Vote like your life depends on it (because it does)

The Washington Post reports that one part of the “Obama Coalition,” millennial voters, are considering third-party candidates, despite entreaties from their former heart-throb, Senator Bernie Sanders:

Screenshot from 2016-02-11 12:39:46millennials who still proudly wore their Bernie shirts listened to the senator from Vermont insist, as a nearby sign said, that he was “Berning for her.”

He’d always told them not to trust the media; now he was telling them not to listen when people attacked the Democratic nominee.

“Hillary Clinton and I believe that women should control their own bodies,” Sanders said. “Hillary Clinton and I believe that our gay brothers and sisters deserve the right to get married.”

It was not earth-shattering, but Democrats — to their surprise — thought it needed to be said. Worried by polls that show many voters under 30 choosing third-party candidates over Clinton, they’ve launched ad campaigns and surrogate efforts to pull those voters back.

By every indicator, millennials are more progressive than their parents — pro-gay rights, pro-immigration reform, and even likely to say that they prefer socialism to capitalism.

* * *

“Do you believe in climate science or don’t you?” asked Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Clinton’s running mate, in a Sunday interview on “Meet the Press.” “Millennials do, Hillary Clinton and I do. Donald Trump doesn’t. Do you believe women should be able to make their own health-care decisions or don’t you? Millennials do, Hillary Clinton and I do, Donald Trump doesn’t.”

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[A] wide range of polls have found Clinton losing votes to Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

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On Monday, Clinton plans to deliver a speech at Temple University in Philadelphia “laying out the stakes of November’s election for millennial voters,” according to her campaign. The speech will touch on the challenges facing young voters and will highlight several of her policy prescriptions, including a plan to make college available debt-free, aides said.

In a statement ahead of the speech, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri acknowledged that Clinton has to go beyond making a case against Trump and offer reasons young voters should side with her.

“The millennial generation is a key voting bloc in this election, and it’s clear that the campaign must do more to earn their vote,” Palmieri said.

The Clinton campaign has 280 affiliates on campuses across the country; in June, it hired Sanders’s student organizer Kunoor Ojha to head up campus outreach. Priorities USA Action’s offerings include 15-second ads on YouTube that show millennials reacting with horror to Trump quotes about abortion, student debt and climate change. A $600,000 buy is running now in seven swing states, including Ohio.

In an interview before heading to Ohio, in the New York college town of New Paltz, Sanders said that millennial voters care about “the bloody issues,” waving his hand to indicate hundreds of students who had gathered to hear him discuss student debt and tax policy.

“I have been critical of the media because so much of the coverage deals with the gossip pertaining to the candidates,” Sanders said. “I’m not going to tell you that Hillary Clinton’s views are as progressive as mine. They’re not. But if you look at her views, they are pretty damn progressive. Making public colleges tuition-free — look, do you know what that would mean to these young people?”

Convincing millennials

Sanders, who spent much of the summer finishing a book that will be released after the election, has begun to embrace a role as a millennial-whisperer. In interviews with The Washington Post and TV shows, he warned young voters that this was “not the year for a protest vote.” At one of his Ohio stops, in Akron, Sanders approached a group of protesters chanting “Bernie or bust,” gently chided them on their tone and invited them to listen to his speech.

They were not convinced.

As George Bernard Shaw observed, “Youth is wasted on the young.”

On a recent episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (video), Sam Bee warned against a protest vote for a candidate who has no chance of winning:

Now if you are a boy, you will have noticed that those numbers don’t quite add up to 100 percent. That’s because of third party candidates who give Hillary Haters a chance to remain morally pure while also putting Donald Trump in the White House.

After spending months complaining that we weren’t paying enough attention to them, Gary Johnson and what’s her name finally got us to give them a closer look. I’m so sorry, I meant doctor what’s her name. Send your angry petitions to my snatch c/o suck it you know I’m right, Pueblo, Colorado 810001.

Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 9.40.42 AM

Sam Bee recounted how Jill Stein was recently arrested and Charged for Vandalizing Oil Pipeline Equipment, and Gary Johnson blanked out on a question about Aleppo, Syria.

“So Lady Nader and pot head pro have both made the critical mistake of letting voters know who they are.”

The New York Times Paul Krugman today also warns against a protest vote for a candidate who has no chance of winning. Vote as if It Matters:

Does it make sense to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president? Sure, as long as you believe two things. First, you have to believe that it makes no difference at all whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump moves into the White House — because one of them will. Second, you have to believe that America will be better off in the long run if we eliminate environmental regulation, abolish the income tax, do away with public schools, and dismantle Social Security and Medicare — which is what the Libertarian platform calls for.

But do 29 percent of Americans between 18 and 34 believe these things? I doubt it. Yet that, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll, is the share of millennial voters who say that they would vote for Mr. Johnson if the election took place now. And the preponderance of young Americans who say they’ll back Mr. Johnson or Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, appear to be citizens who would support Mrs. Clinton in a two-way race; including the minor party candidates cuts her margin among young voters from 21 points to just 5.

So I’d like to make a plea to young Americans: your vote matters, so please take it seriously.

Why are minor candidates seemingly drawing so much support this year? Very little of it, I suspect, reflects support for their policy positions. How many people have actually read the Libertarian platform? But if you’re thinking of voting Johnson, you really should. It’s a remarkable document.

As I said, it calls for abolition of the income tax and the privatization of almost everything the government does, including education. “We would restore authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government.” And if parents don’t want their children educated, or want them indoctrinated in a cult, or put them to work in a sweatshop instead of learning to read? Not our problem.

What really struck me, however, was what the platform says about the environment. It opposes any kind of regulation; instead, it argues that we can rely on the courts. Is a giant corporation poisoning the air you breathe or the water you drink? Just sue: “Where damages can be proven and quantified in a court of law, restitution to the injured parties must be required.” Ordinary citizens against teams of high-priced corporate lawyers — what could go wrong?

It’s really hard to believe that young voters who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary think any of this is a good idea. But Mr. Johnson and Ms. Stein have received essentially no media scrutiny, so that voters have no idea what they stand for.

As for Doctor what’s her name, Matt O’Brien of the Washington Post reports This presidential candidate seems to want to turn the U.S. into Venezuela:

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has her own plan to make America great again. That’s turning it into Venezuela.

That, at least, is what her proposal to have the Federal Reserve pay for everybody’s student loans and perhaps their healthcare too would do to our economy. Inflation would skyrocket, the dollar would collapse, and the inevitable price controls would create shortages of basic goods. In other words, the full Chavez.

Not that Stein seems to get any of this. Indeed, she thinks that quantitative easing—which is when the Fed buys bonds with freshly-minted dollars—is just “a magic trick that basically people don’t need to understand any more than that it is a magic trick.” According to her, it “canceled” the “debt of Wall Street” by “essentially writing it off as a digital hat trick.” So it’s only fair, she says, that we do the same for student loans.

This is wrong. QE didn’t buy bonds that the banks owed to other people. It bought bonds that the banks were owed from other people—specifically, homeowners and the U.S. government. Paying a bank $100 for $100 worth of bonds is no more a bailout than paying Starbucks $5 for $5 worth of lattes is. Still, though, Stein’s not wrong that there is some magic to this. Just not the kind she thinks. What do I mean by that? Well, when the Fed buys a U.S. Treasury bond from a bank, it turns a debt that the government owed to somebody else into a debt that it owes to itself—so it’s like it doesn’t exist. QE, then, didn’t erase Wall Street’s debts, but Uncle Sam’s.

Pretty neat trick. But it’s one we can’t use that often. That’s because creating more money usually just creates more inflation.

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[The FED] was only printing money as an emergency measure to help the economy, not as a permanent one to pay for the government.

That last part, after all, is how governments have destroyed their economies and their currencies since time immemorial. The latest example, of course, being Venezuela.

* * *

This is the economic model Stein seems to want to copy. She not only says the Fed should print $1.2 trillion to pay for everybody’s student loans, but also that we should “definitely” look into having it print enough to pay for everybody to get Medicare and a check from the government every month. That’d probably be another $4 trillion or $5 trillion it’d have to print every year. By point of comparison, that’s about how much money the Fed created in total the last 8 years. Now, as we said before, a little more inflation would in fact be a good thing right now. But what Stein wants wouldn’t create just a little more. It’d make inflation go up, and up, and up, and, well, up as long as the Fed was printing money—which, if she had her way, would be forever.

This is about as serious a proposal as you’d expect from a medical doctor who winks and nods at anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists like Stein does. She’s telling people that they can have something for nothing. The only question is whether Stein doesn’t know the facts or just chooses the ignore them—although, in the final analysis, it doesn’t really matter which.

She wants to do to America’s economy what the worst economies in the world have done.

Back to Paul Krugman’s larger point:

Now, maybe you don’t care. Maybe you consider center-left policies just as bad as hard-right policies. And maybe you have somehow managed to reconcile that disdain with tolerance for libertarian free-market mania. If so, by all means vote for Mr. Johnson.

But don’t vote for a minor-party candidate to make a statement. Nobody cares.

Remember, George W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000, but somehow ended up in the White House anyway in part thanks to the Nader vote — and nonetheless proceeded to govern as if he had won a landslide. Can you really imagine a triumphant Mr. Trump showing restraint out of respect for all those libertarian votes?

Your vote matters, and you should act accordingly — which means thinking seriously about what you want to see happen to America.

8 responses to “Vote like your life depends on it (because it does)

  1. One wonders, if Democrats are so up-in-arms, even going so far as to recount the same debunked-a-million-times-over spoiler smear, why they remain fully committed to our system of First-past-the-post (a.k.a. plurality rules or winner-take-all) elections? Certainly, at least in states where they have an electoral advantage, you would have seen some movement toward IRV, approval voting, antiplurality voting, Borda counts, or literally any system other than FPTP. But they did not.

    The Democratic Party had a chance to implement approval voting in its place 3 years ago with the Republican-sponsored HB 2518, which passed the house… with every member of the House Democrat caucus voting against it.

    Pima County Democratic Chair Jo Holt said tonight at a multiparty forum that one of her party’s platforms and values is ‘representative democracy’? Why does the voting pattern of the House Democrats against real electoral reforms such as proportional representation and approval voting contradict their party’s stated values? Or does ‘representative democracy’ only mean that voters get to choose their officials after party insiders and the donor class gets to set up and buy off the limited set of choices?

  2. Hillary Clinton has a lengthy essay at policy.mic entitled “Here’s What Millenials Have Taught Me.” https://mic.com/articles/154407/hillary-clinton-here-s-what-millennials-have-taught-me#.BucvNa74H

  3. For Sure Not Tom

    Saying that nobody cares if you cast a protest vote is not true, this is the age of big data, please stop saying this.

    They’re going to know who cast that “protest” vote and why.

    In fact, they can predict with a high degree of certainty who’s going to cast a “protest” vote and for whom, because smart phones and the web have been around for a long time now.

    I know these things because it’s part of my job.

    Trump is a criminal/con man/compulsive liar/wife beater/traitor/birther/tax cheat/racist/make-up wearing-hair-fetishist narcissist/dead beat/thalassophobe/Putin groupie/tiny handed/crappy business man who can’t get a loan from a US bank because of 4 bankruptcies/serial adulterer/sexist creep who pervs on his own daughter and who’s biggest claim to fame for years was being put on an allowance by his creditors in the 1990’s and for getting into girly fights with Rosie O’Donnell because his tiny ego got hurt…

    Who’s not a billionaire and won’t release his taxes because he’s a little coward hiding things nor his detailed medical records because he’s a vain little man. No, he did not give those to the scammer Dr. Oz.

    On the other hand….

    Clinton is still courting war criminal Kissinger’s blessing, who has the blood of millions of innocent people on his hands, which speaks louder than anything about her, in fact it screams about her lack of humanity and shame.

    And she made millions from secret speeches to banksters and Wall Street, people most of us think should be in prison.

    Obama made a great case for Clinton in his speech in Pennsylvania last week, Sanders is saying vote for Clinton now and start the revolution after the election because Trump is that dangerous to America.

    Sanders makes an unarguable point.

    Maybe stop saying “protest” vote, it’s offensive and counter to what you’re trying to accomplish, especially with Millennials, who don’t like to be talked down to.

    Maybe try saying “a strategic long term vote for Clinton”.

    GD it do I hate this election.

    • Applause.

    • The takeaway observation in your comment, FSNT, is that millennials don’t like being talked down to.

      Funny thing, I’m a boomer and don’t like being talked down to either.

      But these are record times for “down talking,” huh?

      Think all the down talking will work? It keeps reminding me of that old children’s fable about the North Wind and the South Wind. But I’m just some old boomer who still doesn’t like being talked down to.

      • For Sure Not Tom

        I’m at the tail end of the Boomers myself, Bob Lord, but I was thinking about my Millennial aged daughter when I wrote that.

        She’s the sweetest kid, but she’s called me out a few times when my small town mid-western roots start to show. She organizes rallies and protests because she walks her talk.

        Once while watching a show of America’s Mighty Military Power fly over some sporting event, she said, out loud, “gotta make sure everyone remembers to be afraid”.

        Even I cringed for a second, and then realized what she was saying. Why are B2 bombers flying over a stock car race (I did say I had small town roots) other than to either scare people or incite some false patriotism for war?

        These are the kind of people Millennials are. They’re not easy to manipulate.

        My daughter and her friends are not the exceptions, they’re fearless, knowledgable, and pretty damn badass, you need to appeal to their intellect, not give them End of Days nonsense.

        But I need to learn to keep my posts shorter, but isn’t anyone going to ask what a thalassophobe is?

        Because Trump is a thalassophobe. It’s why he sold the Trump Princess.

        Well, that and one of his bankruptcies.