reject the Supreme Court handing George W. Bush the crown.
Second, people could vote for a lesser evil while organizing educational and activist campaigns to try to save the world from that evil. There’s a credible, though uncertain and muddy case, that the lesser evil is Joe Biden. Thousands of people have enthusiastically screamed this case at me at the top of their lungs, and accused me of racism, sexism, and working in the employ of the Russian government — even though my actual, real-world employment includes working for an organization pushing just this approach. I’ve pushed just this approach because it’s my second choice and my first choice above has gone nowhere. I’ve also maintained honesty about the rottenness of both candidates, which has angered and confused many supporters of both who believe that part of supporting a candidate is lying about him.
Now, when/if Biden loses or has the election stolen, I would like to point out just a few of the reasons that it’s not my fault or Russia’s or Ralph Nader’s or the Green Party’s.
1) There is no evidence that Russia has had any influence over the 2020 (or 2016) U.S. election. (But please do send me hundreds of angry evidence-free denunciations of the supposed lunacy of saying so.) (I would much rather you blame me than Russia because I don’t have any nuclear weapons.)
2) The Green Party got a teeny tiny bit of the vote and probably gained Biden as many votes in Maine and places that have ranked choice voting as it cost him elsewhere, and is the most likely party to challenge any of Trump’s election-related crimes.
3) I supported Bernie.
4) I didn’t advise campaigning on a promise to keep fracking. I didn’t even pretend that campaign was a mistake driven by ignorance of polling rather than subservience to funders.
5) I didn’t declare “The Party c’est moi!” and run screaming from every popular position.
6) I live in a non-swing state.
7) The notion that I decided the election through my failure to push scheme #2 above aggressively enough is exposed by my utter inability to advance scheme #1.
8) I didn’t create the electoral college — I’m trying to abolish it.
9) I don’t run the corporate media outlets that bow before Trump — I’m trying to break them up and regulate them.
10) I didn’t tolerate Trump’s hateful instigation of violence and intimidation. I’ve been trying to get him impeached, removed, and prosecuted for it since before his first inauguration — but a certain political party preferred a bunch of dangerous lies about Russia and a Ukraine story that made their own guy look bad.
11) I didn’t lie about voting by mail, strip names off rolls, create long lines, or utilize unverifiable machines and scanners. That was your elected officials.
12) I didn’t kneel down and let Trump put a George W. Bush election thief on the Supreme Court. I proposed impeaching Trump for a legitimate offense from the long list of indisputable public outrages, and forcing the Senate to deal with it.
Now, if you want to spend the next couple of weeks telling everyone for the 10 millionth time to vote for Biden, knock yourself out. I’ve had a job doing that for months. But let me offer three pieces of unsolicited and unwanted advice:
1) Bring back honesty as soon as possible. Every bit of bad news about your candidate is not false, is not created by Russia and therefore in need of being ignored regardless of whether it’s false, and is not an assertion of equivalence between your candidate and the other one. If you go into a Biden presidency believing your own BS about him, his presidency will turn out as putrid and disastrous as Clinton’s or Obama’s and lead straight to one as openly fascist as Bush’s or Trump’s.
2) Bring back understanding of activism as soon as possible. Restore remembrance of the nonviolent activist campaigns that created the right to vote, rights for various groups, fair treatment and humane policies and peace. Voting is an important tiny bit of civic duty that alone will never change the world.
3) Bring back politeness and respect as soon as possible. Stop all the screaming and denunciations and baseless accusations and xenophobic coldwarism so you can work with people to do the things actually needed to turn the U.S. government into what it’s nice but dangerous to imagine voting for one lousy candidate over another will do.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include Leaving World War II Behind (2020), Curing Exceptionalism: What’s wrong with how we think about the United States? What can we do about it? (2018) and War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Support David’s work.
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