By Emily Witt, Staff-Writer
If your stomach isn’t in knots over the impending Doomsday that could be November 8th, 2016, it would be reductive to say that you haven’t been paying attention. This election cycle has further proven that our two-party system is broken, our citizens are angry, and we’re ready for change.
In many ways, the journey to our next president has been unique. Twitter has become a platform for candidates to display their immaturity, an adorable Democratic Socialist was a formidable presence in the primaries, the Clinton that was always pulling the strings is our Democratic candidate, and an orange demagogue is the Republican candidate. But if you analyze closely enough, we are careening towards a fate quite similar to the presidential election of 2000. In 2000, Americans found Al Gore, the Democratic nominee, to be boring and wishy-washy. In 2016, Americans find Hillary to be boring, wishy-washy, and crooked.
The Democratic party has chosen Hillary Clinton, who is more polarizing but possibly even less exciting to most voters than Al Gore was sixteen years ago. In 2000, dispassionate voters flocked to the Green Party’s Candidate, Ralph Nader. In return, they got Bush, the Iraq War, and a subprime mortgage crisis. In 2016, polls show that 29% of uninspired voters between the ages of 18-34 are flocking to Gary Johnson, and 15% to Jill Stein. In 2012, the Youth Vote was decisive in Obama’s presidential election. According to the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement, the millennial vote flipped Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania to Blue states by margins of 61%-66%. Nationally, Obama won the Youth Vote by 67%. If Gary Johnson siphons a large enough percentage of young voters from Hillary in November, we could be looking down the barrel of a Trump presidency. Sixteen years after Bush’s election, we’re still living with the economic catastrophes of his legacy. What residue will Trump’s hypothetical reign leave behind?
The Farcical Republican Party
It’s been nearly eight months since the Iowa Caucus, but the shit show that could be more affectionately referred to as the Republican Party, began imploding long before. The Republican Primary Debates were fascinatingly-theatrical and undoubtedly worthy of some popcorn.
I was entertained by the former CEO of HP, Carly Fiorina, and her adept skills at iPhone editing Planned Parenthood smear videos. And my god, that bob was regal.
Marco Rubio was darling, because who doesn’t love an AI that looks impeccably human?
Ted Cruz would’ve been a highly progressive choice as the first president/closeted serial killer.
And Ben Carson… bless his little heart.
But I was never laughing at Donald Trump. The words that came out of his mouth sounded remarkably like the words I had heard my entire life until I left rural Oklahoma. And those people vote for everything spanning from prize 4-H pig to the Presidential election.
There are more people tucked away in the fly-over states and the towns that we stop in for gas on road trips than you would think, and a changing economy and social environment has forgotten about them. These people are angry and Trump is their voice. They live in a world where they see their white Christian values being discounted. Just as Bush did, Trump is heavily playing the white Evangelical card.
In 2000, Bush won this demographic by 68%. After eight years of an Obama presidency, these people see themselves as a suffering minority. The Executive Orders that brought some to tears of joy (me, I’m talking about me) only poked the bear. Their incomes are shrinking, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that the highest paying jobs in rural areas are at the environment’s peril. Once an oil well is dry, it cannot be refilled.
The backlash of angry pseudo-Republicans are the same group that elected Bush, and they are the same group that endeavors to elect Trump. But, they were not the only decisive votes in Bush’s election. Political analysts have been postulating for years that the decisive votes in 2000 actually came from 97,421 Floridian Ralph Nader supporters. It was because of these 97, 421 votes that Gore lost to Bush by a mere 537 votes in Florida, which effectively handed Bush the presidency.
Even though Gary Johnson’s platform directly opposes Nader’s past platform, disgruntled Bernie-or-Busters are flocking to Johnson, just as Gore haters flocked to Nader. Nader’s key concerns were the pervasiveness of corporate greed, the fallacy of the two-party system, universal healthcare, affordable housing, free education through college, and a raised minimum wage.
If Nader were the third-party candidate funneling votes from Hillary in 2016, it would make sense that Bernie voters might find solace in his camp. Johnson, however, seems like an even less logical solution than Jill Stein, who claims wifi gives us cancer. (Probably not the best tactic for gaining the millennial vote, Jill).
Johnson’s campaign hinges on a free-market capitalist economy, the abolishment of the Affordable Care Act, Labor Unions, Financial Aid, and Roe vs. Wade. Johnson believes in a woman’s right to choose, but he believes in a state’s right to choose more. The states already have overarching power via TRAP laws, which are currently the largest roadblocks in abortion access. In this case, Johnson’s hatred of government overstepping directly opposes his staunch support of state’s rights.
The appeal of Johnson over Hillary is based on entertainment value and the constant repetition of email deletion. Not political platforms. The appeal of Ralph Nader’s radical socio-economic ideals over Al Gore’s spineless campaign that hinged on domestic education was pretty glaring, but the allure of Johnson to young Bernie-or-Busters is positively baffling when considering his anti-government platform.
Gary Johnson is not your candidate just because he thinks that you should get to smoke weed.
Johnson vied for the Republican nomination in 2012, and when that fell through, he flopped on over to the Libertarian side. Negate your vote to Jill Stein, if you must. But, if you think that Johnson is your poor man’s Bernie, you’re simply another millennial that jumped on the Bernie Bandwagon so that you could put a cool sticker on your laptop.
Al Gore was about 2/3 animatronic, and 1/3 sloppy milk toast.
Much like Hillary, Gore’s Conservative brand of Liberalism began to veer left during his presidential campaign. In his first bid for the oval office in 1988, he opposed federal funding for abortion and favored interstate gun law sales. In 2000, he proposed the abolishment of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” policies that were enacted by Bill Clinton while Gore was his VP. He also promised to appoint pro-choice judges.
Hillary opposed same-sex marriage in 2000 but said she felt that same-sex couples should reap the same medical and tax benefits as heterosexual couples. In 2011, she endorsed the Marriage Equality Act. American voters were distrusting of Gore’s sporadically changing social policies and the same could be said of Hillary.
These are dangerous habits when working to secure the Liberal vote. In 2000, Americans felt that Gore was ingenious. In 2016, Americans see Hillary as downright villainous, regardless of her dignified and seemingly sincere apologies.
The Real Hill
The disdain that youngsters feel towards Hillary is not unfounded. These feelings stem from her ties to large corporations, her missteps on racial issues in the past, her initial support of the war in Iraq, and the fact that she’s just not as lovable as Bernie and Obama.
And for the love of Trump’s Cheeto face, we can’t forget those emails.
But when it comes down to it, I want to live in the America that the Clinton administration began to build in 1993. Despite the constant sexist skewering of “Mrs. Clinton,” she’s been doing a shit ton of amazing things since before the Bernie Bros were gestating in their mothers’ wombs.
Clinton has been a champion of human rights, and during her time as a senator, she co-sponsored the Matthew Shepard Act and the Early Treatment for HIV Act. As a first lady, she played a crucial role in passing the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan, established the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice, and was a key supporter of the CDC’s Prevention Vaccines for Children program. As our president, Hillary wants to hold insurance companies accountable for mental health coverage and establish a national suicide prevention initiative. Clinton’s recognition of mental health issues combined with her plan to enact more stringent firearm laws could be a revolutionary step towards curtailing gun violence.
The Clinton health care plan may have failed, but it laid the groundwork for the Affordable Care Act, which she intends to continue building upon. She doesn’t deny climate change because there isn’t a thick layer of self-tanner over her eyelids that prevents her from reading scientific facts. Fiscally, she wants to help displaced coal workers find jobs and opposes cutting Social Security. Clinton intends to raise the minimum wage, fine CEOs personally for financial crimes, give tax cuts to the middle-class and small business, and establish The College Affordability Plan, which would refinance student debt and ensure in-state tuition to public universities.
If you were vying for Bernie a few short months ago and now you’ve decided to blindly follow Johnson, who wants to cut your financial aid, Bush’s “No Child Left Behind,” policy seriously failed you.
Nothing Clever: Trump is NOT Bush
In 2000, we lost to a Southern simpleton who was ill-equipped to combat the crises that occurred during his presidency. Bush was handed a heaping pile of shit on 9/11 and he used war to serve as the country’s emotional band aid. This decision led to the creation of militarized groups that are spreading hate, death, and global Islamophobia. He made horrendous decisions concerning our environment and appointed a former Petroleum lobbyist to the White House Council of Environmental Equality.
Bush did not say that John McCain is “not a war hero” because he was captured and tortured during Vietnam.
Bush did not call undocumented immigrants “rapists”.
Bush did not blame the victims of mass shootings in Paris and Orlando by saying that things would’ve played out differently with the bullets flying the other direction.
Bush did not publicly mock a disabled reporter.
Bush did not disregard a woman’s thoughts by saying there was “blood coming out of her wherever,” and call her a bimbo.
Bush did not invite the Russians to hack the DNC’s internal emails.
Bush did not suggest that if Hillary got to pick the next Supreme Court justices, there was something the Second Amendment people could do while pretending to hold an air rifle.
Bush did not tweet “Appreciate the congrats right on radical Islamic terrorism.”
Bush did not talk about causing speakers at the DNC physical harm by saying “I was going to hit a number of those speakers so hard their heads would spin.“
Bush did not insult his constituents by saying “I love the poorly educated.”
Bush did not talk about the size of his penis.
Bush did not say “Women: You have to treat them like shit.”
“You say you want a revolution?”
The wave of support for Bernie Sanders from millennials has shown the country just how fearful we are of the economy that’s been passed down to us by our parents and grandparents. We have an acute awareness of the political mindset needed to make our government begin working for us. Sanders was the progressive grandpa that we never had, one who always had melted caramels and tuition money in his pocket.
Unfortunately, kids, grandpa is gone, but he still wants you to vote along the party lines. If you consider yourself unaffiliated, as many millennials do, grandpa still doesn’t want you to live in the totalitarian nightmare of a Trump presidency.
I’m not supporting Hillary out of fear, I’m supporting Hillary because I am a woman who values my rights to my own body, religious freedom, public healthcare, a sustainable economy, and the ability to raise my children in a democracy. I’ve got too much skin in this game to cast my vote towards an unrealistic candidate.
Numbers do not care about your revolution, friends.