After yet another friend sharing on social media a vote-shaming post aimed at making us feel like we don’t care about Muslims or black/brown people if we don’t vote for Hillary Clinton, I feel compelled to weigh in on the Presidential election. Specifically where we as progressive Idahoans–hell, even Idaho Democrats–fit into it. While we don’t literally have a two-party system as many folks claim, we do in fact have an electoral college system.
For those who have forgotten some of high school government class, here’s a quickrefresher: The people don’t directly elect a President in this country. Instead, each state is awarded a number of electors based on how many Congresspeople they have. Idaho has four electors. Whichever party wins the popular vote in each state sends their party electors to vote on behalf of the people of that state. So while in the last election roughly 1/3 of Idahoans voted for Democrats or other parties, all four of our electoral college votes went to the Republican ticket. For all intents and purposes, Idaho’s electoral college votes always go to the Republicans. 1964 was the last time that Idaho voted for a Democrat for President.
So if you are not planning on voting for Trump for President in Idaho in 2016, your vote literally will not count regardless of who you vote for. If we don’t like that fact, there are things we could do about it, like working to abolish the electoral college and replace it with a popular vote election or, even better, instant runoff voting so we never have to worry about “throwing our vote away” by voting for a 3rd party candidate of our choice! Publicly financed elections, campaign finance reform and open debates would of course help create a true democracy too…
This post is a long way of expressing this plea: Idahoans, please, please, PLEASE stop trying to guilt-trip me into voting for Hillary Clinton! Your vote for her won’t “count” any more than mine would. The bright side to Idaho politics in an electoral college system is that we can freely vote for the candidate who best reflects our values without any unintended consequences as a result of our vote. So instead of going down the rabbit hole of outrage about all this vote-shaming by scared, well-meaning friends, I’ll instead share why I will be voting for Jill Stein in November:
I fell in love with the Green Party’s 10 Key Values when someone handed me a flyer outside the Moxie Java where I worked in 2000 and from that point on I have voted Green in all Presidential elections. To me, they create a breathtaking tapestry of all I hold dear and they hint at the policies that would make the US a country I am truly proud to call home.
I’ve been impressed with Dr. Jill Stein’s platform and actions in both the 2012 election cycle and this one. Check out her “Power to the People” platform! (taken from her campaign website). While I agree that many of the specific action items in her plan would be difficult to implement immediately, they provide a map to where I would LOVE to see our country go moving forward!
I’ll let the Greens and Jill Stein have the last words here. Onward and upward, intrepid Idahhoans!
The Green Party’s 10 Key Values–the national Green Party website goes into more detail on the specific philosophies behind these!
1. Grassroots Democracy
2. Social Justice and Equal Opportunity
3. Ecological Wisdom
6. Community-Based Economics
7. Feminism and Gender Equity
8. Respect for Diversity
9. Personal and Global Responsibility
10. Future Focus and Sustainability
Key points of Jill Stein’s Power to the People Plan (taken from her website):
A Green New Deal:
Create millions of jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, and conservation.
Jobs as a Right:
Create living-wage jobs for every American who needs work, replacing unemployment offices with employment offices. Advance workers rights to form unions, achieve workplace democracy, and keep a fair share of the wealth they create.
Guarantee economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities, with effective anti-poverty programs to ensure every American a life of dignity.
Health Care as a Right:
Establish an improved “Medicare For All” single-payer public health insurance program to provide everyone with quality health care, at huge savings.
Education as a Right:
Abolish student debt to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude. Guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university. End high stakes testing and public school privatization.
A Just Economy:
Set a $15/hour federal minimum wage. Break up “too-big-to-fail” banks and democratize the Federal Reserve. Reject gentrification as a model of economic development. Support development of worker and community cooperatives and small businesses. Make Wall Street, big corporations, and the rich pay their fair share of taxes. Create democratically run public banks and utilities. Replace corporate trade agreements with fair trade agreements.
Protect Mother Earth:
Lead on a global treaty to halt climate change. End destructive energy extraction: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, and uranium mines. Protect our public lands, water supplies, biological diversity, parks, and pollinators. Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe. Protect the rights of future generations.
Racial Justice Now:
End police brutality and mass incarceration. Create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to understand and eliminate the legacy of slavery that lives on as pervasive racism in the economy, education, housing and health. Ensure that communities control their police rather than police controlling our communities, by establishing police review boards and full time investigators to look in to all cases of death in police custody. Demilitarize the police.
Freedom and Equality:
Expand women’s rights, protect LGBTQIA+ people from discrimination, defend indigenous rights and lands, and create a welcoming path to citizenship for immigrants. Protect the free Internet, legalize marijuana/hemp, and treat substance abuse as a public health problem, not a criminal problem.
Justice for All:
Restore our Constitutional rights, terminate unconstitutional surveillance and unwarranted spying, end persecution of government and media whistleblowers, close Guantanamo, abolish secret kill lists, and repeal indefinite detention without charge or trial.
Peace and Human Rights:
Establish a foreign policy based on diplomacy, international law, and human rights. End the wars and drone attacks, cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ foreign military bases that are turning our republic into a bankrupt empire. Stop U.S. support and arms sales to human rights abusers, and lead on global nuclear disarmament.
Empower the People:
Abolish corporate personhood. Protect voters’ rights by establishing a constitutional right to vote. Enact electoral reforms that break the big money stranglehold and create truly representative democracy: public campaign financing, ranked-choice voting, proportional representation, and open debates.