What Would Sanity Do? How We Can Choose the Greater Good on Election Day

“You can count on Donald Trump to be unaccountable to anyone.” — Swami Beyondananda

When Trudy and I lived in a small town in the Texas Hill Country for eight years, the currency of connection with the locals at the post office was humor. Since jokes had to be clean and Baptist-appropriate, Aggie jokes were popular. Aggies, for you non-Texans, were the Texas A&M agricultural students who had a reputation for being “clue-deficient.”

In considering our current political shituation, an Aggie joke comes to mind.

An Aggie comes home unexpectedly and finds his wife in bed with his best friend. He goes to the bureau drawer, pulls out a gun and points it at his own head. The wife and friend laugh. The Aggie says, “What are you laughing at? YOU’RE NEXT!”

And my point?

Those angry Bernie supporters who are so turned off by Hillary that they plan to vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or even Darn Old Trump may be shooting themselves — and indeed the entire body politic — in the head.

First of all, I’ve been a “tie-dyed-in-the-wool” Bernie supporter throughout the campaign, and I still am. And I recognize Bernie’s deeper strategic purpose behind his presidential bid: to launch and empower a people’s movement to address the unchecked, unbalanced and unmitigated power of money in politics. In addressing this fundamental corruption, we address every other issue where the power of money has “trumped” (pun intended) common sense, common values and the wellbeing of the commonwealth.

Fracking … GMOs … The unquestioned power of the military industrial complex and the war machine … Climate change and the clear and present dangers of global warming … The promotion of fossil fuels and repression of renewables … An unhealthy, uncaring “health care” system where drug companies rule, and the Martin Shkreli’s and Mylan’s of the world can boast, “We upped our profits — up yours!” Sociopathic institutions like Wells Fargo punishing their employees for not being sociopaths …

All of this institutional insanity can only be overgrown through a grassroots movement like Our Revolution, the one Bernie launched in August. Ralph Nader didn’t turn his presidential campaign into a movement in 2000, and Obama failed to enroll millions of already-mobilized supporters in 2008. Nor have Jill Stein and the Green Party done much to ignite and sustain a movement.

Thanks to Bernie, there is such a movement now, one that will only grow in influence, and will give America not so much a new third party but a new FIRST party.

And here is the catch.

There is a simple first step in activating this plan that will build upon our political will for a just, fair, transparent and functional government … electing Hillary Clinton president.

Once elected, Hillary will be accountable to the Bernie faction, PARTICULARLY if they mobilize in great numbers as they “vote past” her for the greater good of all. Trump — as should be apparent by now — is accountable to no one. A Trump presidency will be disruptive, but NOT in the way that those who wish to confront the corporate state hope. It will foment toxic chaos, hatred, misunderstanding, and disinformation, as it already has. It will sweep into power the detritus of racism, sexism, and backwardism of all varieties. It will be a hole that may be too deep to dig out of. Trump has the potential and “poisonality” to make himself dictator. He mistakes temper for temperament, and his “demeanor” is … da meanest.

And if he is impeached? Then we will have President Mike Pence. And as the old camp song goes, jolly, jolly no pence, is pence enough for me.

It is time for rightfully disappointed and upset Bernie voters to think and act strategically so that we have a sustainable movement that begins with the advantage of having someone in office who is standing on a platform that supports our values and programs. This is the winning combination. A burgeoning movement of awakening voters, and a politician who REQUIRES their support for re-election.

And here is something else that progressive voters need to appreciate: We are in the majority.

There’s a very interesting interview with conservative political scientist Samuel Goldman  who says that hard-core Trump supporters comprise about 30% to 40% of the electorate who are enraged because they think they should be the majority — but they are not.

This explains the Republican obstructionism over the past 8 years, and why the Republican establishment had to choose Sarah Palin as VP in 2008. Of course, anyone who has seen Donald Trump in action, recognizes that he makes Sarah Palin look like Eleanor Roosevelt.

No wonder Gary Johnson now polls at 9%, where Jill Stein is at 3%. It’s as if the collective subconsciously realizes what a dangerous wild card Trump really is. Those smart Republicans I know who have been talking about voting for Trump — well, maybe after the first debate they are slinking or even running away. (I noticed that the Republicans trying to rationalize supporting Trump at the convention sounded a lot like battered wives covering for their husbands.)

So now is the time to dump Trumpism over the cliff so we can move on once and for all. Now is the time for we Berniecrats to vote our conscience and take responsibility as the MAJORITY. No, voting our conscience isn’t registering a “protest” vote for a candidate that cannot and will not win. It is looking beyond the frustration and disappointment, using what we have to work with — a binary, this-or-that vote — to choose the open door to positive possibilities. The Bernie revolution — the prize we need to keep our eye on — will only succeed if we take this small (yet great) strategic step now, so that we create the greater good in the future.

To those who ask, “Should I hold my nose and vote for Hillary?” I say, “Yes. Hold your nose, and open your eyes.”

A physician would recognize that when confronted with an acute condition and a chronic one, you address the acute one first … because if you don’t, you might not get a chance to deal with the chronic one. Donald Trump represents the acute danger of fascism, racism and divisiveness. Hillary represents the chronic condition of a corporate state beholden to the power of money. Let’s take on the first danger first, and we will have the strength and momentum to face the more entrenched one.

Let’s begin with a WIN, take credit for the win, and move ahead from there.

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