2016 Election Round-Up: We’re Totally Fucked

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Categories:  Politics
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I’ve spent over a year arguing on the internet about the 2016 election. I’m exhausted and can’t wait for it to be over. This post has a few intentions:

  • Define how I came to the conclusions I am at today
  • Discuss controversial topics that have come up
  • Clear up common misconceptions
  • Offer my responses to common dissenting talking points
  • Give me an excuse to use an appropriate quantity of expletives to discuss this situation (I hope the title set the tone for this adequately)

Let’s start with the obvious.

I’m voting for Hillary in the 2016 Election.

Hillary makes silly faces when she sees the balloons drop at the DNC 2016
Whoa! Even you, Corry!?

I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary for the 2016 election. I’m not excited about voting for Hillary, but I wasn’t excited about voting for Obama or Kerry either. You can’t always ever get what you want. In hindsight, I’m actually pretty happy with Obama’s presidency too. I’m hoping — as hard as an atheist can hope — that Hillary is similarly pleasantly surprising.

This wound is an old one for me and I’ve already suffered through the pains that new voters are experiencing this time around. They’re recent enough to remember clearly, and I’m sure if I sent this post back in time to 2004 or 2008, my younger self would scoff at it. I don’t expect to change any minds or votes for the 2016 election here.

Funny thing is, if I ever actually DO see a candidate I support win the nomination of a national party I might immediately have second thoughts. Would becoming part of the majority be an indication that I was losing touch? I’m curious about how I would even handle that, but that’s something to worry about in 2024 I guess.

But why!?

The 2016 election, animated

There is a popular meme circulating in conservative and pissed off Bernie fanatic circles that I can’t stand. It’s the “Give me one reason to vote for Hillary without mentioning Trump” one.

As a wannabe political literate 20-year-old spouts this one-liner off to you, he pushes up his thick-black-rimmed glasses and crosses his arms. A smug smirk wraps itself around his jaw involuntarily, and you can just tell that in his mind he’s thinking “check. mate.

After giving them one of the dozens of reasonable answers one might have for voting for Hillary in the 2016 election, we’d still see them paste this meme in other threads. We’ll still see them act like the multiple answers they receive don’t count for some reason. But I digress.

In no particular order, here are my reasons (none of which mention Trump):

  • Pro Choice
  • Pro-LGBT
  • Compassionate immigration reform
  • Repeal Citizens United
  • Appoint liberal Supreme Court Justices
  • Protect ObamaCare
  • Criminal justice reform
  • More foreign policy experience than any other presidential candidate in my lifetime
  • Student loan reform
  • Protecting social security
  • Pro-science, especially to fight Alzheimer’s
  • Pro-science, opposes generic GMO labeling
  • Improving Women’s rights
  • Increasing the minimum wage
  • Fighting climate change and preparing for its consequences
  • Barrack Obama endorsed her
  • Elizabeth Warren endorsed her
  • Bernie Sanders endorsed her

It’s easy to lose track of these issues when we spend 6 months in the primaries differentiating the details between two very closely aligned candidates. Bernie wanted $15 when Hillary wanted $12.50 for the minimum wage, but let’s not forget the other side wants $0 (or at least +$0). There is still plenty to fight for in November.

Whether or not Hillary is able to make good on the causes she claims is impossible to know. Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay after all. They’re all filthy politicians in the end, and if you believe your candidate of choice is any different you’re naive.

Opposition

I spent most of the last year talking about all the reasons NOT to vote for Hillary. I’m fully aware of every shitty thing she’s done in her career. Keep in mind, I was against her in 2008 too. I only needed to stay up to date on 8 years of new material after that.

Beating a Dead Horse

I’m done talking about it. Not because I’m “afraid of the truth” as some basement-dwelling conspiracy theorists might say. Not because it isn’t relevant either. It’s very relevant, and I’ll continue to inform people of those problems if it seems like they don’t know about them even as I’m walking to the polling station this November.

I’m not talking about the bad side of Hillary anymore because I no longer have another horse in the race. She’s the nominee and now my goal is to get her elected.

Maybe I’ll vote for a Republican in 2020 if they somehow shake off the last 12 years of bullshit and get a qualified nominee for the first time in my lifetime. Maybe Rubio will run again and this time lay off the tea party and religious pandering. Perhaps we’ll finally have the technology to clone Dwight Eisenhower and let him run things again. Both are probably equally likely.

Hillary is far from an ideal candidate, but she’s highly qualified and it’s all too obvious that she’s worked harder and smarter than anyone else to get where she is. She knows how to play the game of politics very well. And that’s an important skill for a president. She’s cunning, calculating, and ruthless. As much as we may want to hide that aspect of ourselves, it is certainly a defining characteristic of how we view success in our country.

So, you win again Clintons. You’ve put me into a position where I have a moral imperative to vote for you. Look forward to me harassing you constantly about doing the things Bernie would have done. I became a registered Democrat this year for him, so look forward to hearing this voice in the same room with you now.

I feel that I’m appropriately ashamed of myself for this.

Feeding the Trolls

And now, for fun, a list of internet arguments I constantly have.

Internet Argument Winner

Both parties are pretty much the same!

Really? So you just started following politics like 2 minutes ago and have only read one comment thread, right? You can’t possibly think this as a sane human being without being grossly misinformed.

Maybe you feel left out. Maybe you feel like me, where I’m actually farther left than the democrats on many issues, and I don’t have a party or candidate that speaks to my specific set of issues. Perhaps you’re farther right or completely off the charts, but I think most people feel that no candidate truly speaks for them.

But there’s only one president. Compromise is part of living together in a society. I’ve lived with my wife for over a decade now, and just getting two people to compromise on things is sometimes excruciating. With politics you just have to choose the person that is closest to your ideals. And in case of a tie, you choose the one least harmful to those ideals.

At some point in every major election, you’ll likely realize that your ideal candidate doesn’t have a chance of winning. It’s heartbreaking. It fucking sucks. At that point, you can decide for yourself whether you want to round your self down to take the compromise in the nominee or you can choose to plant your feet firmly in the resentful losing side. You might think that the latter is the honorable thing to do. You might be right. But history is written by the winners. No one will ever honor you for holding your ground. Your dissenting voice will fall on deaf ears.

As someone who tries to vote in my own best interest — and what I feel are the best interests of my diverse friends and family — I’d rather have my vote actually count for something. (Too bad I live in California, where my vote doesn’t actually count for much anyway)

Hillary laughed about a rapist she defended!

She was a criminal defense lawyer. This was shop talk. Doctors laugh about stuff non-doctors would find fucked up too. Soldiers do it, programmers do it, gamers do it. It’s called gallows humor. It’s usually ugly when it spreads outside the in-group.

Did you listen to the actual tape? If so, you can tell pretty easily that what she’s laughing about isn’t “Haha! I got this rapist off!” as much as you might want to believe that. Sure, you could warp it to your world view. I was expecting to hear a diabolically evil lawyer cackling with delight when I first listened to it while deciding whether to share it on my social media feeds or not. I opted not to, because it struck me as bullshit, and I turned out to be mostly right.

Hillary Clinton's laugh face
She does still have a terrifying cackle though…

Hillary cheated and stole the Democratic Primary from Bernie!

It sucks to lose an election you’re so passionate about, but that doesn’t mean your opponent cheated. No, the primaries were not rigged. We should make an effort after the 2016 election is over to improve how we manage our future elections, but this wasn’t some betrayal of Bernie. This was math.

Winston Churchill Quote: "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

Besides, this isn’t a new accusation. Many liberals still say that Gore won the 2000 election (that I was a few months too young to vote in), but no one actually seems to give a shit anymore. Even if it were true, it would open up a can of worms that plunges the country into complete disarray to ever actually admit it. Perhaps we need that disarray, but I’m not holding my breath about it actually happening.

It’s sometimes hard to grasp, but no one reading this (no one that actually cares about politics) is in touch with the average voter. This leads us to lose faith in humanity on a national scale every two years or so. Even more often if you live in a state with referendum votes like me.

The losing side always does this, by the way.

Hillary used her political connections to avoid FBI prosecution!

Hillary-Clinton-aka-Butcher-of-Benghazi-to-America-laws-are-for-poor-people

Yup. You’re right. But this is pretty much as far from unprecedented as you could get. No, it shouldn’t be okay for politicians, celebrities, and the wealthy to do this. But this has been our reality for a very long time. At the very least, it’d be nice if they put a bit more effort into hiding it from us.

How do we fix it? Your guess is as good as mine.

Seems to me this has been happening since the moment one of us found a giant black monolith outside our cave. The Catholic church sold indulgences. Kings and nobility did whatever they wanted while punishing their serfs for anything they saw fit. It’s hard to even imagine what a society without classes would look like.


Quick Aside: Poverty and Class Warfare

My political goal is not so much to get rid of the classes in our society, since it seems impossible. I’m focused more on making it suck far less to be on the bottom of the totem pole. I want to focus on the social safety net, reducing the percentage of our population in poverty, and eliminating homelessness.

There will always be poor people. It will always suck to be poor by comparison to the other classes. At the very least, we should make being poor in the U.S. less of a downward spiral and punish those that would profit from torturing the people stuck in that spiral.

The rich will always have privileges that the rest of us don’t. At the very least, we should strive to remove government officials that we catch enabling or taking advantage of it. A shame we couldn’t do it this year.

(I’ve been working on an article about these topics for a couple of months, and it’ll eventually come out. I just need to make it more succinct.)


Hillary was extremely careless with her emails!

Yup. She was. So are most people. Hell, the government email system that she should have been using is actually less secure than my Gmail account. So even if she were using the proper servers and software, we were still at risk.

Keep in mind, none of these candidates support encryption. They are both technological buffoons. The only person with even close to a sensible response to the issues of cybersecurity during the 2016 election primaries was Marco Rubio:

It’s a very very complicated issue and I’ll you why, it’s about encryption. Today, there’s encryption out, I think it’s standard on the new Apple and what it does is it protects your privacy. If you lose your iPad, if you lose your phone; no one can hack into and get your information. So that’s why it’s there.

Here’s the thing though, if you require by law – if we passed a law that required Apple and these companies to create a backdoor – number one, criminals could figure that out and use it against you. And number two, there’s already encrypted software that exists, not only now but in the future created in other countries. We would not be able to stop that.

So there would still be encryption capabilities. It just wouldn’t be American encryption capabilities, but people in this country could have it. So that’s why this is such a difficult issue because on the flip-side of it, there might be valuable information on that phone from the San Bernardino killers that could lead us to preventing future crimes or future attacks – future terrorist attacks.

Every other candidate in the 2016 election primaries has an idiotic “ban encryption” style response or a non-answer that just says “We should work with the techies and figure something out.” Rubio at least seems to understand the issue in more detail than the rest.

So if you actually care about cybersecurity, you have no good options for president in the 2016 election. And that didn’t change on the days of the major party conventions.

And if you’ve hurled this argument out there to bash another candidate, but you didn’t know that your preferred candidate in the 2016 election would back policies that are just as risky even more dangerous to national security… you’re an ignorant asshole.

Fuck this. I’m voting third-party!

Sore Losers

Were you planning to vote Republican in the 2016 election? If so, go for it. The GOP desperately needs to become a Grand New Party, and throwing support behind Gary Johnson might pull them in that direction in the future if they lose the 2016 election.

Were you planning to vote Democrat in the 2016 election? Hold on a second.

No, a vote for Jill Stein (or writing in unwilling Bernie Sanders) in the 2016 election is not a vote for Trump. Anyone telling you that is bad at math. However, it is subtracting a vote from a viable liberal candidate. Viable meaning “has the mathematical possibility of winning” in this context.

Have you been following #brexit? Have you seen the videos of all the idiots that protest voted for the exit and afterward regretted it? Many of the people now saying they’ll vote for third-party candidates are even using #demexit as their hashtag! I have no idea why anyone would do that to themselves willingly.

I just don’t trust her.

Good! Why the fuck would you trust any politician!? If you trust Trump or Bernie or Gary Johnson or Jill Stein you’re just as much of a fool as if you trusted Hillary. The problem is, we have to choose one of these miserable, lying, conniving bastards to run things or dumber people will choose for us.

A Better Way to Elect

After November, we need to continue to push for electoral reform. We need to get away from the electoral college and rid ourselves of the battleground state forever. We need to make the primary election process more transparent and uniform across the entire country.

Support organizations and people who promote transparency. Speak out about protecting whistleblowers, even when they expose someone within your party affiliation.

And if we really want to make large strides forward, I suggest we change our ballots entirely to the Condorcet Method. I highly recommend reading up on it if you’re interested in getting away from “lesser of two evils” elections in the future, in favor of closer compromises instead.

Drag Yourself to the Polls

If you got through this entire post, you’re probably dissolving in a lukewarm soup of your own political depression. Ingredients include (but are not limited to):

  • Deflated feeling of giving up your principles for a compromise
  • Dreadful shadow of impending doom on the horizon
  • Slight relief that maybe the compromise won’t be as bad as your news feed wants you to believe
  • Exhausted feeling that we still have to deal with this campaign for another two months before we get to vote and go back to not giving a shit again

Sorry.

Let me know if you’re in my area and need a ride to the slaughterhouse polls.

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