Who Should I Vote For?

4 Feb


I don’t know. I really don’t.

What don’t you know, Jake?

Who I’m going to vote for.

Duh, you’re voting for Bernie. You already said that on Facebook like a thousand times.

I know, I know, I know. But I’m having some doubts.

Oy, now you tell me. Okay, what’s going on, bubala?

So, a year or so ago, I was all set on voting for Hillary.

Yeah, I remember it like it was last year.

I mean, it’s not like I’ve ever been a strong Hillary supporter. I’ve never officially disliked her either. I was really happy when she won the Senate seat against that dude from Staten Island. What was his name?

I don’t remember.

But she was a really good Senator for the state. Most everyone will admit that. She wasn’t flashy, but she got shit done. Schumer was all spit and polish, but Hillary was a grinder. I think Gillibrand is similar in some ways.

Yeah, she seems cool. For a chick.

Hey, knock it off, people may be reading this.

Besides Mom?

You’re an asshole.

No, you’re the asshole.

Anywho…back in 2008, I would totally have supported Hillary if she got the nomination, but I really dug Obama, and it turns out I was pretty right about that.

Yeah, you mean ol’ Barack O’Drones a lot?

Bernie said he wouldn’t stop the drone program?


Is that going to be your dismissive retort when you can’t come up with a logical answer to defend Bernie?

No, it’ll be “Goldman Sachs.”

Fair enough.

So, getting back to Barry…

Okay, so I supported Obama, and of course I couldn’t stand the soft-racist attacks made by the Clinton Machine. But he proved everyone wrong. Who thought a black guy would be elected President in our lifetime?

I didn’t. So why can’t a Jewish socialist from Vermont?

Point taken. So, fast forward to last year. I was totally okay to vote for Hillary and watch the Republicans implode.

That second part has been sweet. If only Palin were running.

But then Bernie came along. In the beginning I felt like, “Well here’s crazy ol’ Bernie Sanders, who I really like, so he’s going to steer the conversation to the left, and maybe try to get Hillary to move a bit with him.” But then there was the momentum.

Feel the Bern.

Is that a reference to his gout?

Goldman Sachs.

And I started thinking to myself, “maybe I should be supporting the guy I actually agree with, the guy whose policies are closer to my own. Sure, he may be a little out there. So am I.”

So you came around?

Somewhat. There was a point last summer when I felt like this is my guy. And I also thought, he could really give Hillary – and whoever was going to get the Republican nomination – a fight. Especially if it was Trump. I mean Sanders v. Trump, that would be insane.

So are you still feeling the Bern or have you gone back to the coldness of Hillary?

That’s the thing. I don’t know.

Why be a pussy, Jake? You know you want Bernie, so just vote for him. You already donated to his campaign.

This is true. I did. In the middle of my Bernie fever. But the more I think about it, the more I question who I should really support.

Bernie Sanders represents a truly progressive future for the country. His ideals would be a new New Deal. He understands that too much power and wealth are held by far too few people. The banks almost destroyed the world economy, and they basically got off with a slap on the wrist. No one went to jail. All they got were fines that to a working man seem insane, but to banks are pennies. One of those banks launders money for drug dealers. Did you know that?

Yes, I believe I read it in The New Yorker.

We live in a world where unchecked, unregulated, unmonitored capital moves towards those who already have it. It’s like the gravitational pull of a gas giant, except here Jupitar is Citibank, Saturn is the Kochs, and Uranus is…

Donald Trump! (Rim Shot)

And the rest of us are Pluto or an asteroid. And don’t get me started on health care.

Okay, I won’t. Look, I agree with you.

Then why are you in bed with Goldman Sachs?

I’m not in bed with them. Hillary is. I mean…


It’s just how the world works. How politics works.

That is an awfully cynical point of view.

Fine, I’m cynical. Fine, I live in the real world. I know where my bread is buttered.

You realize that Bernie’s made this a competitive race without a Super PAC?

Yes, well done.

People power. The youth are finally involved in politics.

If I remember correctly, they were involved eight years ago when they voted for the black dude over the lady.

This is different?

How so?

That’s what I thought. Look, I’m happy young people are getting involved in politics. But – and here I think you and I will totally agree – they can’t just get involved for one campaign. If Bernie loses – and he probably will – will they all go back to their dorm rooms to smoke weed and listen to Phish? Will they be so discouraged Bernie lost that they won’t even vote for Hillary in the general election. Will they make the insanely false claim that she is no better than Rubio or Cruz or Donald Motherfucking Trump?

Of course not…

And when Bernie doesn’t live up to the high ideals you have foisted upon him, will you place him in the “Could’ve Been, Should’ve Been” box with Obama and wait patiently for Elizabeth Warren to be the Liberal Savior? The problem with idealism in politics is not that it’s misplaced, but that idealism without a strong foundation of pragmatism is untenable.

There’s that word again: pragmatism. That’s just a fancy word for realpolitik. Politics of cynicism and cold necessity.

But isn’t that what politics is? We never actually do anything until after we should have. We wouldn’t have had a New Deal without a Great Depression. If we’d had the FDIC in 1929, things may have been quite different. FDR had the political will and the political capital and the political alliances in Congress to get the New Deal enacted.

So you’re saying that FDR was a cynic. He was a visionary.

You can be both. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

Please don’t say that you think Hillary Clinton is the second coming of Franklin Roosevelt.

Don’t tell me that Bernie is!

I need a drink.

Me too.

Who would you rather have a drink with, Bernie or Hillary?

That’s the stupidest question I’ve ever heard. I don’t want to vote for someone I can have a beer with. I want to vote for someone who will make the country – and the world – better.

Me too.

At least we agree on that.

We agree on a lot of things. The Republicans suck.

Well, duh…

Do you honestly think Bernie can win a general election?

That’s not the question you should be asking. You should ask, who is the best candidate? That is the only question that is worth asking.

But hypothetically, if your vote was the tie breaker…

No! No! No fucking hypotheticals. I am not going to say that “one vote doesn’t count,” because that is the worst excuse for not voting. But, the hypothetical “If your vote was the one that makes the difference” is such rank bullshit. All votes are the ones that make the difference. All our votes are equal. Let me ask you a question: if your child and your wife were both drowning, and you could only save one, which would it be?

That’s just stupid.


No, it’s stupid because I don’t have either a wife or a child.

Exactly. I’m asking you a hypothetical that has zero chance of ever happening.

Hey, wait a second…

You’re asking me if I knew that my vote for Bernie would ensure that Trump or Cruz or any of the other Horseman became President, would I still vote for Bernie. What do you think? I’m not crazy or stupid. Oh, and besides that, Bernie can win a general election. If he can beat Hillary in a primary, he can beat whoever the Repubs throw at him in the general. Think about it – in 2008 Obama beat Hillary and then went on to beat John McCain, a friggin’ war hero. It didn’t matter who you were, you respected John McCain. So you’re saying that Bernie against one of these clowns will lose?

The GOP Hate Machine will unleash one helluva tirade. Socialist! Commie!! Vermont!!! Is Bernie ready for that?

If I remember correctly, it’s Hillary who is the far more hated of the two. Will she be able to deal with the onslaught?

She’s been dealing with it since before her husband was elected. They’ve basically tried to pin every bad thing that has happened in the world over the last twenty years on Hillary Clinton. And they always lose. Always.

So she didn’t actually shoot Vince Foster?

I know you’re joking, but you realize that there are only two reasons liberals hate Hillary: because the GOP has been smearing her with nonsense scandals for almost a quarter of a century. And because she’s a woman.

Do you honestly think that Bernie would be any less pro-woman than Hillary?

No, I don’t. I think Bernie would be spectacularly pro-woman. That is not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that if Hillary were a dude, not only would the shit that’s flung at her stick less than it does now, it probably wouldn’t even be flung. I mean, her husband was the one impeached, and everyone fucking loves good ol’ boy Bubba. Hillary? Not so much.

You Hillary supporters are so middle of the road. Bourgeois. Pseudo liberal. Sheeple.

Ugh, that word! I hate that word. It’s a snobby way of saying “You’re not as rebellious as I am, therefore you are a mindless drone amidst other mindless drones.” It’s bigotry of the left. It’s like saying all the people in the south are in-bred hillbilly redneck motherfuckers.

I know you want Bernie. I know you do. And if you give up and vote Hillary, you’ve basically said, “I accept not only the status quo, but I accept the fact that the status quo will never change.” You are Mr. Go Along to Get Along.

Are you honestly telling me that if Bernie got elected he’d be able to change the status quo?

More than Hillary. He’d have more desire to. She wants to do a little bit here and a little bit there. She looks at Obamacare and says, “Well, it’s not perfect, but it’s good enough.” Good enough is not necessarily good.

This smacks too much of all-or-nothing-ism. Single payer or nothing! Break up the banks or nothing! Free college for everyone, or nothing. Bernie or who cares? They’re all the same!

I never said they’re all the same.

Would you vote for Hillary in the general.

Do you see my eyes rolling so far back in my head I can see my tonsils?!? Of course I would. I’d hold my nose, but I would.

Why the hate? Honestly, why?

Because while she may be – policy-wise – fairly close to what I believe in, she still represents the System. She is still part of a machine. She may not be the puppet of the Koch brothers, but…

Don’t say Goldman Sachs.

…she is still in the pocket of somebody. Special interests. The only interests Bernie has are the people.

You think Hillary doesn’t care about people?

I’m not saying that. I’m saying that when you get elected, you are a servant of the people who voted for you, not your corporate sponsors.

You – and all the other Bernie supporters – have noble intentions. But noble intentions are just that and nothing more. You need to follow through on your intentions to make real difference. For all of Obama’s high flying rhetoric, words don’t enact change. Sitting down and writing legislation and compromising and enacting it, that’s what get things done.

You’re a coward, you know that? You’re afraid of taking a chance on the one guy who might effectuate real change.

Of course I’m scared. What if Bernie gets the nomination and gets trounced by the likes of Ted Cruz? Goodbye Obamacare. Goodbye any chance of a left-leaning Supreme Court within the next twenty years. Goodbye gay rights. Goodbye reproductive rights. Goodbye seventy years of progressive legislation.

That’s not going to happen.

How do you know? Remember when Bush won in 2000 and you thought he’d be a placeholder President for four years and then lose to, I dunno, Hillary! Remember! Remember!!

I’d prefer not.

Shut up, Bartleby.

If you never take a chance in politics, if you always play it safe, you get nothing done.

Not true. It may happen slowly, but it still happens.

People cannot simply wait for it to happen. They need change NOW. Bernie can do that.

And I think Hillary can. Albeit with less overt passion and more backroom deals. And not necessarily “now.” The problem is we only see what we want to see. You know how many people on Facebook claim that Hillary won Iowa because of coin tosses? Which is bullshit, of course. Or how many people claim that Bernie is unelectable.

You just claimed he’s unelectable.

I know – but I don’t buy it. I don’t buy anything about so-called “electability” right now. No one thought Obama would win. Everyone thought Trump would be done by now. That Jeb would waltz to the nomination. That the Mets wouldn’t get to the World Series.

Fuck the Mets.

With a rusty spatula.

I’m glad we can agree on something else.

We agree on a lot of things. We just agree in different ways.

You have to admit, though, that the part of you that wants to vote for Bernie is far more left wing and progressive than the one that wants to vote for Hillary.

No. That’s not true. We’re the same person. We’re just coming from two different points of view. One has learned the lesson of hope and idealism that infected him in 2008, the other hasn’t.

Or, part of him understands that true change comes from a people powered movement, and another part still believes in the myth of the benevolent politician and slow, incremental change.

We’re never really going to fully agree, are we?

No, and I’m glad no one is reading this, because then they may think Jake is crazy for talking to himself.

Everyone talks to themselves.

At least we’re having this conversation. How many people out there have staked out their position and refused to budge from it? Not just refused to budge, but actively won’t entertain other perspectives. Voting is the single most important right as an American citizen, and those who actually exercise it often do so without really thinking through the reasons. At least I’m doing that.

So am I.

We’re the same person, asshole.

I know, it sucks.

So, still voting for Hillary?

Dunno. Maybe. Still 110% behind Bernie?

You can’t be 110% behind anything. It’s a mathematical impossibility.

Fuck you.

No. Fuck you.

No. Fuck you.

No. Fuck you.

I guess that’s another thing we can agree on.

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