I Voted for Jill Stein. Was I Wrong?

jill-stein-green-placard

 

On November 8, 2016, I had a heart attack.

 

That’s not a metaphor.

 

I went to vote. I went to the doctor. I was sent to the hospital.

 

How much of that was a result of the Presidential election? I will never know.

 

But whenever I think back on that day, I am filled with a sense of bone-deep sadness.

 

After only a little more than a year in office, Donald Trump is already the worst President of my lifetime – and that’s saying something after the disaster that was George W. Bush.

 

Yet today our country is separating parents and children seeking asylum on the border and locking them away in detention centers. Nearly every cabinet secretary is an incompetent plutocrat put in office to dismantle the department in which they’re in charge. Meanwhile, Trump insults traditional allies and consorts with dictators all over the globe. And nationwide white supremacists of all stripes are emboldened, on the rise, and openly running for office.

 

I wish there is something I could do to go back in time and change the results of that day. I wish there was something I could do to stop Donald Trump from being elected President. And though I did not vote for her, I would do anything to have Hillary Clinton defeat him.

 

On that day, though, I voted for Jill Stein.

 

There’s nothing I can do about that now.

 

I imagine going back in time and telling myself not to do it. “Go vote for Hillary,” I imagine Future Me telling an ailing younger version.

 

Yet even now, I’m not sure if I’d say that to myself.

 

Go vote for Hillary? Would it have made a difference?

 

Factually, no. One more vote wouldn’t have put her over the top in my home state of Pennsylvania.

 

But I wrote articles advising readers to do like me and vote Jill Stein. Does that mean I’m responsible for every Stein vote cast in the Keystone state?

 

No, not really. I may have influenced some people. But I certainly didn’t influence them all.

 

I suppose the bigger question is this: did Stein spoil the 2016 election for Clinton?

 

Let’s look at some numbers.

 

In Pennsylvania, the results went like this:

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 10.21.41 AM
Source: New York Times.

 

Trump got 2,970,733 votes.

 

Clinton got 2,926,441 votes.

 

So he won the state by 44,292 votes.

 

Stein got 49,941 votes – 5,649 more than Trump’s margin of victory.

 

So if every Stein voter had cast a ballot for Clinton, she would have won the state – though she’d still lose the Presidency by 10 electoral votes.

 

But if the same process were repeated even in a few other swing states Clinton lost, the result would change. Clinton would have won and be sitting in the Oval Office right now.

 

Those are just facts. Or at least they’re facts manipulated in a game with counterfactuals.

 

If this had happened, then this other thing would have happened, too.

 

However, it is rarely so clear even with numbers.

 

For instance, Stein ran in 2012, too. She ran against Obama and Romney. She got 20,710 votes in Pennsylvania.

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 10.22.27 AM
Source: New York Times

 

That’s tens of thousands of Green voters who didn’t cast a ballot for centrist Obama. I don’t think it’s fair to assume they would have voted for centrist Clinton, either.

 

So if we subtract that 20,000 from Stein’s 2016 totals, (49,941 – 20,710) you get 29,231 new people who voted Green who didn’t do so in 2012.

 

That’s less than Trump’s margin of victory (44,292).

 

So even if every NEW Stein voter cast a ballot for Clinton, Trump still would have won the state.

 

The point?

 

I don’t think it’s factual or fair to assume Stein or Stein voters gave Trump the election.

 

If I had voted for Clinton, even if I had advised my readers to vote for her, the end result probably would have been the same.

 

These are the things I think about in the middle of the night when sleep won’t come.

 

Is there anything I could have done to change things? In trying to make things better, did I make things worse?

 

I don’t assume I have that much power – either way.

 

I’m just a school teacher with a blog.

 

And that’s why I voted for Stein.

 

Hillary Clinton made her name politically going against teachers unions. She and her husband have done quite a lot to weaken my profession and the school my daughter attends.

 

The national teachers unions may have supported her run for President, but they did so without fairly polling members. Her entire nomination process was marred by unfair and undemocratic practices by the Democratic Party that left many progressive voters who favored Bernie Sanders feeling left out and silenced.

 

I still think THAT more than any scribbling on my blog contributed to her loss.

 

Compared to Trump, Barack Obama was one of the best Presidents we’ve ever had. But compared to Trump, so was George W. Bush. So would be an inanimate carbon rod!

 

However, Obama was not particularly good for education. He and the corporate Democrats favored every anti-union, pro-privatization scheme they could. What a missed opportunity!

 

You’d think our first African American President might do something about school segregation – which has been on the rise in the last few decades. Instead, he helped make it worse by promoting charter schools. You’d think he might do something to stop the school-to-prison pipeline. Instead he helped lubricate it by championing high stakes standardized tests.

 

I think that’s another reason Clinton lost. Many of us were fed up with Obama’s neoliberal policies and wanted a candidate who might change course. Clinton promised only more of the same.

 

Don’t get me wrong. In retrospect, more of the same sounds lovely. Give me that old time Obama neoliberalism over Trump’s neo-fascism, any day!

 

But back in 2016 I thought we had a chance for something more – real hope and change. Was I wrong to vote for a candidate who promised to end high stakes testing and school privatization? Was I wrong to vote for a candidate who promised to fairly fund public schools, provide free college for all and end all student debt?

 

Maybe.

 

I suppose I should have been more frightened of Trump back then. But my anger at the Democrats who continually stabbed me and other progressives in the back outweighed my fear of this buffoon.

 

Perhaps I was wrong in that.

 

I don’t think it’s too much of an assumption to say we all underestimated Trump. We all underestimated how many people in this country would vote for him.

 

So was I wrong to vote for Jill Stein?

 

I still don’t know.

 

I’m sure many people will criticize me for this article. They’ll blame me for every horrible thing Trump does. If I have any point here, it’s that there’s plenty of blame to go around.

 

Perhaps we’d do better fighting against Trump than fighting amongst ourselves.

 

I still believe there is a silent majority of Americans for whom the status quo is unacceptable. Most of us don’t want a wall on our border – we want healthcare for all. Most of us don’t want families separated and undocumented immigrants scapegoated and rounded up – we want a path toward citizenship. Most of us don’t want our democracy subverted and the wealthy to have a greater say in our policies – we want freedom and justice for all.

 

We just need a way to find each other again. We need to find a way to look past any political, social, racial, gender or cultural differences and find a common humanity.

 

What better way to do that than in a common cause?

 

I hope you’ll join me by stopping the recriminations and take on the fight.

 

We may never fully solve the riddle that was the 2016 election.

 

There are political and social lessons to be had. But the most important thing is to remember the value of unity and to hold on to each other tight.

 

We’re all we’ve got.

 


 

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61 thoughts on “I Voted for Jill Stein. Was I Wrong?

  1. I am another Pennsylvanian, like you, who also voted for Stein; especially after the Sanders smack down. It shed light on the whole way the oligarchy and party politics strong arms candidates and voters alike. From the way the lines are drawn in the sand (see: gerrymandering) to having the right type of I.D. at the polls, no wonder so many feel like the odds of winning are stacked against them.

    The manipulation popped open the curtain shielding the wizard a little bit. I am grateful for your bravery in looking back and examining the puzzle–more of us need to do that so it might not happen again. So much for voting one’s conscience when the anxiety makes us feel like we want to kick ourselves afterward (and the lack of sleep does not help either). P.S., Hope you’re feeling better (physically) these days. ~ Blessings! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment, Kathy. And thanks for asking after my health. I actually just had a doctor’s appointment today that went really well. I’ve lost some weight, my BP was really good as was the blood work. In fact, the doc was so pleased he literally gave me a hug. Never had that happen before. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I held my nose as I voted for HRC, and I only placed that vote because I was afraid of the alternative….a Trump Presidency. I was a Bernie fan but knew that voting for Jill Stein was like pissing into the wind. I think we would all be really unhappy if HRC had won, but for different reasons. Don’t beat yourself up about how you decided to vote because at least you exercised your right to place that vote. There were many that decided to stay home because they felt ignored by both parties. The Dems better decide very quickly how they want to play the hand that has been dealt……do they want to work for the good of the general public or do they want to be elected so that they can fight for the interests of big business that will line their pockets. For the meantime, we need to play the hand that has been dealt. If nothing else, the Trump presidency has exposed a lot of dirty politics that has been going on (and escalating) for several decades . I know that’s not really a silver lining, but it’s the only good thing that I see coming out of this mess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa, that’s been my hope, too. At least everything’s all out in the open now. Maybe it will allow us to make some real progress in the years to come. Maybe not, but fingers crossed.

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  3. you are wrong…..TRUMP LOST TO HILLARY 2.8 MILLION VOTES. He won by paying off the ELECTORAL COLLEGE. PERIOD. HE’S A LIAR AND A CHEATER AND SO ARE ALL REPUBLICANS WHO SUPPORT THIS TRAVESTY.

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      • Mr. Singer, I try when I can to help folks on our side gain clarity about how our country works. There’s nothing wrong with the Electoral College. Madison, I believe, added it to the Constitution specifically to stop We the People from irrationally selecting a person like Trump. The Electoral College was yet another wise check and balance. The problem is that We the People perverted its application by, in most states, binding electors to their voters. Thus removing the check-and-balance utility of Madison’s very wise idea. It’s important to remember, I think, that we are a Republic of States and that much of our Constitution was enacted to reflect this. Trump did not steal the election. In fact, we elected him through a combination of wasted 3rd party votes and staying home casting no votes at all mostly because our feelings were hurt by what happened to Bernie Sanders. All relevant stats in firewall states show that Clinton received far fewer votes than did Obama in 2012 during an election year where our voting age population was larger and the importance of voting couldn’t have been higher. So WE elected Trump simply by deciding to take our ball and go home. Were our feelings hurt? Yep. Were we angry about the unethical nature of how the DNC ran the primaries? Certainly. Was anyone upset that a man who was not a Democrat chose to run as a Democrat? Nobody ever thought of that little bit of deceit, did they? Bernie Sanders is a Socialist. And a rather committed one at that. But he’ll change his stripes to advance his own agenda. And nobody will ever say anything about it. The question we should ask ourselves is why such an ethical bunch as we never thought for a second that switching parties to win an election was in any way unethical. Nobody acted properly on our side in the 2016 election. And to prove how little we’ve learned from this, check out Maxine Waters’ recent tirade where she calls for open political violence against the Trump administration. That will certainly hpnthe cause ifiberalism, I’m sure. We stole the 2016 election from ourselves. We’re now stealing the 2018 midterms from ourselves. We may be sensitive and thoughtful and tolerant people but we act like the world is an elememtary school playground and that some adult is going to come along and “make things fair”. But that’s a school yard fantasy. And so is all of the backward-looking conjecture we liberals are still obsessed with almost two years after consciously deciding that Hillary Clinton just wasn’t squeaky clean enough to meet our high moral standards. When Conservatives speak of our smugness and elitism, this is what they’re taking about. We’re so smug and elite, we won’t even elective ourselves into power! And it is precisely because of the way are always looking backward to take refuge in victimhood that we have the government we have today and likely will for the rest of the time you and I and all of our students are alive. I’m really sorry you had a heart attack on Election Day. I had one a few months later but voted and campaigned for Hillary. Actually, like you, I worked very hard for over a year to make sure people didn’t waste their vote on Jill Stein. What’s my point? You and I probably believe almost all the same things. We work in the same profession and probably for the same reasons. But we knowingly worked to cancel each other out in the most consequential election of our lifetimes. So I ask you: Who stole this election from who? Who is stealing the next election from who? What is it about us Liberals that makes us conspire in our diminishment? I think it’s long historic love affair with victimhood. But I’m not of closed mind about this? So what’s your opinion? Why did two people who probably would even enjoy teaching together in the classroom work in diametric opposition to defeat each other instead of the man we (thought) we hated more than we hated ourselves?

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      • Free advice, Mr. Peha, worth every penny. You Hillbots need to get your talking points straightened out. One on hand you are very fond of reminding us that Bernie is a SOCIALIST!!! (OMG, head for the hills!) On the other hand, you also like to point out that Hillary and Bernie voted the same over 93% of the time. So what then does it mean that Bernie is a Socialist if he and Hillary voted the same most of the time? I guess the answer lies in that slim margin in which they voted differently, so let’s take a look at that, shall we?

        Hillary voted for the Iraq War, the Patriot Act and every other war and national security legislation to cross her desk. Sanders voted against most. Hillary voted against regulating and breaking up big banks (in fact, she voted for bailing out the banks). Sanders voted for (and Sanders supported bailing out the American people, not the banks). Hillary voted for punitive immigration “reform”, Sanders voted against. If this is what it means to be a Socialist, then most Americans are Socialists.

        More free advice: if the Democrats want to win, stop running on “No, we can’t!” No, we can’t withdraw from foreign military engagements and stop killing brown people. No, we can’t break up or rein in the big banks and corporations. No, we can’t switch to clean energy and stop destroying our planet. No, we can’t invest in the American people, public schools, higher education, universal single-payer healthcare. NO, WE CAN’T! If you can’t, then why should I vote for you?

        You have to give people something to vote for, not just assume that our votes are owed to you because “we’re not Trump”. People are hurting. Offer help for that (like Bernie did) and people will turn out for you. Otherwise, we’ll stay home, vote third party or, in some cases, even vote Republican. You can be childish about it if you want and accuse us of “tak[ing] our ball and go[ing] home”, but that’s still not going to earn our votes. That’s not how negotiation works. We have something you want. The ball is in your court to figure out how to get it. Otherwise, I hope you’re enjoying Trump because you’re going to see another four years of him.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your own numbers point out the very stark reality of the situation. Jill Stein voters tilted the election to Donald Trump. Now maybe for the purposes of education policy discussion, some may not see a sufficiently clear difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but I wish that we were having a national debate about education policy and the strength of teachers and curriculum rather than have a president who:

    

• Nominated Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education

    • Separated immigrant children from their parents and stored them in cages

    • Nominated Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA and by “lead”, I mean to sell our environment to the highest bidder
    
• Flouts the emolument clause for his family’s enormous financial gain.

    • Curried favor with a Chinese firm by promising readmission to the US market, after Congress banned them for committing national espionage

    • Challenges the freedom of the press
    * Is gaslighting America by normalizing us to an endless stream of lies and misdirections
    * has committed campaign finance fraud by paying his personal attorney to hush a porn star he had sex with, while his wife was at home recovering from the birth of their youngest child
    * Has started trade wars around the globe
    * Legitimized the world’s most brutal dictatorship by meeting with them and signing a meaningless proclamation that is being celebrated in North Korea
    * …and that whole “Russia thing”

    Let me be absolutely clear about this: even if in November of 2020, the United States rises up and elects a progressive who pledges to advance public education, the damage will have been done and cannot be repaired in our lifetime. Trump has alienated our allies and elevated the stature of dictatorships. He has disgraced the concept of American leadership and dismantled the value of an American-signed treaty or commitment. No one who reads this message will live long enough to see America restored as a world leader in any meaningful capacity.

    …”but, you know, her emails”.

    For you history buffs out there, I have a name: Andrew Jackson. All it took to restore America’s stature in the wake of his devastating administration was the Great Depression and World War II.

Recovering America’s standing in the world community after Donald Trump will not nearly be so easy. I was born during the Nixon Administration. I will die in a nation trying to climb back to the world leadership to which America could hang its hat during the darkest days of his impeachment.

…”but the DNC”.

    Look, let’s speak plainly, shall we? There has always been a racist, bigoted, white nationalist undercurrent in this nation. The Donald Trump voter isn’t a new phenomenon. They just never had a Donald Trump to support before. While the GOP has teased and encouraged that group, they’ve never openly courted them before, but that doesn’t change the fact that they represent a minority of this nation’s voters.



    The GOP has another target group: the poorly educated and intellectually challenged. Public education is antithetical to the Republican cause. They are winning their decades-long war against education, and in turn, the victims of that war are their base.

    The “deplorables” and poorly educated, combined, could not and did not elect Donald Trump to the White House.

    Jill Stein voters did. If Jill Stein never existed, would every one of those people have voted for Hillary? If Jill Stein hadn’t sold her particular brand of snake-oil, would the liberal-leaning gullible have seen reason? It’s hard to know, but the facts aren’t.



    Again, the numbers speak for themselves. Those who cast votes for third party candidates own Donald Trump, as much, if not more than those who cast their votes for Trump directly.



    Jill was always nothing more than fool’s gold. She has no relevant leadership experience and in the wake of the 2016 election and the ongoing investigation (reference her refusal to fully cooperate with Congress’ probe into Russian involvement), we now know that she has connections to Russian oligarchs and one wonders if she was nothing more than a “plant”.



    There is a teachable moment for first-time voters and first participants in American elections and that lesson is that sometimes, you have to pick between the lesser of two evils. What looks like a shiny “third way” is a distraction, to be charitable, and honestly, nothing more than a simple lie. If there is a Democratic candidate and a Republican candidate in a national election, those are your choices, without regard to other names on the ballot. If you have to pick between the lesser of two evils, your job as a responsible citizen in a representative democracy, is to pick the lesser of two evils.

    I know that’s the one point that irks Jill Stein voters the most. “Voting your conscious” by selecting a third party candidate is the absolute pinnacle of “white privilege”. Oh sure, you have medical insurance through your employer and your taxes won’t change that much, so yeah, Donald Trump may make you angry, but he won’t -really- hurt you, right? You still have your home, your job, your healthcare, your family, your car. President Donald John Trump isn’t going to keep you from your next shopping trip at Target or postpone your vacation plans. You even get some neat TV coverage out of it. Look at those kids marching and listen to Rachel Maddow smartly eviscerate bad people. It’s all abstract, right?



    Real human lives depended on keeping Donald Trump out of office. You can hear the voices of just some of those real lives here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=39&v=PoncXfYBAVI



    Brought to you by Jill Stein voters.

    The concept of spoilers isn’t even a new concept to the American voting public.

    Ross Perrot voters elected Bill Clinton in 1992.

    Many argue that Ralph Nader voters elected George W. Bush in 2000.

    And Jill Stein voters elected Donald Trump in 2016.

    Now look, I understand if that makes you uncomfortable and I understand if you want to rationalize your vote in the dark hours of this nation’s long night, but your discomfort does not allay your culpability.

    You know the expression about how elections have consequences? The Trump administration and everything that has sprung from it -are- the consequences of every single vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. I repeat something I wrote earlier: those who cast votes for third party candidates own Donald Trump, as much, if not more than those who cast their votes for Trump directly.

    It would be trite to say, “don’t do it again” or “lesson learned”, because the truth is that it doesn’t matter. We cannot and will not recover from this and frankly, we don’t deserve to. America has left a power vacuum and we can only hope that the vacuum will be filled by a nation or group of nations that is kinder and more progressive than we are. Looking around the world, there is very little reason to hope that that will happen.



    I apologize if my tone seems harsh, but I genuinely do not know how else to paint an honest picture of where we are now and why we’re here. I remain a fan of yours and of this blog. No more heart attacks! Take care of yourself. What you do is important. Your voice is important, even if I disagree from time to time. You are important.

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    • Dan, I appreciate your candor and your thoughtful response. We won’t agree on some things, but we agree on quite a bit here. I am really frightened about our future, too, but I am done making predictions. That is one thing this whole affair has taught me. No one knows what the future holds. That’s both comforting and terrifying. We’ll have to face whatever comes together.

      Like

    • I’m sorry Dan, but we should NOT have to place a vote for the lesser of 2 evils. There should be 2 candidates with a clear mission to serve the general public. We don’t have to agree completely with a candidate, but we shouldn’t have to sift through the filth to find an ounce of good. Both sides are nothing but greedy social climbers who don’t give a darn about the common man. They throw us a bone after they have taken the “lion’s share”. It’s wrong! The establishment needs to crumble….and I believe that’s what we are seeing happen right before our eyes. It made me want to vomit when I voted for HRC as I lived through the 1st Clinton administration. I don’t know what’s worse….4 years of nausea or 4 years of fear….both take a toll on the human soul.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ““Voting your conscious” by selecting a third party candidate is the absolute pinnacle of “white privilege”.”

      Is that true when black and Latinx people do it too? What about LGBTQ people, women, poor people and religious minorities? Because an awful lot of people in all of the above categories refused Her Royal Clintonness too, y’know.

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      • Some data for you, dienne77

        According to the Roper Center at Cornell University:

        African-Americans voted 89% to 8% for Clinton
        Hispanics voted 66% to 28% for Clinton

        According to USA Today:

        LGBT voted 78% to 14% for Clinton

        White people, on the other hand, voted 57% to 37% for Trump, so you were saying?

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      • Interesting that you feel okay discounting 11% of African American voters, 34% of Latinx voters and 22% of LGBT voters. I guess all of those people have white privilege. Not to mention, your tallies don’t include the percentage of eligible voters in any category who didn’t vote at all, presumably because they couldn’t find anything worth voting for. But that’s white privilege too, amiright?

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      • dienne77, I admire your tenacity.

        When you argue the facts and the facts fail you, you fall back to the fringe of your argument. Very Trumpian of you, I grant you.

        Or as Al Gore once said, “When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. When you have the law on your side, argue the law. When you have neither, holler.”

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      • Oy vey, Dan. You’re the one trying to claim that not voting for Her Royal Clintonness is, and I quote “the absolute pinnacle of “white privilege”. I pointed out to you that substantial percentages of people who do not have white privilege nonetheless did not vote for HRC. The fact that majorities of each minority group did vote for her does not change the fact that many didn’t. Again, I’ll ask, does that mean that that 11% of blacks and 34% of Latinx people (and all the members of both groups who didn’t vote at all) have “white privilege? If not (and it’s obviously not) then maybe not voting for HRC is not related to white privilege.

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      • Obviously, white privilege applies only to white people and in this case, white voters. That much should be fairly obvious. The extremely important point you’re either missing, dienne77, or evading (I can’t know or assign intent, since I don’t know you) isn’t that minorities of minorities did not vote for Trump or third party candidates.

        The Log Cabin Republicans prove that point every four years.

        There are a number of reasons why people would either vote for Trump or even a third party candidate.

        You’ve got the deplorables and the poorly educated, in addition to self-proclaimed liberals who believed that pro-Kremlin Jill Stein, a person whose leadership experience extends no further than serving as a Town Meeting Representative in Lexington, Massachusetts, was a legitimate or viable candidate.



        Low information voters? I recognize that the crowd that Jill appeals to includes a section of low-information voters. You know, those who believe that the DNC threw the primary for Hillary, despite the fact that Hillary’s -actual- vote differential (completely excluding super-delegates) over Bernie Sanders (for whom I voted in the primary) in the primaries exceeded her vote differential over Trump in the fall. Bernie won a whopping 11 out of 40 primaries, but by all means, let’s blame Hillary for her “coronation”.



        That said, let’s turn back to the statistics. It is true that only 5% of white voters selected a third party candidate in the 2016 election, but uh-oh, here it comes: 70% of 2016 voters were white people. In Pennsylvania, 81% of voters in the 2016 Presidential election were white.



        This demographic single-handedly boosted third party candidates. While not all voters who decided neither of our two legitimate candidates were worthy of their vanity were white, if you were white, well, voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson doesn’t have any real consequences for you, right? As a few commenters have indicated, Donald Trump isn’t the worst thing that ever could have happened. He’s living in your fears and in the headlines, not in your actual life.



        That is hard to argue.



        At least if you’re white.

        

There’s a funny thing about that feeling of safety. It may yet be fleeting. Even for white people.



        “but she didn’t reach out to me”.

        

Uh-huh, I get it. It’s all about you.

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      • “It’s all about you”.

        Oh, no, no, of course not. It’s all about Hillary. It’s always been all about Hillary. It was her turn, don’tcha know. I understand. I get it, you’re with her (insert red arrow pointing right here). Whether she’s with you or not.

        Liked by 1 person

      • National elections are supposed to be about our country. Not you. Not me. Not the candidate.

        Is it just me or do I remember Democratic hero John Fitzgerald Kennedy once saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country”?

        But at least I think I found out where your line of thinking is now. Congratulations on the direction of our country. I hope it was worth it.

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      • “National elections are supposed to be about our country.”

        Agreed completely, which is why I couldn’t vote for a candidate that supported NAFTA, the destruction of Glass-Steagall, welfare reform, 3 strikes, protecting big banks, Monsanto, fracking, privatized prisons, Big Oil, Big Pharma, destroying Libya, the right-wing coup in Honduras, slave wages in Haiti, below living wage minimum wages for Americans, war with Syria, TPP, saber-rattling with Russia, privatized education and on and on and on – I’m sure there’s dozens of issues I’m forgetting at the moment.

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      • And you’ve accomplished your aim by contributing to the election of Donald Trump? Interesting strategy. Let’s see how it works for you.

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      • Yes. See my post below. Sometimes things have to get really ugly before we wake up, realize there’s a problem and get motivated to do anything about it. People have resisted Trump and are likely to continue doing so. Few would have resisted Hillary even though she would have done basically the same things.

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  5. Dan, I voted for Jill Stein too. I voted for her for all the same reasons that you list. I felt safe in my vote because I live in Minnesota, a state that hasn’t gone “republican” for President since Nixon. We will somehow survive Trump just as we survived W. Still…the DNC refuses to change (same as the DFL in my state.) They triangulate to squash hopes of Progressives as they rake in the corporate cash. Stay strong. You did the right thing.

    BTW, I bought two of your books, one for me (a retired substitute teacher) and one for my favorite English teacher in our local high school. Keep up the good work.

    Mike McDonnell

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike, my name is actually Steve, but thank you for buying the books. I hope you and your friend find them helpful. Voting for Jill was more complicated for me because PA is a swing state. Nice to hear from you.

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      • Believe me, I’ve never been so flattered. Steve has met me and knows I couldn’t write a book if you spotted me the pages, the words, the binding, and a publisher. 🙂

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  6. First of all, Hillary was never owed our votes. It was up to her to earn them and she failed to do so. In fact, she blatantly thumbed her nose at us and called us misogynist Bernie Bros. If anyone is responsible for Trump, it is Hillary.

    Second, and more important, there are bright spots about Trump as president. Don’t get me wrong, I hate him as much as anyone. But, he has only continued and expanded what was happening before him anyway. Obama too separated families at the border and put kids in cages (the original pictures that floated around recently were from 2014 in fact). Now, that doesn’t make anything that Trump is doing okay, but Obama was doing it quietly (and, besides, he was Obama), while Trump is doing it openly and noisily (and, besides, he’s Trump), so it’s getting a lot more attention and protest and push back. This is a good thing. We actually now have a half-way decent opportunity to really push back and make genuine change here. That wouldn’t have happened under Hillary. She, like Obama, would have quietly continued to escalate detentions and deportations.

    Similar things can be said about what’s happening in education. Trump and DeVos are so blatantly naked about their goal of eliminating public education that nearly everyone – even affluent white people who could afford to be complacent under Obama or Hillary – is forced to wake up and realize, holy sh–, that means me! Again, King Duncan did as much damage as DeVos, but few noticed and even fewer care. Now we have an opportunity to really rethink what public education is, who it should serve and how it should be administered.

    I’m not saying everything is roses. It won’t be easy. It will get worse before it gets better. But maybe that’s okay. It’s not until a drunk hits rock bottom, losing his job, his family and his dignity before he’s motivated to seek rehab. Similarly, I think our country may have to hit rock bottom before we’re willing to do any self-reflection, so the sooner that happens, the sooner we can begin the climb back up.

    On a final note, be careful of falling into the trap of believing that Trump or any of his cabinet are incompetent. They are intentionally dismantling their offices, not by accident or mishap. It’s what happens when we elect anti-gubmint people to run the government. For example, Trump’s ultimate goal was never to separate every child from every family crossing the border. That’s so messy and people say mean things about him and that hurts his feelings. The goal has always been to detain entire families indefinitely in order to profit off them, but he couldn’t get there until we were exposed to a couple weeks of harrowing stories, pictures and audio of how terrible it would be to separate kids. Now detaining kids with their families sounds so much better, doesn’t it? Now Trump can proceed to build his prison cities, er, excuse me, I mean, family detention centers in peace. His voting base is happy because he’s finally “secured” our borders, and his donor base is happy because think of all the lucrative contracts involved. Win win!

    Unless we stop it, that is, and that’s where the hard work comes in.

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    • I’m realizing my above post is too harsh on Hillary.

      After all, she didn’t do it alone. She had a lot of help from the DNC that anointed her and put its thumb heavily (and illegally) on the scales in her favor. They were so determined not to have a progressive in office that they selected the one person – hell, the one creature – that couldn’t beat Trump. The homeless guy down the street could have beaten Trump. My dog could have beaten Trump. But Hillary couldn’t.

      Incidentally, google “Pied Piper Strategy” for another way in which Hillary and the DNC brought us Trump.

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  7. Two points, the first directed at Dan Gerson: your argument is based on the unprovable and likely false assumption that, had Stein not run, every vote she received would have gone to Clinton. In fact, you’d do much better to look at Penssylvania counties that voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, and then switched to Trump. That’s where the “They’re ALL deplorable racists” line falls apart, and the story becomes more complicated.

    Finally, and directed toward Steven: without attempting to defend Trump in any way, don’t you think you’re being a little forgetful about the awfulness of Bush? A stolen election in 2000, asleep at the wheel in the lead-up to 9/11, passage of the Patriot Act, an invasion of Iraq (based on utter lies) that set the entire region on fire… and on and on.

    Too much of the criticism of Trump is based on style, rather than substance. Yes, he’s gross, contemptible, pathological, etc., and very well may turn out to be the Worst President Ever, but he’s still got some ways to go, and we do nothing to limit his damage by rehabilitating the likes of Bush.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I too voted for Ms. Stein. But I hedged. Altho I disliked Ms. Clintons campaign strategy, she would have gotten my vote if there was a possibility of her losing Illinois to The Donald. Tho Ms.Clinton won only 12 of Illinois 100 counties,( Obama garnered 15 in 2016.) she carried the state by 800,000 votes, so I felt safe in voting my conscience. Please don’t question yourself so harshly. We and Ms. Stein were not responsible for Ms. Clinton’s loss. She did that to herself with her faulty campaigning, or lack of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Question: what specifically is it that people don’t like about Trump? His personality or his policies? I know, I know: yes, everything. But humor me with a thought experiment.

    Let’s say you can push one of two magic buttons. Button 1 will magically transform his personality. He will become eloquent, dignified, statesmanlike. No more tweeting, bloviating, p*ssy grabbing. But it won’t actually change his policies.

    If you push button 2, he will remain the crude, crass, obnoxious, demented caricature we know him as, but he will actually do the good things he promised to do: drain the swamp, bring good jobs to America, get us out of foreign military and trade entanglements, rein in Wall Street, etc.

    Personally I’d choose button 2 in a heartbeat. I’ve never bothered with a Trump tweet and, frankly, his rants would be amusing if he weren’t doing so much damage.

    But it seems like so many people who supported Hillary and who are having conniptions about Trump would go with button 1. After all, that’s basically what we had with Obama and what we would have had with Hillary. Yes, Trump has escalated all of Obama’s bad policies, but that’s all it is: escalation. Obama himself escalated Bush’s bad policies. Do we honestly think that Hillary wouldn’t have further escalated those policies? But she would have done so in a dignified and statesmanlike way, so it would have been better. We could keep up our noble appearances, live in denial a while longer and not be confronted with our own complacency and complicity. Honestly, I think what so many people are upset at Trump for is that his crude crassness has exposed the evil of the policies we’ve been carrying out for decades.

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    • “If you push button 2, he will remain the crude, crass, obnoxious, demented caricature we know him as, but he will actually do the good things he promised to do: drain the swamp, bring good jobs to America, get us out of foreign military and trade entanglements, rein in Wall Street, etc.”

      Are you OK, dienne77? Do you need medical assistance?

      Donald Trump was never going to give you any of your “number 2”.

      Donald Trump was in this for self-aggrandizement and enrichment. Did anyone other than the most knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing bigoted, racist, homophobic nut job ever -honestly- believe that Donald Trump had -any- interest whatsoever in “draining the swamp?

      Donald Trump -is- the swamp! His personal product line is made all over the world and absolutely none of it is made in America. He is the reason the founding forefathers created the emolument clause.

      If you honestly weren’t aware of the breadth and depth of his corruption, may I suggest reading “Russian Roulette” by Michael Isikoff and David Corn.

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    • Hillary wouldn’t have drained the swamp either. She wouldn’t have brought good jobs to America. She wouldn’t have gotten us out of awful military and trade entanglements. She wouldn’t have reined in Wall Street. But you’re okay with all of that from her because she would have been dignified and statesmanlike about it. So you’re voting for Button No. 1. Got it. You don’t mind *what* Trump is doing, just that he’s doing it so crassly.

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      • If you honestly believe that there is no difference at all between the acts of the Trump administration and the acts of what would have been the Clinton administration, then there really is no basis for rational discussion with you. Of course, you voted for Jill Stein.

        What surprises me is that you have even the slightest interest in the main thrust of Steven’s blog – Education.

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      • Of course there would have been a difference – I’ve already said it over and over again. Hillary would have been more dignified and statesmanlike about it. But her record on actual policies and positions is quite clear. She’s never met a war, a free-trade deal, a major bank or a large corporation she didn’t like.

        Anyway, I appreciate your insult as it makes it clear who you are. As much fun as I’ve had chatting with you it’s getting a little boring talking to a brick wall, so I may not respond further. Good day, sir.

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      • Oh, sorry, one more thing. Thank you for exemplifying the type of arrogant, condescending, entitled attitude that drove so many of us from Hillary and her crowd in the first place. Keep it up and we can have four more years of Trump!

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      • I’m sorry, I’m a little hazy on which wars President Hillary Clinton started. My apologies if I’ve kept you from Fox News. Dasvidaniya.

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      • Oh, snap! I *knew* we’d end up with McCarthyism! Thanks!

        So, Steve, having witnessed these exchange, are you in any way reminded of why you didn’t vote for Hillary? 😉

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      • Oh, I’m sorry, am I the meany that caused you to storm off and throw your vote away, helping Donald Trump get elected? Well, you sure showed me, didn’t you!

        And those imprisoned immigrant babies.

        You showed them, too. Your resolve impresses me.

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  10. I don’t regret voting Green for a second. The democrats elevated Trump with their pied piper plan, disenfranchised Sanders and his supporters, and ran with one of the most unpopular choices for a candidate. Instead of attempting to improve or figure out what went wrong, they will blame people like Stein and Nader. Never mind the fact that Gore won Florida and it took the Supreme Court to keep him from winning, or the fact that most third party voters wouldn’t have voted if not for the alternative in choice. 308,000 Democrats in Florida voted for Bush, compared to 24,000 Democrats voting for Nader. 13 percent of registered Democrats voted for Bush! The Democrats don’t say one word about the fact that 13 percent of their own party members voted for Bush. They just continue to blame Nader because it’s easier then examining their flaws. Every time real voter reform is attempted, both parties block it because they fear losing the duopoly. Blaming progressives for trying to change the system is extremely lazy and a fear tactic used by democrats who don’t have any principles of their own to stand on. Maybe if the Democratic Party were actually progressive, they would be able to win progressive votes without stoking fears.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dan, you’re being very disingenuous by rhetorically asking which wars Hillary started.

    Isn’t it bad enough that she voted for the invasion of Iraq?

    Isn’t it bad enough that she supported a right-wing coup in Honduras, which happens to have led directly to the migration crisis from that country? (Funny how we hear no mention of that from Rachel Maddow and the CIA/FBI Democrats who are insuring continued Republican control of the government for the foreseeable future).

    Isn’t it bad enough that she was probably the single most influential person involved in turning Libya from the richest country in Africa into a failed state?

    One could go on, and on…

    Even though I live in New York State, I grudgingly voted for Clinton, mainly because the Green Party is hopeless, even if I happen to agree with its program. But Clinton is really, really awful. She’s so awful, in fact, that enough formerly Democratic voters in reliably Democratic states (such as Wisconsin, where Clinton didn’t even bother to show up) voted for the most unpopular presidential candidate ever.

    That’s quite an achievement, and she didn’t need any help from Jill Stein to accomplish it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It was a mistake. The consequences of electing an abuser were too high to use your vote as a protest. You counted on the rest of us to provide the herd immunity for your upset. As a teacher, I am upset at the failure of my party to protect public schools, too. I wanted it to change as well. You probably had a Russian bot cross your path, intentionally trying to catfish you. You didn’t anticipate the consequences, I know. But bear witness to them. It is the least you can do.

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    • Oh puh-leaze. Enough with the Russian bot nonsense. No one was fooled by a few random posts in broken English. Hillary gave us plenty of reasons all on her own not to vote for her (Steven linked many of those reasons above; there are dozens more).

      Like

    • Dmitri, my Russian control agent, has instructed me inform the readers of this blog that Comrade Putin’s occult powers are so great that he could retroactively control the outcome of the 2016 election by having a majority of his “Russian bots” place ads on Facebook AFTER the election.

      Now, that’s power!

      Oh, and Dmitri also insists that I point out the increased sanctions on Russia, expansion and increased aggressiveness of NATO on Russia’s borders, etc. as proof of Comrade Putin’s control over Comrade Trump.

      He also wants me to urge you and Mr. Gerson to maintain the anti-Russia hysteria and Trump Derangemet Syndrome, at the expense of a positive Democratic program of universal concrete material benefits, since it guarantees continued political control by Comrade Trump and his allies.

      Spasiba.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You know, I really wanted to put this entire discussion behind me, until this last post.

        Michael, every respected intelligence agency in the United States unanimously agrees that not only did the Russians interfere in the 2016 election to throw it to Trump, but in fact, Jill Stein had Russian contacts and was tied into the Congressional investigation into Russian interference. You can scoff at that all you like, except for that photo of Jill Stein having dinner with Russian President Putin and Michael Flynn. https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2017/12/21/that-infamous-moscow-dinner-where-michael-flynn-and-jill-stein-sat-with-putin-utahs-rocky-anderson-was-there-too/

        You talk about increased sanctions, but you either forget or ignore that Congress passed these sanctions unanimously and the Trump administration -still- didn’t enact them until Congress shoved the issue down Trump’s throat. You talk about NATO, an organization that Trump disparages and diminishes, even to this very day

        I’m aware that this is all a big joke to you, Michael. I know that foreign interference is just a “head-fake”, putting you squarely in Donald Trump’s corner, and I would love to just write you off as another Kool-Aid drinking kook and move on, except for one thing.

        All our intelligence agencies tell us that they’ll continue to meddle in our elections to suit their own purposes, and there are two groups who have decided to laugh about it all.

        The MAGAs and you.

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      • Well, if the intelligence agencies say so, I’m sold. They’ve never lied to us before. Thanks, you’ve converted me.

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      • So many falsities and fallacies, so little time!

        But, just for shits and giggles, “Every respected intelligence agency…”, is a classic, even if it’s preposterously false on multiple levels. Like I said, CIA/FBI Democrats….

        Keep getting your political talking points from Rachel Maddow (especially when she starts touting her Stanford pal, Cory Booker, for the presidential nomination), and see how that works out for you this November and in 2020…

        Liked by 2 people

      • “CIA/FBI democrats”???? Two of the most Republican-led organizations in this country not named “The Heritage Foundation?

        OK, I retract my previous statement.

        You actually are a Kool-Aid drinking kook.

        Look, I will give you and dienne77 this. While I’m trying to help repair the country from within the only foundation that history has ever shown successful, you are trying to burn the entire nation to the ground.

        Guess what, you’re winning.

        I truly hope you’re reaping what you have sown.

        Where you have sadly miscalculated is that you seem to believe that a Phoenix can rise from the ashes of the fire you set. This is where you are mistaken. You and I will not live long enough to see America restored to the mantle of a world leader.

        It would take a cataclysm that makes World War II look like a hockey fight to salvage the United States. All we’re doing is arguing over who gets the last piece of burnt stuffing at Thanksgiving.

        This is what you wanted. Well, this is exactly what you got and what you deserve.

        It is not, however, what migrant families wanted or what babies ripped from their mothers’ arms wanted or deserved, but you made their decision for them.

        But I get how you think, I really do. It was on Melania’s coat yesterday.

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      • Hmm, I explicitly stated that I voted for the sainted Hillary, yet somehow I’m still responsible for Trump?

        I know I’m demonic, Dan, or at least that you think I am, but how does that political Black Magic work, exactly?

        Back in the mists of ancient history, like maybe ten years ago, a significant portion of the Democratic Party was rightly skeptical of claims made by intelligence agencies like the CIA and political police (read some history if you think that’s an exaggeration) like the FBI.

        But now, in order to maintain control of the Democratic Party and distract voters from the fact that they have lost all three branches of the federal government and two thirds of state governments in less than ten years, (high-credentialed Losers that they are, who’d sooner see the Repugs in power than the Left wing of their own party), the Clinton/Obama wing of the Democrats is more than willing to ally with neo-cons and zombie Cold Warriors for temporary, if destined to fail, political advantage.

        A failing bid at political misdirection and advantage (which Democrats in red states are already calling a waste of time, at best) that is nevertheless successfully ratcheting up tensions between two nuclear powers.

        How does that reflect on your swollen sense of political virtue, Dan? Feeling politically virtuous about that, too? After all, not so long ago Democrats thought it was a good thing to minimize tensions and engage with Russia, no matter how totalitarian its government.

        But go ahead with the name-calling and sanctimony and unproven charges of Trump/Russian collusion, since it’s been so successful for all of us recently, especially in states that at one time voted Democratic. Meanwhile, every time Trump is Hitler, or has dementia (remember that one? yeah, good times), or every time Maddow, et.al. hyperventilate over another soon-to-be-discredited claim about Russiagate – Russian troll farms buying ads after the election equals Pearl Harbor, for example – you are the ones further inoculating Trump against his actual crimes, and insuring your continued political irrelevance.

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      • I owe you an apology, Michael.

        I did not see where you voted for Hillary.

        I have clearly become overheated about this argument and I apologize to you.

        One statement is that, until the Mueller investigation is completed and made public, we cannot state that collusion charges are unproven. The Michael Isikoff / David Corn book, Russian Roulette makes a very clear, very compelling, and deeply researched case for collusion, so for Mueller to determine that no collusion took place, this book will have to be completely discredited. If that comes to pass, I will accept that judgment.

        In the meantime, my studied and deep anger at Jill Stein voters for putting principle above nation and progress has gotten the better of me in my reply to you, Michael, and I apologies for that.

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      • I accept your apology, but must nevertheless point out that the Isikoff/Corn book relies on the uncorroborated and largely discredited Steele report for much of its argument, so for me that transacts at about a 99% discount.

        But if we’re going to discuss the Steele Report, which was partially sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, please answer me this: since Steele openly claims that he relied on “sources inside the Russian government,” how is that any less collusion than what Trump is accused of? After all, since all government sources in Russia are by definition “close to Vladimir Putin,” how is the DNC’s paying for that report not “collusion to affect the election” if it resulted from “sources inside the Russian government?”

        Now, I don’t think it was collusion; it was run of the mill dreck political oppo research, but why is the framing of that so different from the ever-shifting accusations of collusion regarding Trump? Russiagate is a procession of sketchy, often preposterous claims later walked back or refuted, of constantly moving goal posts, and the deceptive conflation of very different events. Even more disheartening, it’s a mirror-image of the impervious-ness to facts and reason seen among die-hard Trump supporters: “MSNBC: Fox News For Liberals.”

        I strongly urge you to give up on the magical thinking that leads people to think that Robert Mueller (who abetted Bush’s lies about Iraqi WMD’s when he led the FBI) is going to save us. That can only be done by we ourselves, and thinking that the likes of Mueller and “the Intelligence Community” are our saviors is a dangerous delusion that helps Trump and the worse that’s to follow if he’s not stopped.

        That can only be done by educating, organizing and mobilizing the American people, among whom there will be Trump voters. It won’t come about by looking for Putin under your bed, or striking morally superior poses, or cursing Trump at a Broadway awards ceremony honoring a show where the tickets cost $850 and up, or investing magical powers in spooks and respectable liars.

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  13. “HRC warned us”—cool, cool. But if this was foreseeable on her part, why did she “elevate” DJT as a “pied piper” candidate? Why did she prevent those better positioned to beat DJT from advancing? Why did she run at all? It would seem that she is the sine qua non of our troubles.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m tired of being blamed for Clinton’s loss. Thanks for writing what I’ve thought. I’m a blue dot in deep red Tennessee who hangs onto my sanity (barely) by commiserating and working with a tiny, yet vocal, group of fellow progressives (several of whom are educators). Bernie or Jill didn’t lose the election for Clinton. The Russians “lost” it for her, IMHO.

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  15. HRC did not even try to come after the progressive voters. If she wanted their votes she would have campaigned for them. If she really wanted their votes she would have compromised for the American people. She was working for her Wall Street donors only. Her selection for VP was a Wall Street man. If she was really running for the people, she would have selected Sanders or Warren as her VP. She was not a candidate for the people. She lost her own election by her own choices. It is no ones fault but hers.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This analysis demonstrates that third party voters did NOT swing the election to Trump: http://thirdeyestrategies.com/?p=819

    Honestly though, you shouldn’t feel you have done wrong as you voted for the best possible person to represent your political beliefs.

    Did you know that 9% of REGISTERED Democrats voted for Trump? Instead of pointing the finger at the minuscule number of people who voted for third party candidates, the Democratic Party should be doing some real soul searching to determine why 1 out of 10 people in their own party voted for that monster. They should also be beating the drum constantly on voting rights, as gerrymandering, voter purges, closing polling locations, and the electoral college are just some of the means being used to suppress voting (not to mention some people who think they voted are not having their votes counted). While the Republicans have been actively suppressing votes for decades, we know from the primaries that the Democrats used many of the same strategies to elect their favored candidate. Finally, the Democrats should make restoring voting rights to people released from prison a major issue as millions of American citizens can’t vote if they want to, and most of them are adults who lost the franchise due to non-violent offenses committed when they were young. The largest increase in mass incarceration in US history occurred in the 1990s under legislation promoted by Bill and Hillary Clinton, so they probably shot themselves in the foot since a lot of those people may have voted for Clinton if they could.

    So to sum up, the Democrats need to focus on making sure that every adult American citizen can vote and have their vote candidate, and then give them someone worth voting for, rather than pissing and moaning about Jill Stein.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. You don’t need to worry about your vote, Steve. Nader was blamed for causing Gore to lose. A study was published that debunked the myth that any third party could have an effect on el. results of the two major parties. It was pretty detailed. It demonstrated that the party members who stay home or vote against their candidate always outnumber the voters who vote for the marginal parties.

    Liked by 1 person

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