It’s not quite my day yet — Florida’s primary isn’t for another two weeks, although I got the sample ballot and have been looking back and forth between “Clinton” and “Sanders” with much angst — but it is for voters in eleven states as Super Tuesday dawns. If you’re in any of those states, go vote. Even if you’re supporting anyone currently riding the Republican clown car. It’s your right, no matter how much anyone may disagree with the choices you make.
But I’d sincerely urge you to stop this Donald Trump nonsense.
There’s a part of me that’s legitimately worried about the fervor of Trump’s supporters versus the infighting between Clinton and Sanders. While Trump seems to be presenting this unified front, we’ve got Sanders supporters stamping their feet vowing not to vote in November if he’s not the nominee. They don’t care that the Republican alternatives to Clinton are uniformly worse up and down the ticket. Never mind that there are hundreds of important federal and state legislative elections that will probably have more of an impact on people’s daily lives than who’s in the White House (the “inconsequential” midterm elections of 2010 and 2014 got us the Republican majority in Congress than proceeded to shut down everything Obama did for the next five years). If their guy isn’t in, they’re taking their ballot and going home. The old saying is that “Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line.” Meaning the GOP gets their guy and gets behind them come Hell or high water, while the Democrats crush hard on someone and get all depressed when they don’t get the nomination. Which we’re seeing now. And which could very well hand the Republicans the White House if the Sanders supporters stay home.
Look, I get liking a candidate. I remember voting for Bill Clinton back in 1992 and being legitimately excited about my side’s candidate for the first time ever. I remember the historic rush when Obama got the nomination. But I will also say this: the Democrats could have run a trained seal in those elections, I would have still voted for them over the backward, bigoted, superstitious, dangerous policies of the Republicans. My loyalty to a particular candidate isn’t worth watching the other side systematically throw us back into the regressive Dark Ages where loving who you loved was a crime, where old men in suits decided they knew best about a woman’s body, and where endless wars were the only way a bunch of insecure Rambo wannabes proved how tough they were by getting other people’s kids killed. And if people insist on going down with the Sanders ship, we may be paving the way for all of that to come roaring back.
Then again, in 2008 and 2012, it felt like all we heard was Tea Party this and Tea Party that. We heard about how people were angry. We saw protests and demonstrations and fiery speeches from the Right. And on both Election Days, their candidate got curb stomped as young and minority voters turned out in droves and voted for Obama. It’s not how much you shout in September and October that wins elections, it’s how many of you show up in November.
And right now, it’s the loonies who are the loudest. And it’s not because they have the most passion or have the right position. It’s that their egos demand recognition. They crave validation. They want to roar along with the crowd, because a crowd makes them both safe and anonymous. They can shout whatever they like without repercussion or reprisal. They can say and believe awful things because hey, five hundred other people are saying the same things. How can I be wrong?
Meanwhile, they cheer their idol, a boorish buffoon in a bad wig who has yet to give any answer on how he’ll get anything done other than to assert that he will. Trump’s followers like to say his no-nonsense approach will make American tough again. It won’t. It will make us a laughing stock. Foreign leaders will tremble more in fear at what Trump might do by accident than at anything he might do by design. A Trump presidency would be a joke of global proportions, one his followers simply won’t get.
So sure, go ahead and pull the lever or fill in the box for Trump today. It’s your right. Just as it’s my right to deride you for backing a reality show host instead of a presidential candidate.