Your 3rd-Party “Statement” Vote Is A Vote For Ignorance And Privilege
Supporting Non-Viable, Unqualified Candidates Only Harms The Most Vulnerable Among Us
Iâ€™ve written more than a few columns about why Iâ€™d never be able to consider voting for Donald Trump or anyone who stands by the 2016 GOP platform. More recently I wrote about why Iâ€™m proudly voting for Hillary Clinton. In response, many folks said they wouldnâ€™t vote for either candidate and that they were planning on voting for a third-party candidate. This columnâ€™s for them.
Letâ€™s get something out of the way first: Either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will win the election in November. Period. Thatâ€™s it. These are your options. These are the only options. And, with that in mind, I have absolutely no problem saying that a vote for a third-party candidate is a wasted vote.
I get that there are some folks who believe theyâ€™re making a moral choice by voting third-party. Plenty of people have convinced themselves that thereâ€™s some sort of moral equivalence between Trumpâ€™s racism, misogyny, xenophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, homophobia and overall offensive bigotry, and Clintonâ€™s bad decisions â€” both of which sheâ€™s acknolowledged, learned from, and apologized for (not that Trumpâ€™s ever apologized for anything in his life). Let me say this as clearly as possible: These are not moral equivalents. Not on any level, so letâ€™s stop even entertaining the possibility that they are.Â
Some folks say theyâ€™re helping grow a movement. This is their chance, they say, to really make an impact and set the stage to end the two-party system. In a vacuum, yes, this is an argument that could be made. In reality? No. People have been working on growing this â€œmovementâ€ for decades and itâ€™s never gone anywhere. Itâ€™s not going to happen now.
The last third-party candidate who was even remotely viable was Ross Perot back in 1992. You know what happened with him? Nothing. In 2000 there was Ralph Nader and he legitimately affected the election â€” he took away many of Al Goreâ€™s voters and gave us George W. Bush instead. It was the ultimate irony: the folks so passionately liberal they wouldnâ€™t even vote for a mainstream Democrat gave us one of the worst GOP presidents in recent history.Â
According to some historians, Lincoln and the GOP were considered third-party back when he won. I asked my friend Dr. Josh Dix about that, and he pointed out: “It’s true that the GOP was the newest mainstream party in 1856 and 1860, but it was not a third party in either election. The Whigs folded in 1854, and the GOP came on scene in 1856. In that election, it came in second in electoral votes. In 1860, with Lincoln, it won the most. It wasn’t a third party; it became one of the two major parties before him.â€
While third-party voters are out there trying to make a statement, the rest of us have to deal with the fallout. Itâ€™s an incredible statement of privilege to be able to vote for a third-party candidate and accept the consequences of a loss without much harm. Many of us donâ€™t have that luxury. Weâ€™ve seen the types of people Donald Trump surrounds himself with. Voting for a third-party candidate who has no chance of beating him tells the world that you donâ€™t care about the folks who will be most affected by his hatred â€” youâ€™d rather make a statement. In my book, thatâ€™s incredibly selfish.
Letâ€™s not pretend that the current crop of third-party candidates are noble alternatives, either. Libetarian Gary Johnson, the only one to appear on the ballot in all 50 states, is no bastion of liberal love.Â As Think Progressâ€™ Judd Legum points out:Â Johnson’sÂ in favor of Citizens United. He wants to reduce corporate tax to 0 percent. He has no plan for climate change. He wants to abolish Social Security. Heâ€™s against any kind of mandated minimum wage. In what world are these good liberal policies? If youâ€™re a Bernie-or-bust person thinking of voting for Johnson, youâ€™ve missed the mark entirely.Â
(I suppose nowâ€™s a good time to mention that Johnsonâ€™s also simply not smart enough to be president. Heâ€™s tried to play off his â€œWhat is Aleppo?â€ and â€œName one world leader you admireâ€ gaffes as calculated â€œawww, shucksâ€ moments, but the truth is, he has no idea about how to handle foreign policy. Itâ€™s not his fault, though â€” one of the main tenets of the Libertarian Party is the idea that we should never interact with any other countries.)
Jill Steinâ€™s no better. Aside from the fact that sheâ€™s not even on the ballot in all 50 states and itâ€™s statistically impossible that sheâ€™ll ever be elected to anything, sheâ€™s got absolutely no experience â€” even less than Trump. Hereâ€™s a really great breakdown of why Stein is absolutely not the savior the Left is looking for. Frankly, Steinâ€™s candidacy is so absurd sheâ€™s not even worth the the column inches here.
Evan McMullin is a write-in candidate from the Right. Heâ€™s in favor of using religion as a means to discriminate, anti-abortion, against the Affordable Care Act, pro-gun, and basically the kind of person many Republicans had wished theyâ€™d nominated â€” in other words, heâ€™s not here for us, our family or our friends.
For better or worse, the two-party system is what we have, and itâ€™s here to stay. I think it can be noble to try and change that â€” but not when the alternative is Trumpâ€™s America. What does it matter that youâ€™ve proudly made a statement in favor of a movement when your neighbors are being rounded up and deported? How is it noble to actively enable the kind of misogyny Trump has been so proud of? How is it responsible to seek a long-term change when the short term damage would harm so many?Â
A vote for a third-party candidate in 2016 can only be justified by privilege or ignorance. Youâ€™re either going to be safe enough (thanks to your masculinity or your race) to not be affected poorly by Trumpâ€™s policies or youâ€™re so foolish you think your third-party vote will matter. Either way, itâ€™s incredibly selfish and irresponsible, and it shouldnâ€™t be who we are as a society.
The mark of a great society is how well it treats its most vulnerable. Voting third-party in 2016 flies in the face of that belief. Either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton WILL be elected president on Nov. 8, and youâ€™ve got a decision to make.Â
Robbie Medwed is an Atlanta-based LGBT activist and educator. His column appears here weekly. Follow him on Twitter: @rjmedwed.
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Trump Lawyer’s ‘Critical Evidence’ Will Help DOJ Make Decision to Charge ‘Without Significant Delay’: Former Prosecutor
Donald Trump‘s attorney Evan Corcoran, who allegedly directed another Trump attorney to draft the false statement claiming all classified and sensitive documents had been returned, has been ordered to testify before a grand jury and hand over documents and records to Special Counsel Jack Smith in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents criminal investigation.
Trump appealed U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell’s decision ordering Corcoran to testify and hand over documents, including handwritten notes. The Appeals Court in light speed mode, rejected Trump’s appeal.
Corcoran will be testifying before the grand jury on Friday, CNN reports.
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One former top DOJ official, Brandon Van Grack, says the “Special Counsel is about to get access to the most critical evidence in the case. Should allow DOJ to make a charging decision without significant delay.”
He did not define what “without significant delay” means in terms of days, weeks, or months.
Van Grack served at Main Justice for eleven years, including as a lead prosecutor in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and later, as the Chief of the DOJ’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit.
“The announcement from a panel of three judges in the appeals court – less than a day after Trump sought to put Corcoran’s testimony on hold – adds momentum to the special counsel investigation as it seeks to secure evidence that could make or break a federal criminal case against Trump,” CNN explains. “The Justice Department has successfully argued in court that prosecutors have enough evidence that Trump’s interactions with the lawyer were part of a possible crime that they can pierce the confidentiality of the conversations between the two.”
‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
A former top Dept. of Justice official says a federal judge’s expedited ruling ordering an attorney for Donald Trump to testify against his client before a grand jury and hand over documents very well may be related to “national security.”
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith had successfully made the case Donald Trump may have committed a crime, via his attorneys, in his classified documents case. That finding allowed her to invoke the crime-fraud exception, and order Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to testify before the grand jury investigating the ex-president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents.
Former FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann, who also worked for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and headed the DOJ’s Criminal Fraud Section, Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC said it’s possible Judge Howell’s expedited decisions were related to national security.
Tuesday night Judge Howell ordered DOJ to provide information by 6:00 AM Wednesday.
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Trump appealed Howell’s ruling, and Wednesday afternoon the Appeals Court denied his appeal related to the documents, Politico reports.
“I’ve never seen anything that quick. It’s very hard to know why. I have to say, to me, when I think about what can be a plausible reason– and this is pure speculation – is that there must be something in the papers that gave the judges concern about national security implications, because it’s such a short timeframe.”
“The reason this is a bombshell is you could end up with Evan Corcoran as a key, fundamental witness against Donald Trump in an obstruction of justice case and a false statements case,” Weissmann adds.
According to Politico, Wednesday’s appeals court ruling “effectively permits the Justice Department to circumvent Trump’s attorney-client privilege after a lower-court judge found that the documents likely contain evidence of a crime.”
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This article was updated to correctly spell Andrew Weissmann’s last name.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Trump Appeals After Judge Agrees With Special Counsel on Crime-Fraud Exception and Requires His Attorney to Testify
Donald Trump’s attorneys have appealed a ruling that requires one of his lawyers to testify before a grand jury investigating his unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return classified documents from the White House.
Attorneys for the Special Counsel “said there is evidence of a deliberate effort not to turn over all the material covered by the subpoena,” The Washington Post reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell had reportedly agreed with Special Counsel Smith that there is sufficient evidence proving Donald Trump may have committed a crime via his attorneys, and ruled his attorney must testify before a grand jury. The ruling, which was not made public, was handed down Friday night, NBC News reported Wednesday afternoon.
Judge Howell “ruled in favor of applying the ‘crime fraud’ exception to Trump’s attorney-client privilege and ordered Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to testify before the federal grand jury.”
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Trump’s attorneys have already appealed the ruling.
“People familiar with the matter said an appeals panel has already begun reviewing the decision, after Trump’s lawyers appealed,” The Washington Post adds. “The extraordinarily quick timeline suggests that the judges — all nominated by Democratic presidents — intend to rule swiftly.”
Trump could take his case all the way to the Supreme Court, but The Post says it’s “not clear he would have a much better chance of success there.”
According to an NBC News report from October, Corcoran directed another Trump attorney, Christina Bobb, to sign the letter claiming a thorough search of Mar-a-Lago had been made and all classified or “sensitive” documents had been returned. That was proven untrue after federal agents, executing a search warrant, recovered hundreds of documents with classified markings.
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