So, you’re a Bernie supporter and you aren’t going to vote for Clinton no matter what. I get it. I TOTALLY get it. And, I won’t blame you if a Republican (probably Trump) wins, because of it. It’s a matter of principle. The two party system blows, and the Democratic Party, led by the incompetent Wasserman-Schultz, insists on pushing a candidate that serves their corrupt interests rather than the interests of their base. And, Secretary Clinton is a major cog in the Party machinery, not to mention the fact that she bends in the direction of the opinion polls and has her hands in the pants of corporations. And I could go on. I get it. You hate her. With every fiber of your being. And you feel that a vote for her reinforces and validates the corrupt system.
Now let me tell you why I will still vote for her. Maybe I’ll even convince you to do the same. More specifically, let me tell you why I will select the box by her name. I’m not actually voting for her. I’m voting against the other choice. And this is an important distinction, because as much as I despise Clinton and the machinery that supports her, a vote can be a vote against something rather than a vote for something. Both have a purpose.
Politics succumbs to the same force as life: evolution. There is both positive and negative selective pressure. Positive selection is when desirable traits confer preferential survival, which then results in the bulk of the population moving on average toward that desirable trait. Negative selection is when less desirable traits are removed from the population. This results in the bulk of the population moving on average away from the less desirable trait. In either case, the trait of the bulk of the population moves roughly in the same direction. For example, a positive selection might be a grasshopper that has a mutation that allows it to jump further. This allows it to more effectively escape predators. A negative selection would be a mutation that decreases jumping ability, making the grasshopper more susceptible to predation. The positive selection will move the population toward those with the new jumping ability. The negative selection will move the population away from lesser jumping ability. In both cases, the population, on average, will have greater jumping ability. That is, both the positive and negative selection work differently but produce the same general movement of the population.
In the world of politics, Sanders represents a positive evolutionary selection. It is a vote for a desirable trait consistent with the direction we want the country to move. A vote for Clinton is a negative evolutionary selection. It is a vote against Republican and/or Trump-fascism, but not a vote for her or her policies. By rejecting the Republican offerings, that conservative line of thinking will become less favorable to future prospective politicians. They will learn that those ideologies are losers. This does two things. It causes the ideology of the country, on average, to shift toward a more liberal foundation even if Clinton does not. Kiss candidates like Cruz and Rubio goodbye. The message will be clear. You're backwards, hateful policies are not viable. It also does another very important thing. It opens up the opportunity for continued evolution—from both negative and positive selective pressure—in the direction toward Sanders.
Creationists will often deny evolution, because no one has ever seen a monkey evolve into a human. We laugh at this, because such a statement indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of how evolution works, and it represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the time scales over which evolution acts.
The political evolution from Bush to Obama and then straight to Sanders may be more than the political evolutionary timescale allows. It’s simply too great a leap in philosophy, and to expect the political animal to mutate that rapidly is making one of the very same mistakes that creationists make when criticizing evolution. A vote for Clinton is not a validation of her policies or political system. It is a vote against the Republicans. It is a negative evolutionary selection. But, it makes a future positive selection pressure more likely. If this country reverts to the old, failed, conservative Republican policies, we are simply undoing the hard fought political evolution that is slowly, gradually, perhaps almost imperceptibly moving us in the direction where we want to go. Maybe I won’t see it in my lifetime, but maybe my kids will. Sometimes it takes generations to see evolution work. Sometimes evolution stalls. But, with continued pressure, it will eventually regain momentum, pushing towards the positive selection and away from the negative. That is what Clinton represents. It represents a temporary stall, perhaps even a slight back-tracking. It represents a negative selective pressure. It represents a repudiation of the Republican ideologies. It represents a place from which positive selective pressure can more effectively operate. After Clinton, a Sanders-like candidate (Elizabeth Warren?) has an increased likelihood of gaining majority acceptance. Perhaps we need to nibble away at the system rather than expecting a monkey to become a human in a single election cycle.
So, my vote for Clinton is not a vote for Clinton, but a vote against Republicans. More importantly, it’s a vote that recognizes how politics works—how it bends to the rules of evolution—and it’s a vote that recognizes the time scales that govern political change. I’m going after the long game. Sometimes you have to punt (pardon the N. American football analogy). It’s a defensive play that pins the opponent so far into their own territory that they have no hope of scoring, and it gives you better field position on the next possession to increase your chance of winning. Even the winning team has to punt sometimes. But they still win. Clinton is a punt. I said punt. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Will you join me?