In this man's mind, all of us who voted for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson in 2016 are responsible for throwing the presidential race to the Republicans. We purposefully ignored Democrats' warnings about how a Trump presidency would alter the Supreme Court irreparably, now giving us Justice Brett "Devil's Triangle" Kavanaugh and possible lifetime appointments for more accused pussy-grabbers.
When reminded that a) those votes weren't stolen from Hillary Clinton because they didn't belong to her in the first place, and b) third-party votes in Texas did not affect who won the state's 38 electoral votes, this fellow busted out some hyperbole about Stein "getting the 0.000001% of the vote that she deserved" or words to that effect, thus defeating his own argument.
It's rather startling how this little episode has brought certain things into sharper focus:
- To the delight of Democrats in Texas, I am now convinced that our state Green Party will not make a magical come-back in 2020 unless the situation changes drastically in the next year or so.
- I've determined that there's only one proper and concise response when people ask me why I didn't just fall into line behind Clinton: "I don't vote for warmongers*."
More on both of these later in this post.
TDS has its own Wikipedia entry, as I learned this morning. Unfortunately, the entry does not tell the complete story. The ailment is not just identified by pro-Trumpers to diagnose liberals and anti-Trump conservatives who exhibit its symptoms. Some Progressives use the term as well, as we witness liberal friends losing their grip on reason and grasping at any news (real or fake) to make the case against our alleged president. (Some Progressives even suffer from it themselves.)
In the victims' minds, Russia's paw-prints are all over the 2016 election results, Stein is Vladimir Putin's propaganda minister and side-chick, everything MSNBC says is gospel, and it's perfectly fine that Hillary Clinton was palling around with the likes of Henry Kissinger and Dick Cheney. (I can do hyperbole too, y'know.)
The symptoms of TDS are similar to those of Bush Derangement Syndrome, which, the wiki informs us, Charles Krauthammer identified in one of his columns in 2003. Greens have been convenient targets for victims of BDS since 2001: No matter how many times or how calmly we explain that many more Floridian Democrats voted for George W. Bush than Ralph Nader's total in that state, these folks cannot let go of their conviction that Bush's election is ALL THE GREEN PARTY'S FAULT!!!!!
Advanced BDS/TDS almost always includes the binary thinking that I've bemoaned in recent posts like this one. It borders on paranoia, taking the form of "If you're not a Democrat (for us), you must therefore be against us and a Republican."
If I had any optimism about the Texas Greens' chances at regaining ballot access in 2020, it's gone now. Even if the GPTX gets its shit together between now and March 2020, I still don't foresee success. This is experience talking.
Under current election law, in order for the Green Party of Texas to regain its ballot line in 2020, it will need to collect petition signatures amounting to 1% of the total vote in the 2018 gubernatorial election. If the turnout this fall increases over 2014 as much as folks are saying it will, that means a lot more signatures than the minimum required for this year's election (about 47,000).
Keep in mind that the usual criteria apply: These signatures must be from voters registered in Texas who did not vote in any party primaries or attend any other party's conventions. Non-established parties must collect the signatures within the statutory 75-day period after the March primary vote.
We know from past voting results that there are at least 100,000 Texans who regularly vote Green. The trick lies in finding them. These folks do not come to Green Party meetings. They do not come to Green precinct conventions. They often do not make their sentiments known to those around them, keeping those sentiments confined to the proverbial voting booth. They do not sign up on GPTX's NationBuilder website to participate in any partisan activities.
When Greens go out in public to collect petition signatures, they face hostility from the aforementioned liberals. They face indifference from people who don't necessarily identify as Democrats, but don't know enough about the Greens to sign despite assurances that the risk to them is zero. They face the heart-sinking discovery that people who had supported the Greens in previous years went and voted in the primary, thus disqualifying themselves from providing a valid signature.
The 2020 election will be more of a referendum on Trump than the 2004 election was on Dubya Bush. Passions will run even higher, even if Trump doesn't get the US militarily involved in two more countries. Women across the country are receiving ruder and ruder awakenings month after month; they are quite rightly pissed off and motivated to make changes in Washington. There will be enormous pressure to "vote Blue, no matter who."
Despite some dire predictions of a possible Trump re-election, I envision the Democratic Party retaking the White House and both houses of Congress. Just as in 2008-09, the liberals will celebrate their victory for a while...and within a few months they will go back to sleep, believing it's All Better Now, while the new president continues the neoliberal atrocities of his or her predecessors.
But I've been wrong before: I predicted in 2016 that Clinton/Kaine would lose Texas but win the Electoral Vote nationwide. I sincerely hope that I'm wrong about GPTX, that it can come back with renewed energy, or perhaps that it can metamorphose into the Peace & Ecology wing of a new People's Party.
You Say Supreme Court, I Say Millions of Dead Kids
(NOTE: Despite numerous opportunities, I'm not going to the trouble of providing links in this section. If you can use a search engine, you can look up the references yourselves.)
If the Democrats nominate a true Progressive for the presidency in 2020, I might just cast a Democratic vote in that race for the first time since 1992. But they won't, despite the ongoing battle for the soul of the Democratic Party, despite Justice Democrats, despite Brand New Congress, despite Our Revolution, despite Indivisible, despite Democratic Socialists of America, despite Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez et al.
No sir and/or madam, they will nominate a neoliberal centrist, because conventional wisdom says that a Progressive can't win, mostly because a Progressive won't get the big bucks from Wall Street and the Military-Industrial Complex—or will refuse said big bucks as a matter of conscience, as if conscience has anything to do with becoming or being POTUS. Any talk of ending or scaling back US military adventures gets you the same treatment the Dems gave Jesse Jackson, Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, and, yep, Bernard Sanders.
Millions will spend hours in line on Election Day, waiting to vote for Hillary Redux, also known as Not Trump. But let's not forget a few salient facts about Hillary herself:
- As a US senator, she voted to authorize military force for Dubya's misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- As Secretary of State, she followed in the footsteps of her mentor, Madeleine "half a million Iraqi kids dying due to economic sanctions is worth it" Albright.
- The Clinton Foundation taking donations from the Saudi royal family, the coup in Honduras, the screw job in post-earthquake Haiti, the not-so-peaceful transfer of power in Libya, yada-yada.
The elevation of Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, after the stiffing of Merrick Garland, is pretty horrible all right. Even though these are conservatives replacing conservatives, the new composition of the Court will likely have drastic, long-term effects on the rights of women, people of color, LGBT+, and low-income people against the ravages of the corporate state. Our liberal friends are quite correct about this: It's a scary scenario.
But in the bigger picture, whether you have a Republican or a centrist Democrat in the White House, you still get oil wars, drug wars, insufficient response to climate disruption, jobs exported to low-wage countries, corporate-friendly trade deals, capitalist health insurance rackets, crippling college-loan debt, mass deportations, mass incarceration, warm-fuzzy relations with the Israeli-Saudi axis, and millions of premature deaths from violence, starvation, and disease.
Fuck all that. I'd rather vote for candidates and political parties that propose a radical shift toward policies that embody compassion for people and planet. US voters need choices beyond Tweedle-Death and Tweedle-Destruction.
(Yeah, Libertarian friends, I haven't forgotten about y'all. Even if we Progressives disagree starkly with many of your positions, we like your stances on banning war, legalizing drugs, and destigmatizing sex work. You're an important part of this picture too.)
* My original sentence was "I don't vote for war criminals." However, although that is my perception of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, making the case that they are warmongers is much easier and less controversial than proving them guilty of war crimes.