“Eight of years of Hillary Clinton or four years of Trump. It’s pretty much a coin flip,” complains Iowa delegate Chris Laursen.
I can see how that logic would appeal to the Tulsi Gabbard 2020 fans. She wouldn’t be likely to overcome a Democratic incumbent, but she would obliterate Trump, assuming all the obvious signs pointing to him being a total trainwreck are correct.
If Jill Stein’s case is that a 99% similarity is enough to earn your vote, then you have earned the burden of having to explain why Hillary Clinton’s 8% difference is worth setting everything on fire for.
This is, of course, wildly statistically deceptive. You act like every difference is equal, or that 8% doesn’t matter. If that 8% includes the deaths of millions at the hands of the American military machine then, yes, it matters. If the candidate with whom you agree 41% and 91% both differ from your opinion in a few critical ways but agree with your opinion in trivial or less important ways, then it could certainly be the case that they are, relative to you, more similar than dissimilar. It just depends on your priorities, and for a lot of principled voters, neither Trump nor Clinton represents a candidate for whom they can vote, knowing the oppressive and destructive legacy such a vote endorses.
But the mistake is thinking this has to be zero-sum. If there’s any part of you that is unsettled about furthering literally zero of the wide range of things Sanders and Clinton agree on because there’s no Coke, then I urge you to think of the rest of those who aren’t insulated from the fire.
But you are making a zero-sum argument, too. You’re saying the choice is between Clinton and Trump and nothing else about your vote matters. I happen to think the momentum of Independent and third-party movements matters. I believe that a world that sees the American electorate courageous enough to vote their principles and not their fears is a world where we can finally see the most social progress. The more people who vote for someone besides Trump or Clinton today, the more likely third-party momentum can carry into the midterms and the next election, and, by 2020 or 2024, we can see legitimate Presidential contenders who are neither Democrats nor Republicans. None of this happens in an America where people keep feeling pressured to vote for these same two parties, where these same two parties maintain their stranglehold of corruption, unchallenged.
I know you mean well, because you believe Clinton is better than Trump by a wide enough margin that this difference outweighs the importance of revolutionary momentum, but I disagree, and I think it is unethical for you to try to sway people to vote against their conscience and principles. A lot of us don’t want to endorse a racist or warmonger, or a member of the corrupt oligarchy that is crushing down on us. You should empower people to vote for exactly the candidates they want to vote for, not against the candidates you fear and want them to fear, too.