If Your Favorite Dem Doesn’t Win The Nomination And You Decide To Stay Home, You’re A MASSIVE Idiot

Before we begin, let’s be perfectly clear: this is not an article in support of either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. I know who I’m voting for, but I’m not endorsing nor publicly supporting either. My “guy,” in the political sense, was and always will be Barack Obama and I fought the good fight in 2008 to help him get elected. I have no interest in repeating the same shovel fights this time around.

With that out of the way, if your favorite Democratic presidential candidate doesn’t win the nomination and, consequently, you decide to stay home or vote for a third party in November, you need to grow the hell up and keep your contrarianism to yourself. Ben Spielberg, writing for The Huffington Post, along with his colleague H.A. Goodman, have each pledged to not support Hillary Clinton if she wins the nomination over challenger Bernie Sanders.

They’re otherwise smart guys, but they’re being really, really stupid.

While Spielberg and Goodman, along with thousands of other loyalists from either side, bask in their pious idealism — voting their conscience or whatever childish excuse they use to justify their stupidity — they’re in effect contributing to the election of a Republican president. Whether it’s Trump or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the irrefutable fact that whoever the GOP president might be, he (Trump, Cruz, Rubio) will absolutely undo everything President Obama and the congressional Democrats have achieved faster than you can say “lesser of two evils.” Fact. We’ll circle back to this.

The popular vote spread in 2008 and 2012 was roughly five percent, so all it takes to elect a Republican president in November is for, say, five percent of Democratic voters who would’ve otherwise cast a ballot to stay home instead — ostensibly curled up in their safe space, drinking hot cocoa and wearing their footie pajamas — gloating about their righteous and noble self-disenfranchisement. Incidentally, a poll released earlier this month showed that 14 percent of Sanders supporters pledged to not support Hillary Clinton. If that bears out in November, say hello to President Donald Trump and all of the horrifying consequences that go along with his presidency.

Of course, the same calculus applies to voting for a third party candidate. If, for example, Bernie Sanders fails to win the nomination and runs independently, and many of his supporters defect from the Democratic Party and vote for him in the general, they, including Bernie himself, will be handing the election to the Republicans for a really, really easy victory.

First of all, doy, any vote for an independent Bernie ticket is a vote against Hillary Clinton, therefore, at the end of the day, it’s a vote for the Republican ticket. It’s math. Take away a vote that would’ve otherwise gone to the Democrat and it’s one more vote the Republicans don’t have to overcome.

Second, there’s almost literally a zero percent chance an independent candidate can win, Bernie or otherwise. The electoral college is a fairly impregnable firewall against third party presidential candidates, since electors are pledged to cast their votes to the Democratic and the Republican candidates, and most states have a winner-take-all process for assigning those electors. In other words, Bernie (or whomever) would have to defeat both Hillary and the Republican nominee in enough states to get to 270 electoral votes, and such a feat is statistically impossible.

Thirdly, there’s also the money factor. Even Ross Perot, who enjoyed a nearly limitless supply of personal wealth to draw from, didn’t win a single electoral vote in spite of the fact that he won an unprecedented 18 percent of the popular vote — 19 million total votes. A third party challenger would have to achieve an historically rare political miracle, achieving popular vote victories in a dozen or so states against candidates with vastly more recognizable names.

And finally, there are only so many electoral votes to go around. So, let’s say a third party candidate achieves a miracle and wins just a few states with enough electors defecting to that candidate. Great. Doing so could prevent either the Republican or Democratic candidate from hitting the magical 270 threshold for victory. What happens then? According to the Constitution, the mental patients in the House of Representatives would be tasked with choosing the president. That’d be the current House with its GOP majority, by the way, including crazy people like Louie Gohmert.

Meanwhile, while suffering from delusions about achieving this literal miracle, the reality is that a split Democratic vote means a Republican victory in the same way that Trump, for instance, running a third party challenge (should he lose the nomination) would split the Republican vote and elect the Democratic nominee.

This really shouldn’t be a difficult concept to grasp, people.

By the way, regarding the “lesser of two evils” trope — please, just cut the shit already. First of all, the two parties aren’t the same, unless the Republicans suddenly begin to support: constitutional gender equality, same-sex marriage, mitigating the climate crisis, amnesty for undocumented workers, raising taxes on the one-percent and expanding civil rights, to name a few things.

At the end of the day, voting for the Democratic nominee, regardless of the candidate, the match-up or the election year, isn’t so much about the candidate — it’s about the stakes. It’s about understanding the greater good, rather than narrowcasting in support of your political man- or woman-crush. Voting against the Democratic nominee isn’t really a vote against the nominee, it’s a vote in support of a conservative majority in the Supreme Court that’d endure for another generation or more. I, along with 17 million other Americans, will lose our health insurance after the Republicans repeal Obamacare. Scores of women will be driven into back alleys after the Republicans de-fund Planned Parenthood and criminalize abortion. Income inequality will widen; fracking and off-shore oil drilling will expand; the deficit will explode; same-sex marriage will be slowly restricted again; and we can certainly count on another endless war in the Middle East. That’s just off the top of my head.

And much of it will be directly attributable to voters like Spielberg and Goodman who were too naive to understand how elections work.

Featured image via video screen grab.