In politics there may be no plea for a candidate more desperate than ‘but the other person is worse.’ As dumb as that may sound, much of modern politics has devolved into exactly that mindset. Perhaps nothing makes that more clear than the September 21, 2015 article by Ryan Cooper at The Week.
The article in question equates voting for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont with a moral imperative for Democrats. This is at once making it clear that the frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, is far less an absolute choice for the nomination than at any time since 2008. It equally makes it clear that former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chaffee and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley have about the same chance of the nomination as Republican former Governor Rick Perry of Texas or Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Thus, as Mr. Cooper implores, the centrist and moderate portions of the Democrat Party must suck it up and rally around the self-avowed Socialist Sen. Sanders.
“Still, in America, tactical voting must always be a consideration… The question is whether moderates are willing to swallow such an argument if Sanders manages to clinch the Democratic nomination. It’s still an extreme long shot, but it’s not completely out of the question.”
In fact, Mr. Cooper goes so far as to quote – as a justification of his logic – a 2013 Washington Monthly article by Mark Kleinman. The theory is roughly that since the far-left voted for President Obama (in 2008), it is time for the moderates to quid pro quo and vote for Sen. Sanders. Any other action is tantamount to political suicide in the apparent opinion of these men.
“… “Barack Obama” the political persona is the leader of the Democratic Party (and thus, effectively, of the entire progressive coalition) in a battle with a well-organized, well-funded, and utterly dedicated plutocrat-theocrat-racist-misogynist-obscurantist-ecocidal Red Team, whose lunatic extremism is now actually a threat to republican governance… it’s not because I’m in love with “The One:” it’s because, for good or ill , the political fortunes of the cause I care about are now tied to Obama’s political fortunes.”
And thus the marching orders are clear. The growing consensus is that Hillary Clinton will once again fall short. The back-up plan is in place for Sen. Sanders and Democrats must accept him. If not the all but devil Republicans will turn America into some kind of mash-up of China, Iran, and 1980’s South Africa.
The only concession to free will among Democrat votes is Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It would seem that even in one of the bluest of blue States, the corruption of NY politics exceeds even the ability of the far-left to justify support. According to Mr. Cooper,
“Centrist hack Democrats like Andrew Cuomo do not care about left-wing… In Cuomo’s case, it is worth risking a potential loss in order to change the political incentives in New York at the state level.”
But the real issue here is bigger than Clinton self-eviscerating herself. It is bigger than an avowed Socialist. The issue facing Democrats is free will. The very thing they claim that a Republican win will take away.
The problem is not limited to the 2016 presidential race. In 2015 it has shown itself as well. In the special election for the NY 52nd State Senate race, Gov. Andrew Cuomo all but directly picked the choice for the Democrat Party. Using the exact same justification and mindset offered by Mr. Cooper and Mr. Kleinman.
Hours before a single public statement, without a single public word prior from Barbara Fiala on the issue, Gov. Cuomo had already hit all the major airwaves about Fiala being the Democrat choice. By the afternoon of July 23, 2015, Barbara Fiala accepted the Governor’s mass media statement. All this without the Democrats of the NY-52 having ever said a word prior, nor interviewing a single candidate.
This is, for all purposes, the Democrat Party of the 21st century. An organization that demands obedience and capitulation. Decisions come from the top levels of government and the Average Joe citizens are expected to dutifully toe the line. It’s “tactical.” It’s for the causes you believe in, even if that Democrat candidate does not believe in your cause. It’s the only answer to the worst evil you could ever imagine personified by the word Republican – even if they do believe in the causes you believe in.
Mr. Cooper proclaims, from the very title of his article, that it is a moral obligation to support Sen. Bernie Sanders (only assuming that Hillary Clinton implodes as expected). Mr. Kleinman spews a vitriolic sermon virtually equating a non-vote for whatever Democrat as the path to hell. Hillary Clinton has all but assumed victory since 2014. Gov. Cuomo got the candidate he wanted. But in all this, where are the people?
When people and politicians wonder why just 36% of voters turned up for the 2014 mid-term elections, why voter apathy has risen so high, they need only remember the marching orders of Mr. Cooper, Mr. Kleinman, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Hillary Clinton. The public is no longer being offered a choice from Democrats (and in some instances Republicans), but instead are being given commands to be dutifully fulfilled on election day. It can be argued that voting is a moral obligation of every citizen, but to say anything more is to actively kill the very freedom this nation is built upon.
Maybe that’s why Democrats lost en masse in 2014, and why there were 17 Republican candidates for President. Maybe it’s why Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Donald Trump are the talk of the nation and not any Democrat candidate. It may even be why Democrats might just lose in 2016 just as badly as 2014. No citizen is obligated to vote for any candidate, and until political parties remember that our Government cannot improve.