Good morning. I don’t have time today for a long post, which is a shame, because people brought up a lot of great points. So let me just issue a few quick thoughts.
1.) Vote today! And please bring your iPhone or a camera with you. Depending on where you live, there will be operatives- largely from the Republican campaign- who will try to sabotage your right to vote. They will often try to intimidate you with blatant lies (a classic from my college days: You will lose your financial aid if you vote outside your district). The long lines you might have seen in Florida? Those are tools of voter suppression, and the only way to respond to those actions is to vote.
2.) After the election Democracy does not end at the polls, it begins there. With the election in the rearview mirror we need to mobilize at the local, state, and national level on any and all issues that are important to us. President Obama is a politician; politicians don’t stand by the people who will stay silent when he does something they don’t like. The louder we are, the more we can do on the issues that matter.
3.) The system is broken and Jill Stein won’t completely fix it Got a few responses to my blog on Sunday, and perhaps the most compelling was this question: “What exactly would a Jill Stein Administration look like?
It’s a fair question, and I think there’s little doubt that a President Stein would be stymied by conservative Republican and Democrats in Congress. (Though I think a true Progressive in the Presidency might actually mobilize the Progressive Caucus in the House, which is the House of Representatives’ largest and perhaps most powerless caucus.)
But as my post illustrated, so much of presidential power in the 21st century is unchecked by Congress. That’s just the reality. And here Stein- should she keep by her promises- would have great effect. Civil liberties and foreign policy are areas over which any President has great control and so I’d rather have a President who is speaking my language on these issues than one who is not. In a government this gridlocked, that is the most you can hope for. (That includes, by the way, building the base of progressive parties and progressive Democrats in your local races.)
4.) President Obama will win- For however many or few who are reading this, understand something: Obama is going to win. That’s not my intuition or my guess, that’s Nate Silver running multiple statistical analyses of recent polls and saying President Obama has a 90% chance of winning. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying or just plain stupid.
5.) Vote for the electoral college victory? This is an idea I’ve heard. Maybe President Obama will win, but by how much? We need to give President Obama a big win, so he can do a lot of stuff, or at least the Republicans will have less to be mad about.
This argument doesn’t sway me for several reasons
1.) Any anger the Republicans have will be sound and fury, signifying nothing. They still won’t win the Senate, and they’ll still keep the House. In short, very little about an Obama second term will change (he will not do more or less for us), based on whether he gets 49.9% of the vote or 50.1% of the vote.
2.) The angry portions of the Republican base are, at this point, so irrational that attempting to vote to somehow placate their anger, or give Obama power against them is wholly meaningless. They have thought President Obama was illegitimate since day one, and they will think he’s illegitimate after this election, no matter what we do. (VOTER FRAUD! KENYA! SOCIALISM!)
For what it’s worth, if President Obama loses the popular vote, I propose progressives take this as an opportunity for dialogue and use that to end the Electoral College for the next election. There’s no reason for us to stand firm behind a broken system, just because it helped our guy this time around. That is the mistake Republicans made in 2000, and that mistake may well come around to bite them in the ass in this election.
Okay that’s all I have for now. More opinions later! Good luck at the polls, everyone!