I’m a Democrat, have been most of my life. I have voted for an occasional down ballot Republican before. Not recently.
I had the opportunity to be a guest on a radio show recently (WXLU-93.9 FM in Lexington, KY) where I was billed as an Author, Blogger and Political Junkie. We reached a point where listeners could call in and all of the calls I received were about politics.
Let’s be clear. The program I was on was titled “Urban Conversations” and it wasn’t likely many Trump supporters were listening, none called. It’s important to note that the callers weren’t calling to bash Donald Trump. There seemed to be a universal acceptance of who and what he is. The questions did indicate that the callers were looking for more than simply an alternative to Trump. They wanted an affirmative reason to vote for both Hillary and the Democratic Party.
One question received was, “Why not support Jill Stein?” The caller proceeded to outline various parts of the Stein platform and wanted to know why I couldn’t support those ideas vs. those of Hillary Clinton. My answer was relatively brief, starting with, “Jill Stein can’t win! She’s polling 3% in the polls and has no chance.” I wish I’d gone on to say the following: “I don’t have the luxury of making a protest vote. I live in Florida where the result is going to be close and the 29 Electoral Votes there, could easily determine who wins the election. A vote for Jill Stein in my state is exactly the same thing as a vote for Donald Trump which both of us abhor. If I lived in New York, or California, or Alabama, I might have that luxury but I don’t.”
Another caller asked about the Democratic Party memo in 2015, suggesting a strategy for dealing with Black Live’s Matter? I agreed with the caller and said that the letter was a strategy of appeasement rather than dealing specifically with the issues raised. I asked the caller to understand what the Democratic Party is. A coalition of interest groups including black people, Hispanics, Jews, Asians, LGBTQ, and others. Even if there existed a strategy to appease black people? It’s up to us to maintain the pressure and push the party and candidates to meet our demands. Within the Democratic Party, there is that opportunity. The Republicans (unless you believe the alleged attempt by Donald Trump to reach black voters) don’t even speak in terms of attracting black voters. They actively discuss the need to attract Hispanic voters (excepting Trump), black voters have been written off in their strategy and policies.
Another question that arose; “What about Hillary Clinton’s role in mass incarceration and the Crime Bill passed during her husband Bill’s tenure as President? I thanked the caller for the question (because that’s what surrogates do) and replied as follows. It’s important to note that every President since Nixon has played a role in implementing policies that furthered mass incarceration including President Barack Obama. The stimulus passage designed to help save the economy had components where the Federal Government paid local police forces to increase drug arrests and also helped militarize urban locations. The Obama administration is reversing much of what happened then and is doing what they can to reduce mass incarceration but their hands aren’t totally clean. What Hillary Clinton has said is that the Republican Congress was getting ready to force feed a crime bill down Bill Clinton’s throat and that the bill that passed was a compromise and a much better bill that would have passed. It should be noted that the bill had bi-partisan support including that of the Congressional Black Caucus.
I also made the case that Hillary Clinton with her background is ready to be President. She has a knowledge of what the job is that far exceeded Bernie Sanders and her pragmatism has led her to incorporate many of his policies into her programs.
I was trying to limit my comments to positive reasons to vote for the Democratic Party and their candidate Hillary Clinton but there was one thing I couldn’t keep from saying. “The Republican Party can never be an option for me while they continue to try to suppress black people from voting.” This is a coordinated effort that includes the Republican National Committee, A.L.E.C., state legislatures, and Governors. Even after a panel of Federal judges in North Carolina pointed out that a law they said was unconstitutional had been specifically drawn up to target black people. Several individual counties which had to review the law; went ahead with its implementation. Many Republican officials have admitted the purpose of the laws which is “to win elections.” I can never support a Republican again as long as they are trying to maintain power by suppressing my vote.
The Democratic Party is by no means perfect. All candidates including Hillary Clinton have flaws. When I discuss the election with Republicans. I find I have more knowledge of the real shortcomings of both than they do. Yet I stand unequivocally with the Democratic Party. Within the party I have a mechanism to be heard, to make my voice count, to help inform policy. There is no such opportunity with the Republican Party. And for the time being, the Libertarian Party and Green Party simply cannot win.
I make an appeal to those considering voting for another Party to rethink those plans. The stakes are too high to throw your vote away. I’m with them and I’m with her!