There is a clear-cut choice

by Guest Blogger David Gerrold

So … I think I’ll blur the details here.

There was this person who was expounding on the upcoming election and why he wasn’t going to vote for Hillary Clinton. It was his first time voting, you see, and he wanted someone who understood and represented his generation.

He said to me, “You don’t understand — “donald-trump-h-1024

And that’s where I had to stop him. “Look, I do understand. Really.”

“How can you understand? You’re too old.”

“Do you think I was born old? Y’know, I have pictures. Here’s me at thirteen — ”

“But times were different then — ”

“Yes, they were. You could get polio and measles and smallpox. An appendectomy was a serious operation. People smoked everywhere, there was no getting away from the smoke. In school, they taught us to duck and cover in case of a nuclear attack. Whites and blacks still had separate restrooms and drinking fountains. Women couldn’t get a legal abortion. Gas had lead in it. Vegetables were sprayed with DDT. You could be arrested for being gay. Yes, times were different.”

“No, I meant that protesting was a fad, not serious like — ”

“Excuse me? Do you want to see the scar on my scalp where I was hit by a thrown bottle at the first gay rights march? We also had civil rights demonstrations, anti-war marches, and rallies for women’s rights as well. That was no fad. People were dying — ”

“No, look, man — it’s the establishment. That’s what’s wrong — ”

“And you want to replace the establishment with what? A different establishment? Listen — when I was your age, when my generation was your age, we were just as frustrated and just as impatient as you are now. Honest. Am I saying we were wrong? Hell, no. We were right. Better than that, we were so right, we were self-righteous. We went around saying, ‘Don’t trust anyone over 30,’ as if somehow when you turned 30, you became one of them. Y’know?

“You know what we missed? We missed the obvious — that there were a lot of good men and women over 30 who understood the issues, and the complexities of the situation better than we did — because they’d been fighting that fight for a lot longer. We had emotion, we had energy, we had spirit — but we didn’t have enough experience, enough history, enough of everything we needed to effect real change.

“So we didn’t turn out for Hubert Humphrey and we handed the country to Richard Nixon. And a generation later, other people didn’t turn out for Al Gore and handed the country to George W. Bush. And what was missed — both times — was the fact our impatience was the single biggest mistake we could make.

“Hubert Humphrey had experience, he had wisdom, and he shared our goals. Al Gore had experience, he had wisdom, and he shared our goals. But somewhere, enough of us decided that he was too old or too much of the establishment or didn’t really represent us enough, or would just give us more of the same when what we really wanted was more, better, and different, even if we couldn’t define it — enough of us felt that way to hand the presidency to a much worse administration.

“So, no — it isn’t that you’re wrong. It’s that there are people who’ve been down this path before. We know where it leads. And it’s not a good place. We know what this mistake looks like. Because we’ve made it ourselves — and we’re asking you not to make the same mistakes we did, because each time we make this mistake, everyone gets hurt.”

And he said, “So that’s a fancy way of saying ‘suck it up, buttercup, you can’t have what you want.”

And I said, “No, but if that’s the way you want to hear it, then that’s the way you’re going to hear it. The way government works, nobody gets everything they want. The way government is supposed to work, everybody negotiates — and eventually everybody gets a piece of what they need to keep going. Nobody likes that, but consider what the alternative is — if some people get everything they want, that means a lot of people are going to get nothing at all. We keep trying that, it doesn’t work. Let’s go back to the stuff that does work.”

“But I don’t like her — ”

“I’m not asking you to like her. I’m asking you to respect that she knows how to do the job. He doesn’t. You can have your protest vote, that’s your right, but that’s letting everybody else decide who gets the oval office. And you might want to think long and hard about which of the two will build on what President Obama has accomplished and which of the two will tear it all down with no idea of why it worked in the first place. Your choice.”

And he said, “That’s not much of a choice.”

And I said, “The hell it isn’t. It’s a choice between experience and ignorance. That’s the clearest choice I’ve ever seen in an election.”

He didn’t have an answer for that.

And that’s the point —

I might be old, but I’m not stupid. And I suspect that a lot of other members of my generation feel the same way. We remember when we were impatient. And we remember the mistakes that our impatience created.

Old people don’t tell young people what to do and what not to do because we want to control your lives — we just want to warn you not to make the same mistakes we did.

But you will. Or you won’t. Because it’s your choice. Always.

Nebula and Hugo award winning author David Gerrold is the author of over 50 books, several hundred articles and columns, and over a dozen television episodes. TV credits include episodes of Star Trek, Babylon 5, Twilight Zone, Land Of The Lost, Logan’s Run, and many others. Novels include WHEN HARLIE WAS ONE, THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF, the “War Against the Chtorr” septology, The “Star Wolf” trilogy, The “Dingilliad” young adult trilogy, and more. The autobiographical tale of his son’s adoption, THE MARTIAN CHILD won the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novelette of the Year and was the basis for the 2007 movie starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Joan Cusack. He also has a story in the upcoming anthology BAKER STREET IRREGULAR, edited by me. His web page is here.

 

 

 

Selfish Stein Supporters

Look, I get it, you like her positions on the issues.

But that’s not the point.

We have the possibility of a terrible, selfish person becoming President who, by all standards, will ignore the Constitution, destroy the economy (like what happened to Britain with Brexit), and start wars with other countries while probably being under indictment for crimes he’s committed. He will fill his cabinet and the Supreme Court with unqualified people and support actions against minorities with the support of a bunch of know-nothing yahoos.

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“Trump is a millionaire who has never been elected to office and is therefore unqualified!  I, on the other hand, am a millionaire who was elected to a city council a while ago. It’s completely different!”

We have to stop him.

Unfortunately, the only possible way to do that is to vote for someone we didn’t want. (I was a Bernie supporter, you know.) But comparatively, there’s no question — Clinton is tremendously more qualified than Trump is, even though she has her own problems.

But I’m going to get one of these two candidates, and the choice between them is clear.

There is no way in this or any universe that Stein is winning. She barely meets 1% in many polls, less than the margin of error. You’re dreaming if you think voting for her will make any difference other than to help Trump win.

You want to help the Green Party? Get people elected at the local level and build your way up. (You know — “grassroots politics.”)  Even if she won the Presidency (in Bizarro America), you have to consider this: Obama couldn’t get hardly anything done with one of the parties actively working against him. Stein will have two parties working against her.

You have the power to stop Trump, but you’re refusing to do it.

It’s like stepping aside as the Nazis march by and then claiming that you had nothing to do with their actions because you didn’t help them — even though you had the opportunity to try to stop them.

You think you’re keeping yourself pure and noble by voting your conscience while ignoring the part of your conscience that should be telling you that you need to take whatever action is best to stop the Bad Guy. There is nothing noble about being neutral in the face of evil.

It’s selfish, really.

The Enthusiasm Gap

Although polls show the race tightening, as every political scientist worth his or her salt told you would happen months ago, Hillary is still predicted to be the winner by anyone who studies these things. Nate Silver has her chances at 70%.

The “worst case scenario” map

But there’s still one problem, and that’s the enthusiasm gap.

The Tea Party people are thrilled. For years, they’ve been portrayed as outsiders, crazy, on the fringe — racists, bigots, ignorant people that possibly could win a few House seats every now and then but clearly could never get into the big leagues. Trump has been their standard bearer, and this has emboldened them to be angrier, meaner, more public, and more violent.

These people will vote.

We were able to hold them back in the past partially because there are more of us than them and when we come out and vote in equal percentage, math works to benefit us.

And our enthusiasm was great, too, when we had Obama running. Young voters came out like never before, and minorities voted in almost equal percentages as whites for the first time ever.

But now?  Hillary’s enthusiastic supporters are primarily women my age and older who grew up with terrible sexism and discrimination and identify with the candidate and want the first female President. They’ll come out and vote, but will they be enough to counter the Trump fanatics?

This is why I still say that we would have been better off with Bernie. Sure, they’d be attacking him left and right for being a socialist, but I think he’d probably be doing better than Hillary because his support was enthusiastic (and even conservatives admired him for his honesty in the same way liberals used to admire McCain without agreeing with his politics). Young people especially would be out working for him and would be voting for him. Many of these people will instead be staying home in November like they usually do or else wasting their vote on Stein or Johnson.

So while I still predict a Hillary victory, I think it will be closer than expected given that our candidate may suffer in the “enthusiasm gap.”

Why Gary Johnson would help the debates

I am not a Gary Johnson fan by a long shot. And I don’t like setting a precedent of allowing candidates who are getting less than 10% be in the debates.

However, there would be two advantages to having Johnson participate in the debates.garyjohnson

First: It might make it more substantial. I can just imagine a debate moderator asking stupid questions about email servers and taco trucks and so on instead of real issues that Presidential candidates should be asked. With Johnson up there, perhaps the moderators will ignore some of the non-issues and ask real things just so he can be included.

Second: I am sure that the more that conservatives find out about Johnson, the more appealing he will be to them — and the more liberals find out about him, the less appealing he will be. Already, one major newspaper has endorsed him (The Richmond Times-Dispatch, my hometown paper, and one of the most conservative papers around). This can only help to split the Republican vote, and for a Democrat like me, that’s a very good thing.

So sure, I’ve changed my mind. Let Johnson debate. It will only help Hillary.

A Hillary supporter out and proud

by Guest Blogger Andrea Phillips

So here’s the thing: I support Hillary. I support her, I am all-in, I fucking love her and I love that she was my Senator and I love about 90% of the policies she plans to put into place. She is for raising minimum wages. She is for background checks for guns. She is for LGBTQ equality. She is for abortion rights. hillary2She is for campaign finance reform. She is for paid family leave. She is for universal health care. She is for clean energy and disability benefits and a better, more compassionate world.

She is a woman who has literally made it her life’s work to improve the lives of women. She has evolved and grown to care about issues around sexuality and people of color, and from where I sit, changing your mind when you get new information is a strength, not a weakness.

Most of all, I love her because she knows how to compromise. This is the thing about a better world: you can’t will it into place single-handedly. You can’t drag the half our nation that are Republicans kicking and screaming into a socialist paradise. It’s exactly as unfair to them as creating a Christian theocracy would be to us. Compromise. That means sometimes you won’t get your progressive way, yes. But I’ll take incremental change over trench warfare while the world burns any day of the week.

I don’t think she’s a saint nor is she some progressive avatar here to lead us to a utopia. She is a human being making human choices in a problematic environment. But I hate that I even have to say that. And I hate that I can’t even say how much I fucking love her as a candidate because of the abuse I’m expecting to get over it, not even from trolls out for lulz, but from my own family. I feel like I don’t even get to have an opinion in public. This is the climate Bernie made.

Folks, “I’m voting for Jill Stein because the other candidate isn’t progressive enough” is exactly the kind of thinking that got Canada almost a decade of Harper. Go on, ask them how that went.

I’ll be waiting here.

 

Andrea Phillips is an award-winning transmedia writer, game designer and author. She has worked on projects such as iOS fitness games Zombies, Run! and The WalkThe Maester’s Path for HBO’s Game of Thrones, human rights game America 2049, and the independent commercial ARG Perplex City. Her projects have variously won the Prix Jeunesse Interactivity Prize, a Broadband Digital award, a Canadian Screen Award, a BIMA, the Origins Vanguard Innovation Award, and others. Her book A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling is used to teach digital storytelling at universities around the world. 

You can find Andrea on Twitter at @andrhia. I mean, if you like that sort of thing.

Please explain to me Hillary’s “crime”

I am serious here. I am willing to examine evidence and will certainly base an opinion on that evidence. What is this terrible crime that Hillary committed (this time)?

At first it was Whitewater (where she and Bill lost a lot of money in an investment). No one could exactly explain to me what the terrible crime was there. Then there was Vince Foster’s suicide (who was a friend of the Clintons). Once more, no one could tell me exactly why Hillary was to blame for that. Then there were the millions spent investigating Benghazi (which, while tragic, seems to have been caused by the GOP’s cutting of the embassy’s security budget). hillary-clintons-little-email-fussI begged over and over for someone to tell me what the crime was there as well, and after many investigations, even the Republicans in Congress had to admit there was nothing.

Now there’s the email “scandal.”

Seriously, explain it to me. I’m a lawyer; I can understand big words.

And if you can, please explain why these emails, which were not distributed, stolen, or leaked, make a scandal while the 22 million emails deleted by the Bush administration while on a Republican server is not.

Apparently, from what I have read, Hillary had a private server for her emails, in the same way the previous (Republican) Secretaries of State did, and actually did better than they did, because hers were all on a personal server she controlled to prevent leaks. The policy changed after she left the position and apparently the GOP wants to hold her to the new standards that didn’t apply to her, hoping to entrap her in a loophole.  The Republican head of the FBI did an investigation and concluded that there was no crime here.

Again.

So please, seriously, those of you Hillary haters out there (because it always seems to come from people who didn’t like her anyway and never from anyone neutral): Explain it to me.

Remember that I supported Bernie in the primaries. I didn’t want Hillary as my candidate — I don’t like political dynasties (whether Bushes or Clintons), I don’t really trust what she says, and with the exception of women’s issues (on which she is great) I don’t think she really stands for anything given how she changes her position based on the polls.  I’m no “Hillary lover” so don’t call me that.

I am a facts lover. I like truth. Sometimes that means the politicians I support do bad things and I admit it, and sometimes that means the politicians I don’t like do good things and I admit it.

So. Give me some facts. Tell me why I am wrong.

 

Electoral college predictions and voodoo

Predicting who will win the election based on the Electoral College is a bit like predicting who will win the Super Bowl six months prior — there is a bit of guesswork involved because things could change dramatically by the final day, but, at the same time, there are statistics you can use to make your prediction as accurate as possible. Depending on the source, a prediction may be as scientifically perfect as possible or it may be complete voodoo.

I hate the Electoral College, but we’re stuck with it. That’s how we pick Presidents. Suck it up and deal. Let’s move on.

In previous years, I enjoyed using Electoral-Vote.com that takes the map and updates it daily based on the most recent polls. The problem with that approach is that it treats each poll separately, and sometimes they may vary wildly.

More accurate this year is Nate Silver’s 538 map. This website is run by a bunch of math nerds. They don’t just take the most recent poll; they take them all and average them together based on a number of factors including the previous accuracy of that particular pollster, whether it was a poll of all voters or likely voters, how old the poll is, and a bunch of other things I don’t completely understand because math.

According to Silver, Hillary has around an 80% chance of winning the election, which isn’t completely surprising. The problem is that this election has already broken all the rules. Silver had also predicted in the past (like every other “expert”*) that Trump would never be the nominee.


This map is from 270toWin.com and matches Nate Silver’s current prediction

Seriously, Trump’s campaign is a classic example of what not do to in a campaign. The whole thing has gone against everything I ever learned as a Political Science major, a campaign manager, a lobbyist, and a campaign worker. It goes against everything I ever taught when I was a Political Science professor. He’s done everything wrong.

Of course, that could also be why he’s only given a 20% chance of winning.

But hey, the conventions haven’t even happened yet. For all we know, the GOP will find a way to nominate someone else and then we’re back to square one. Hillary, after all, is popular only in relation to Trump. If they nominate someone else, that 80% chance of winning would drop quickly.

*including me

We choose the lesser of two evils every day

Life is full of tough choices.  Deal with it.

As I encourage my fellow Democrats to support Hillary over Trump, I constantly get people who point out Hillary’s faults (which I acknowledge many of) and profoundly say, like they’re reading a fortune cookie, “The lesser of two evils is still evil.”*donald-trump-h-1024

Most insulting is when the Bernie Bots say these things to me as if I am just too stupid to understand. Yeah, the old “wake up, sheeple” really helps to convince me. The decades I have spent getting my Political Science and law degrees, working as a lobbyist, college professor, campaign manager and lawyer, getting elected as a Judge of Elections, writing about politics, and being an officer in the Democratic party means nothing — the teenager who will be voting for the first time understands the system way more than me.

This is not to say you can’t have a different opinion about things, but please don’t lecture me about how politics works when you believe the superdelegate process is “illegal.”

Look, I supported Bernie too, as anyone who has read this blog knows. But he lost. Now we have a choice between someone who isn’t perfect and someone who is the most unqualified and dangerous person to ever win a major party nomination.

Two evils? Perhaps. Two equal evils? Not even close.

We have to make tough choices every day in life. We don’t always get what we want. Part of being mature is recognizing this. You don’t give up striving for a the best, but you also don’t refuse to take second best when that’s your best option.

I only wish someone had said that to me when I was young, because I was a lot like these Bernie supporters at that age.

*in bed

You have to play the game to win

Hillary won the nomination, as was always expected. I wanted Bernie but hey, Obama was the only time the candidate I supported in the primaries actually got the nomination. I’m used to not always getting my first choice. hillary2

Some Bernie supporters are not taking this well. Some of their complaints are indeed legitimate — there were some irregularities in voting in some of the contests that are suspicious — but those things still wouldn’t have changed the ultimate result. After all, Hillary did get more delegates and more votes.

And that’s not counting the superdelegates. Some Bernie supporters spent the entire campaign complaining about them, saying that they were thwarting the “will of the people.” These same people are now saying that the superdelegates should ignore the “will of the people” and cast their votes for Bernie instead. Come now, how can you commend Bernie for having a consistent set of policies that don’t change based on poll numbers while arguing this?

Politics is a game, and it helps to know the rules of the game. Hillary plays the game well, and she has been preparing for this day for a dozen years or more. Those superdelegates were there the whole time, and Bernie could have been playing that same game to get them on his side all those years, but he didn’t. You can’t complain about the rules of the game if you don’t play.

And let’s face it, is this a bad thing? Isn’t that what politics is about — getting people on your side, making deals, compromising to get what you want? Isn’t that a skill we want our President to have?

I congratulate Bernie on his successful campaign. He originally announced that he was running to raise the issues he felt important, and he did. People are really talking about income equality now. He also accomplished two other goals: He showed that it is possible to run for President and raise money without having to appeal to the standard Big Money interests; and he showed that you can move to the left and even call yourself a socialist and still get significant support. Those are huge things that no political scientist would have predicted a year ago (including me, here on this blog).

The important thing now is to defeat Trump. If I were a betting man, I’d place my bets on Hillary winning this for a lot of reasons, but it’s certainly not a sure thing. Those Trump supporters are rabid and fanatic, and they will vote.  We Democrats have the problem of sitting at home on election day despite the fact that there are more of us than them, and despite the fact that polls show our views are the majority ones.

And when you don’t play the game, you lose.

 

 

To my fellow Sanders supporters

Yes, Sanders may win the California primary on Tuesday, but remember: the delegates are given out proportionally. He doesn’t get them all. This is not the electoral college.bernie

To win the nomination, he’s going to need at least 66% of all the remaining delegates in all of the races that are happening on Tuesday.

That’s not going to happen.

Hillary only needs 256 delegates to win the nomination and that doesn’t include superdelegates. There are 763 pledged delegates to be chosen by Tuesday, and so Clinton can win the nomination even if she only gets one out of every three.

Still, I want Bernie to remain in, as was his plan all along, to influence the platform and use his power to make other deals with the eventual nominee.

Someone else did the exact same thing eight years ago. Let’s see, who was that? Oh yes — Hillary Clinton.