Opinion | Progressives hold your noses, vote Joe
October 3, 2020
Despite winning the popular vote by nearly three million votes in 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral College vote to President Donald Trump. This mainly happened because Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — three states Clinton was projected to win fairly easily — all flipped and voted for Trump.
However, Trump barely won in these states and ended up winning all three with a combined total of merely 77,744 votes. Furthermore, Trump won each of those three states by just 0.7 percentage points or less.
Donald Trump is president of the United States because of 77,744 votes spread across three states, in which millions of people voted altogether. Take a moment to really let the significance of that fact sink in. The will of 77,744 voters in three states was enough to override the more than 2.8 million votes by which Clinton won the popular vote.
That number is far smaller than 132,476 — the number of votes received by Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate in the 2016 election in those three states. In fact, the number of votes received by Stein in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would have been enough to flip the outcome of that election in Clinton’s favor, had they been cast for Clinton instead in those states.
The number of people who support third parties each presidential election cycle is quite small relative to the total number of votes cast — it was only about 1% in 2016 — but this example shows how important each and every vote really is.
If you are someone who considers yourself to be a liberal or a progressive and you are still thinking of supporting a third party candidate this November because you ‘just can’t stand the thought’ of voting for someone as ‘problematic’ or ‘conservative’ as former Vice President Joe Biden, you are part of the problem.
It is the responsibility of every progressive voter in this country to vote for the only viable alternative to President Trump. Joe Biden is the only choice.
And the stakes in a presidential election have truly never been any higher. On top of the fact that America is currently being led by a criminal, narcissistic manchild, there is a mountain of problems that Trump has only exacerbated while in office.
Economic inequality has been worsened with Trump’s tax cut for the rich. The world has been pushed closer to armed conflict through Trump’s military and diplomatic blunders. The climate crisis has been accelerated because Trump removed the U.S. from the Paris Agreement and rolled back auto emissions standards. Tens of thousands have suffered because of Trump’s inability to respond to numerous natural disasters.
But perhaps worst of all, because of Donald Trump’s absolute and total inability to be truthful to the American people, over two hundred thousand people have died due to contracting COVID-19, more deaths in one country anywhere in the world.
Then, just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse, they did. On Sept. 18, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the Court for over 27 years, died due to complications from pancreatic cancer.
In addition to the fact that Justice Ginsburg was an American icon and one of the most brilliant, witty people who ever served on the Supreme Court, her untimely death means America could soon face a 6-3 conservative majority on the court. Such a development would shift the Supreme Court significantly to the right for perhaps a generation or more and may prohibit the passage of any major progressive legislation all the while.
If somehow Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump are unable to seat another justice on the Supreme Court before the Nov. 3 election or during the lame duck period, fundamental aspects of democracy will undoubtedly be on the ballot — even more than they already were.
Abortion rights, the Affordable Care Act and pre-existing condition protections, unions and collective bargaining rights and the right to vote itself will all be on the ballot in a way they never have so clearly been before.
This is why it is so important for everyone on the left to support Biden. No one will have the luxury of comfortably wasting their vote on a third party candidate this time around. Hillary Clinton wasn’t my first choice for president in 2016, and Joe Biden wasn’t my first choice for 2020, but I voted for Clinton then and I will vote for Biden in November because the fate of the country is at stake. That fact could not possibly be any more apparent.
Clint is a senior in LAS.