so, you say you want a revolution…
I hear a lot of people bemoaning the fact that third party candidates weren’t invited to the big debate show last night. They’re often the same people bemoaning the fact that Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton. They clamor about “the status-quo” and “institutionalized politics” and how we need to break out of the two-party system. They want real progress, not the inching forward we’ve been doing for the last 8 years, and will likely continue to do under a Hillary Clinton presidency.
They talk about casting a protest vote to let the government feel their rage. They talk about mobilizing everyone who has bought all of the lies about how crooked Hillary is, and all of those who can’t stomach voting for Trump, despite being Republican, to vote for Stein or Johnson, basic math be damned.
You know, maybe…maybe such a protest could be organized if it had started about a year ago. Maybe. But even then, basic math runs contrary to the idea. The percentage of eligible citizenry who actually vote is ridiculously low, then that percentage is divided, first along the party lines. Like it or not, Democrat and Republican are the heavy hitters here. The bulk of the US voting population is one or the other. That leaves a minority of a minority for the other parties and the independents to fight over.
It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that the odds are seriously against any minor party or independent candidate to do anything more than split the vote on one side of the aisle or the other and hand the contest to the candidate of the party that didn’t get split by the also-rans.
Now, before you start screaming at me about change and progress and all of that, let me remind you that I’m probably more liberal than most of the Democratic party. And yes, I’m registered Democrat. And I voted for Hillary in the primary here in California. Not because I didn’t think that Bernie would be a great President, but because I knew that Bernie would face the same opposition that Obama has for the last 8 years.
Does that mean Hillary is further right than Bernie? Maybe. Or maybe she’s better at finding compromise. That’s what a government by the people, for the people is meant to be about. Does it mean that I’m advocating for the middle ground?
Actually, yes. We, as a country, do better when we remember how to compromise, when we see our fellow citizens as human beings with needs and desires just like us, rather than demons that are out to kill us and take our guns and force us to get healthcare.
We don’t need a revolution, we already did that once. We need to remember the principles we were founded on and we need to come together to bring about lasting change. We have a lot of problems that need to be dealt with and with the path we’re currently on, w ‘re more likely to end up with a second civil war rather than another revolutionary war.
But, if you still want to throw a tantrum and demand we leave the two party system for good? You can. But that revolution can not start at the top. You can’t expect to just throw a fit when it’s time to elect a president, jump into the fray a few months from the election and expect it to go your way.
In order to change the system, you’re going to have to work within the system first. Get candidates on the national scene in the House and the Senate (and you know, make sure they aren’t kooks), campaign locally and at the State level. Build up a party that has a chance as a contender. Start now and maybe you’ll be ready for the next presidential election.
Or, split the vote, end up with Trump as president for the next four years and whine about how it isn’t really your fault before you slink back into your hiding place to commiserate with your co-revolutionaries without actually accomplishing anything.
For the record? I really want to see you do the work. I want to see the status-quo threatened in a meaningful way. I want to see new ideas and better plans. I want to watch us grow in the way that only open dialog and challenging ideas can nurture.
Bring the revolution. But do it in a way that doesn’t destroy our country for the next four years.