Getting out in front of the “lesser of two evils”

By JT Haines, December 14, 2013

I’ve noticed lately there’s hardly an article about Elizabeth Warren (she’s great) which doesn’t also offer presumptions about the 2016 candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Fair enough, I guess, except that the same agents of the status quo currently lining themselves up around Sec. Clinton will no doubt later seek to pawn her candidacy off on us as the result of an authentic democratic process.

The scenario is familiar: 1) Party machinery grinds forward one or more insider candidates long before most of us are involved. 2) Barring sufficient democratic intervention, said candidate receives the party’s nomination. 3) And, with Ranked Choice Voting not yet nationally available, those preferring a meaningful departure from the status quo are faced with a lesser-of-two-evils scenario, which is, at that late date, regrettably compelling.

Frankly, I resent the dynamic. I thought about doing some huffing and puffing about how I will be refusing to support a corporatist-warmonger candidate in 2016, including Hillary, regardless of what type of maniac the other corporatist-warmonger party nominates. But then I thought, this is not a threat, this is feedback which might genuinely be useful to someone.

Because here’s the thing, I might actually refuse to support another corporatist-warmonger candidate in 2016. I for one feel more fortified in this position than I did last year when I, yes, reluctantly voted for Mr. Drone. (Although I did not, I’d like to note, offer support in the form of money, organizing, or positive voice, as I do for candidates representing a genuine alternative.)

As I see it – and I’ll grant, it’s an uncomfortable position to assume — the risk to the planet of another four years without a radical departure from the status quo may now be more dangerous than the risk of one corporatist candidate losing to another corporatist candidate. And to the extent others are agreeing, it’s likely in a manner not currently anticipated by backward looking data and self-serving whitepapers. Given the thin margins in which these campaigns now operate, it wouldn’t take many.

In other words, dear Democrats, as you paper state fairs and clog inboxes with presumptions and propaganda about your self-appointed candidate, a friendly heads up: If you are counting on the same levels of reluctant, nose-holding support in 2016 as was received in 2012, it may not be forthcoming.

As Russell Brand put it in his popular recent BBC interview, “Then it’s this one gets in, then it’s that one get in, but the problem continues. Why are we going to continue to contribute to this facade?” Given what will surely be pitched as another hugely important election in 2016, I think those of us who demand a genuine alternative should be saying so early and often.

Update: This sponsored ad is popping up on facebook feeds December 2013. Establishment money at work.No thx

Update #2: From MSNBC Feb 11, 2014: “Don’t Run, Hillary, Don’t Run.” A very interesting piece, and headed in the right direction.

Update #3: January 19, 2016: In a piece titled “Democrats Fear Bernie Sanders Supporters Won’t Back Clinton if She Wins Nomination,” the Washington Times reports that 14% of Sanders supporters say they will not vote for Clinton under any circumstance.

Update #4: November 9, 2016. Oh no.