Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, while Hillary is most likely the democratic candidate–although Sanders still has a chance and can shift the Democratic Party towards more progressive stances. But some disillusioned liberals are deciding to vote for Trump if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, for various reasons. I will address two separately:
1. “They want to hasten the collapse of the system.” Also known as, “They want to speed up the revolution.” – I remember thinking this way. I wanted to overthrow the whole system because I didn’t think it worked at all and only benefited the rich. So I understand the sentiment. But this viewpoint fails to consider that the system works most of the time, is stagnant some of the time, and fails some of the time. It’s not perfect. But a number of basic human needs are annihilated when a society goes through a revolution. Water, fire departments, cops, regulation of businesses in regards to how they treat their workers, how they dispose of waste, etc, regulation of criminals in regard to businesses and the public, and so on. Societies that have gone through legitimate revolutions lose these things for a time period. If a revolution is successful, they are regained, but there is still a period of social upheaval and unrest.
But the most important thing to consider is that if society actually did collapse under Trump, many people will die. Revolutions are never bloodless, and people will die as both sides struggle for power and society struggles for the lower entropic state of stability. This is not a scare tactic; it’s a simple truth of what societies go through when there is massive social change in the form of revolutions. And I think that people who seriously call for revolutions should understand their consequences.
2. “A Clinton presidency only maintains the status quo.” – If you’re a liberal in America, your life has undoubtedly benefited from the status quo. Public schools, public universities (which, while still expensive, are far less expensive than private schools), police protection, fire departments, clean water, clean air, an overall lack of crime interfering with your daily life, the elevation of personally relatable cultural norms to the predominate conversation–these are all products of the status quo. So is legal protection for car loans, credit cards, and mortgages so that the bank can’t jack up the rates. And not being fired for being LGBT or atheist. These are all part of the status quo too.
And while the “status quo” includes how banks currently operate and their influence of politicians, it also includes the basic functioning of a society. We cannot pick and choose what Trump keeps and what he doesn’t when elected. So if we throw out the entire status quo, we lose all the good stuff too.
In essence, Liberals that are voting for Trump are doing so against their own interest–an action ironically investigated at length by Liberals about Conservatives, especially in the early aughts (see, What’s the Matter With Kansas?). Voting against your own interests could simply be described as idiotic (if you wanted a TLDR of that book, or this article). But upon closer examination we can see that it’s actually more similar to the rhetoric of Islamic extremists, a group of people America has colloquially grouped under the term “Terrorists.” I will use this name here, although I include anyone who shares the logical mindset, without regard to religion. By this definition, many other groups not normally considered terrorists could be included here.
(Note: I am completely leapfrogging the discussion that America’s wars and drone strikes are effectively terrorism for brevity. Although I encourage the reader to consider the equality of death by suicide bomber and death by air strike).
Terrorists, as I’m defining them, are usually the minority in a totalitarian society. In societies consisting of democratic majorities, decisions require evidence, support, and are decided in a public or congressional discussion. In Totalitarian societies, the government decides courses of action and the people are forced to follow. Since there is no other recourse, such as voting or public activism, for people to influence the government, a sect of people–who are usually religiously and economically suppressed as well–will result to terrorist actions. Moreover, they often follow their government in regards to a conversation about what should be done: they refuse to discuss it. There is no middle ground. There is no conversation. There is what the “terrorists” demand and the society’s eventual acquiescence or refusal. It is all or nothing.
And this is the exact same rationale that Liberals who are voting for Trump are following. They want Bernie Sanders and if they don’t get him then they’ll burn the whole system down. There is no compromise–which would be a Clinton Presidency–there is only their way or the destruction of everything. It’s the same black and white ideological viewpoint that Bush Jr used to start two unjust wars and kill millions of people. It’s the same rhetoric that allows Islamic extremists to write off the entire western world as infidels. And it’s the same rhetoric that Congressional Republicans have followed for the eight years of Obama’s presidency, refusing to work with him in any way and stone walling appointments and bills because it’s their way or the collapse of the system (see, Obamacare).
Consider the compromise of a Clinton presidency. She will get to appoint three supreme court justices, which will shift the court liberal for the next 50 years. This will drastically change the legal and political conversation in this country for the better. Consider her inarguable political experience. Consider that weed is still illegal on a federal level, and that any president can send in the national guard to shut down dispensaries if they wish (or help to legalize weed on a federal level). Consider all the basic human needs that the status quo provides. And consider the eight years when Bush Jr was president and the government never did anything to benefit the left, or the working class, and the entire political conversation in this country was shifted to the imbecilic wailings of a 3rd grade class.
We must be willing to have a conversation for society to function, and we must be willing to compromise. Is a Clinton presidency the best thing for progressives? No–she will undoubtedly be influenced by corporate interests. But does it continue eight years of economic prosperity, nuanced conversation, and experienced, intellectual leadership? Yes. And that’s why liberals should help Sanders influence the Democratic Party’s platform, and push it as left as possible, but also vote for Hillary, not Trump, in November.