I’m going to argue that even voters in non-swing states, who think their votes for president don’t count because of the electoral college, should still vote for Clinton.
Partly, I think this election is much too important. I don’t want to screw around, not with this one. I don’t want to take a chance on electing a literal fascist because the polling was off and Nevada was closer than we thought it would be. (Stephanie Zvan has an excellent piece on why “swing state” thinking is harmful, both in the short-term and the long-term.)
But I also think the popular vote counts. It isn’t what elects the President (absurdly). But it sends a signal: to the voters who won, to the voters who lost, to other people running for office, to the rest of the world.
And when November comes, I do not want this to be a close election.
In theory, third-party votes for anyone but Trump should be read as “anyone but Trump.” But that’s not how it’s going to be read. When this election is over, almost all the media reporting will be on the gap between Clinton and Trump. And I want that gap to be HUGE.
This isn’t just an election for President. It’s a referendum on bigotry and literal fascism. It’s a referendum on keeping Muslims from entering the country, on saying Latinx judges can’t be fair and Latinx immigrants are rapists, on whether the United States should invade countries to get their oil, on whether the United States should commit war crimes, on whether Russian intelligence should hack into the email of a U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State, on making it illegal for newspapers to criticize the President, on ignoring the Constitution and treating it with contempt. It is a referendum on whether voters who lose an election should respond by shooting the President or the judges she appoints.
That doesn’t just need to be beaten. It needs to be trounced. It needs to be humiliated. It needs to be laughed off the stage.
We need to send a message to Trump’s die-hard supporters. We need to make it unmistakably clear to the hateful bigots, the literal white-supremacists, the angry white men who think it’s unfair that their entitled power is being chipped away and want a return to the “good old days” where immigrants and women and people of color knew their place: This shit doesn’t work. You will never again win. You will never even come close to winning. Get with the times, or slink back into your hole. Your time is over, forever.
We also need to make it clear to Trump supporters: This election was not rigged. Trump is already saying that if he loses, it’ll be because the election was rigged. Funny how that works: it’s legitimate if he wins, it’s only rigged if he loses. (That’s especially ironic since voter suppression is a real thing in the U.S., and it overwhelmingly suppresses people who would vote progressive.) But many of his die-hard supporters are violent racists who hold the Constitution in contempt, and I’m not the only one who’s nervous about what they might do if Trump loses. We do not want to give them even a shred of a reason to think Clinton wasn’t elected fairly.
We need to send a message to other would-be Presidential candidates. We need to make it unmistakably clear to the next fascist wanna-be who thinks about pulling this shit: This doesn’t work. It doesn’t even come close to working. If you campaign on a platform of bigotry and toxic hatred of immigrants and Muslims, if you campaign on a promise of “making America great again” as a dog-whistle to people who oppose women’s rights and queer rights and immigrants’ rights and civil rights and the Constitution generally — you won’t just fail. You will be destroyed. You will be humiliated so badly, it will ruin your political career forever. It will make you so politically radioactive, nobody in politics will have anything to do with you again.
We need to send a message to Congress. When a President is elected in a landslide, it’s much easier to get their agenda passed. Clinton’s agenda is pretty damn liberal: if you want the more progressive parts of it passed, if you don’t want her constantly horse-trading and dickering and trading away important progressive policies just to get anything done at all, helping her win in a landslide is a great way to do it.
We need to send a message to the rest of the world: The United States is not a fascist state, and we’re not going to be a fascist state. We may be fucked-up — okay, fine, in lots of ways we are fucked-up — but when we were on the brink of literal fascism, we rejected it utterly.
And we need to send a message to the ill-informed voters who aren’t the hard-line bigots but haven’t been paying close attention and think Trump isn’t that bad. Human beings have a tendency to think whatever the people around them think: hatefully bigoted fascism becomes more acceptable when people think their neighbors support it. So we need to send a clear message: Yes, he really is that bad. We reject him utterly. Your neighbors don’t agree that fascism is okay.
You can send that message, no matter what state you live in. Help make this a landslide. Vote for Clinton.
(Comment policy: In addition to my regular comment policy, I’m going to ask people to keep comments narrowly focused on this issue. This is not a platform to discuss everything else you do or don’t like about Clinton or Trump. Thanks.)