I haven’t voted for a Democrat (or Republican) for President in 40 years, but I’m going to a week from now. I’m voting for Hillary.
I’ve written in the past how people in the battleground states, where the vote looks to be close, should consider doing so, let their conscience be their guide. New Jersey, where I live, is not such a state; the latest poll, two weeks ago, had her ahead by 11 points. But I’ve come to the conclusion that taking this (for me) unprecedented step is most consistent with what I believe is the most important thing about this election.
The most important thing is defeating Trump. Period. Full stop. I believe this, first of all, because he is such a total, dangerous jerk as a human being, someone who should never be anywhere close to becoming President, which he unfortunately now is. He is a pathological liar, in Bernie Sanders’ words, a racist, a sexual predator, misogynist, narcissistic, and more.
As someone who has made the deepening climate crisis my primary work for the last 13 years, I know that he is a huge threat to the planet and all its life forms. He would do all in his power to move the US and the world backwards with our energy policy. He has made it clear he would try to revive a struggling coal industry and accelerate oil and gas, especially fracked gas, production. He would reject the Paris climate agreement. He would weaken the already-weakened EPA. Although I am certain that the climate movement would step up and fight him every step of the way, we would mainly be on the defensive in those battles. Far from moving forward toward the renewable energy/energy efficient/love the earth future we must get to as soon as possible, he would make it very difficult to just stay where we are now.
And there are so many others issues: immigrant rights, police brutality, pro-the-1% economic policy, decimating health care, opposing minimum wage increases, using the Justice Department to go after social movements and, let us not forget, appointing at least one and maybe one-two more Supreme Court judges “like Antonin Scalia,” as he has pledged.
I’m a Green Party member. I actually spent an afternoon two days ago doing phone calling for a local member who is running for school board in a nearby town. I’ve been a leader of a local GP group in northern NJ for literally 16 years. I ran for the US Senate as a Green Party candidate in 2002. I helped get Jill Stein on the ballot in NJ and worked for her in 2012. For the past 20 years, going back to Ralph Nader’s 1996 campaign for President, I’ve been actively involved—1996, 2000 and 2004—in GP Presidential campaigns or, in 2008 and 2012, supportive of them.
However, after the 2000 Nader/LaDuke campaign, I started putting forward a “safe states strategy.” Because of the electoral system we have, the Green Party Presidential campaign should focus its campaign in the non-battleground states. In the battleground states it should say loud and clear that people should vote their conscience, acknowledge the validity of voting for a lesser evil Democrat when the alternative is much worse.
These ideas have gone nowhere. Instead the Jill Stein campaign has made no distinctions between states. Up until maybe a month ago she was saying that she had a chance of winning the Presidency. She is now at 2% of the vote in the realclearpolitics.com average of major polls, and she has been there or close for a month. She has taken the very problematic position that Clinton and Trump are “equally terrible.” She publicly twitter-attacked the 3,000-person People’s Summit led by National Nurses United in June as “lapdogs for the duopoly.”
I thought about writing in Bernie. What was built as a result of his Presidential campaign is, in general, the kind of organized mass movement that we desperately need. However, given that there’s no organized Bernie write-in campaign—Bernie would be against it—and given that I have major problems with the strategy of the candidate of the party I’ve worked hard locally to build for 16 years, I’m voting for Hillary on November 8th. And then, if she wins, on November 9th, I’ll start figuring out with other sisters and brothers how we create the kind of issue-oriented people’s movement that she has no choice but to take very seriously for the next four years.
Ted Glick has been a progressive activist and organizer since 1968. For the last 13 years his primary focus of political work has been the climate crisis. Past writings and other information can be found at http://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/jtglick.