Bernie Sanders Is Already Making It More Likely Republicans Win The White House In 2016 (forwardprogressives.org)
I’ve never had a harder time dealing with the run-up to a presidential election than in 2004. Not only was I completely disgusted with how the Bush Administration had lied the country into war, to say nothing about the PATRIOT Act and socially conservative legislation that made my skin crawl, but I was also having a hard time dealing with my Democratic friends who constantly exerted pressure on me to vote for John Kerry, even though I could barely stand him more than I could Dubya. This was the first election after the 2000 “Ralph Nader spoiled Al Gore’s victory” fustercluck, and those voices in the Democratic party were never as loud as they were that year. It probably isn’t a wonder that I lost a lot of friends by the time 2005 rolled around (and, surprise surprise, we were stuck with Dubya for another four years anyway).
Although I’ve been a member of the Green Party since I first registered to vote, I do not always vote for Green Party candidates; I have always voted for whichever candidate I believe to be best qualified for the job they’re seeking. Sometimes this has meant voting for Socialists, or Democrats, or Libertarians, or even (admittedly not that often) Republicans. Looking at the field of 2004 Democratic presidential candidates, there were three I thought I might conceivably vote for over either the eventual Green Party candidate (David Cobb) or Ralph Nader’s independent campaign: Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, and the Reverend Al Sharpton. These were the three most liberal of the presidential candidates, and perhaps not surprisingly, they wound up being the three who got next to no coverage from mainstream media. Instead, we were force-fed the idea that Howard Dean, someone with a lifetime “A” rating from the NRA and a huge believer in balancing budgets no matter the human cost involved, was a liberal. (It didn’t help that this was the first presidential election after the tragic death of Paul Wellstone, arguably the most high-profile real liberal in Washington.)
Instead of acknowledging the thousand self-inflicted cuts that sunk what should have been a relatively easy victory for Al Gore in 2000 — not competing in New Hampshire, pulling out of Ohio far too soon, not hitting back on ridiculously absurd press characterizations — Democrats in 2004 instead decided that they needed to squash every vestige of liberalism from the party, as well as any alternatives said liberals might have, like the Green Party. (This after the Democratic Leadership Conference, the home of the “Democrats will only win if they act like Republicans” mindset that gave us the Clintons and the Gores and Andrew Cuomo and Anthony Weiner and Rahm Emmanuel and all their ilk, had completed the work of the first President Bush and Roger Ailes in making “liberal” a dirty word in America.) Things got so bad here in Ohio that after making sure Ralph Nader wouldn’t get a spot on the ballot here in 2004, Democrats actually waged a campaign (and succeeded) to make sure that Nader’s write-in votes wouldn’t even be tallied. If that energy had been spent converting just 60,000 of the 2.86 million Ohioans who voted for Dubya into Kerry voters, then John Kerry would have won Ohio and George W. Bush would have been a one-term president. Still, everything bad that has beset the Democratic party since 2000 has all been Ralph Nader’s fault, right?
To his credit, Barack Obama dialed down Democrats’ pathological opposition to the Green Party in his two elections, still managing to win both of them by fairly comfortable margins. In that first Obama election in 2008, though, after squeaking out a Democratic primary victory over Hillary Clinton, many Clinton supporters — the same people who were doing everything in their power to consolidate everyone to the left of Joe Lieberman into one unhappy and decidedly unliberal party — made quite a show of saying that they would not be similarly kowtowed into voting for Obama in November. They even came up with a nickname for themselves, PUMAs, with PUMA being an acronym for “Party Unity My Ass.” Although they were brazenly hypocritical, I have to give them credit for at least injecting some much-needed profanity into the normally staid and soporific political news coverage here in America.
From the moment Hillary Clinton first officially announced she was running for president in 2016, though, I’ve been getting hit with blog post after blog post, and article after article, about how now everyone who doesn’t want the world to become a dystopic Republican hellhole needs to just shut up and vote for Hillary and not even entertain thoughts of anyone more liberal than Hillary running for president. We’re still more than seven months away from the first primary, let alone the general election, and I’m already getting deluged with this stuff. What was that you were saying about “party unity,” again?
It’s not a coincidence that the logo for Hillary Clinton’s current campaign prominently features an arrow pointing to the right, because she will almost certainly govern in a more conservative fashion than we’ve had to endure under Barack “talk like a liberal but govern like an impotent centrist” Obama. Hillary could easily lead us into more disastrous wars just as easily as whoever gets the Republican nomination, and just because she’s come around on same-sex marriage and the Iraq War doesn’t change the fact that she’s still a conservative southern Democrat in the same mold as her husband, under whom we got the banking deregulations that led to the 2008 financial collapse, dismantling of key parts of the social safety net, and the expansion of the laws responsible for the growing police state here in America. If I am going to continue living in this country — a prospect that becomes more and more untenable for me every day — then I need to see a massive leftward shift in our politics as quickly as possible, and that is simply not going to happen under Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I’m lucky enough to live in a state where the Green Party has a guaranteed ballot line for 2016, so barring the party going off the deep end sometime in the next year (and our rejection of Roseanne Barr’s campaign in 2012 shows that we have much more good sense than the two major parties), I’ll have at least one candidate I can vote for above Hillary. A lot of my fellow liberals and progressives don’t have that luxury, though, and I know a lot of my friends who will end up voting for Hillary in 2016 anyway would still prefer for a more liberal Democrat to get the nomination over her.
That is why, in the spirit of the PUMAs of 2008, I’m proposing those of us who will not be bowed by the pro-Hillary pressure in the Democratic party and mainstream media should unite to voice that our votes are not to be taken for granted. Just like the PUMAs, I’ve come up with a catchy acronym to identify us: HUMPs, with HUMP being short for “Hillary Unity My P****.” You’ll have to fill in the last word with your p-word of choice (You down with O.P.P.? Yeah, you know me!), or I suppose you could just use “posterior” if you’re that pusillanimous, although you’re likely already getting behind Hillary if you feel that way. Still, we will all benefit by voicing our displeasure for Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate now, and I encourage you to find your fellow HUMPs by going to the nearest public gathering right now and yelling out “WHERE MY HUMPS AT?” I’m sure it’ll catch on in no time at all.
Hillary Clinton is not the inevitable Democratic candidate, and she doesn’t automatically deserve anyone’s vote simply for being pro-choice or whatever. No one who cares deeply about liberal and progressive causes should have to suffer through four or eight more years of this country being pulled further to the right under either a Democratic or a Republican president. We deserve better than Hillary Clinton, America deserves better than Hillary Clinton, and the world deserves better than Hillary Clinton. It’s up to us to make that happen, and we can’t afford to be silenced now.