Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wake Up, Millennials, and Back Hillary Clinton

As the father of three (3) Millennials myself, I know that Hillary Clinton may not be their ideal candidate.  That said, they realize that Donald Trump poses an existential danger to America an, therefore, will be backing Hillary Clinton.  Perhaps their pragmatism comes from having grown up surrounded by political activism (the youngest helped on literature drops beginning at age 4 and liked to help work the polls on election day) and the reality that one often has to pick the better of the candidates one has to pick from.  They may also correctly see a vote for a third party candidate as a wasted vote or a de facto vote for the least acceptable of the two major candidates.  Sadly, too many Millennials seem to be blind to the fact that a vote for a third party candidate in 2016 is tantamount to a vote for Donald Trump.  An op-ed in the New York Daily News makes the case of why Millennials need to back Hillary Clinton.  Here are excerpts:
I am a so-called millennial today, a member of a generation that, having grown up with a disaster stamped in our psyche, now seems poised to make a disastrous mistake.
Millennials are poised to elect Donald Trump as America’s 45th President. In 2012, Barack Obama won the 18-to-29-year-old demographic by a landslide of 60% to 37%. Right now, Hillary Clinton has a minuscule 31%, less than even the losing side in the last cycle.
Millennials have gravitated in huge numbers to the third party candidates, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, who together are garnering some 36% of support from this cohort, putting Hillary only slightly ahead of Trump in a cohort that she needs if she is to win.
It seems so obvious to me that Donald Trump is unfit to be President that I don’t know where to begin in making the argument to those of my contemporaries who will throw away their votes on a third- or fourth-party ticket. To me, Trump is a clown, an ignoramus, a racist, a bigot, a liar, a misogynist — a moron who somehow, through an act of collective madness, has managed to rise to the top of one of our two major parties.
But so many millennials don’t seem to care. It’s not that most of my contemporaries don’t recognize Trump’s manifest deficiencies. But to some of them something else is far more important. It seems that for those backing Johnson and Stein, politics is an exercise in creating morally pure world.
Bernie Sanders promised them just that with his political revolution and they swooned. Now that the prospect of purification has vanished along with Sanders’ candidacy, they are angry and feel both excluded and vengeful.
This leads them to dismiss Hillary Clinton as a quintessential representative of the unacceptable status quo. Many of the millennials I know trot out the usual complaints: She’s insincere, she’s a johnny-come-lately and phony progressive, and a neo-con stooge. They fault her for having supported criminal-justice policies that led to mass incarceration and for voting to bring America into war in the Middle East.
The same contradiction leads them to view Trump as merely a blunter expression of the same unacceptable collection of qualities they find in the former First Lady.
I want to suggest that, even if all their complaints about Hillary were true, they would still be irrelevant to the important decision that lies before us on election day — and not only irrelevant but deeply pernicious.
A failure to make distinctions can lead to catastrophe. German Communists in the early 1930s fought the Social Democrats with the same energy that they fought the Nazis, declaring that both parties were roughly equivalent forms of “social fascism.” Hitler benefited enormously from this disastrous and false equivalence.
Trump is no Hitler — he’s a lot more ridiculous and therefore less menacing — but he does relish violence, foment inter-group discord, spew falsehoods, brandish irrationality and foster a cult of the personality.
In a world in which there are genuine dangers of the kind that I saw with my own eyes as a child, how could we possibly gamble on giving such a problematic individual the immense powers of the American presidency? If one’s purpose is to make the world better, as so many millennials profess, it would seem that a first obligation would be to avoid making it dramatically worse.
In a curious way, the millennials voting for Johnson and Stein share an outlook with Trump supporters in their eagerness to tear down existing structures with the expectation that something new and better will arise in their place. That’s not a real choice before us.
Hillary Clinton does not walk on water. She will not solve all or most of America’s problems. She will certainly not bring about the kind of revolution that some of my contemporaries are dreaming about.
But at this juncture, she is the only alternative to one of the darkest figures in all of American history. If millennials vote en masse for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, decades from now they will have a difficult task of explaining to their children their terrible miscalculation.

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