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Don't Mistake a Protest Vote for a Strategy


Don't Mistake a Protest Vote for a Strategy

Tom Gallagher

Last week, I received the same response from a crowd of Bernie Sanders backers that I had seen another group of his supporters give the man himself the prior week in Philadelphia – they jeered me. I was kind of flattered, actually. In Bernie’s case, the negative reaction was in response to his support for the election of Hillary Clinton, against whom we had all campaigned for so long.


The only “protest vote” would be a vote for Clinton. Voting for Jill Stein is voting for America’s future.


This 2016 national election is public waterboarding, nothing less.


So, last week you were jeered in California for parroting the same “lesser-of-two-evils” argument that all the other Clinton drones are being jeered for? Well, with this article you’ve given yourself the chance to be jeered here at Common Dreams. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are staring extinction in the face because they are both irrelevant to the majority of voters. A revolution is coming, nobody knows what it will look like, but it’s coming. Your argument that the Repubs and Dems will continue to monopolize our nation’s politics no matter how much they screw up only points out the narrowness and rigidity of your thinking. You cited some history; keep this in mind: The nobility and the church ruled every aspect of French life from the time of Clovis (around the year 500), but then the revolution came, and the “inevitable” establishment rulers couldn’t believe what was happening to them. Of course, our American Republican party was nothing until the Whig party disbanded due to irrelevance. Now the middle class knows that it’s being screwed, that the government belongs to corporations and billionaires, and absolutely nothing is getting done in Washington except further enriching of corporations and billionaires. At least one of the “inevitable” parties is going down, and your buddy Hillary is just the kind of empty pants-suit who can unite the people against her own party and lead the Dems to their demise. So go back to the DNC and tell them and Sara Silverman that you dutifully delivered your talking points but no one is listening to you. In fact, they are booing you. BOOOOOOO!!!


One must ask whether the last 30-35 years of evidence have made any impression upon Mr. Gallagher.


“For November, let’s think about all of those other important races down the ballot. And even if you do opt for Jill Stein in a “safe state,” let’s start thinking about the 2020 presidential primaries.”

My strategy is to vote for Jill Stein (in a not-so-safe state incidentally) in hopes that the Green Party attains more legitimacy and viability in 2020. If we don’t start voting for a third party it will never happen. I don’t at all see my vote as a protest vote. J.S. is who I want for president.

And Ponytail, I think I might have accidentally posted this as a response to your post. It was by accident. I 100% agree with what you said.


“And it pains me to no end that we didn’t put the candidate that virtually every poll said was stronger out there against Trump in the final.”

I really can’t stand the way the term WE is used to normalize graft, corruption, and machinations taken by INSIDERS… not “we.”

Who is represented by the “we” that eliminated Sanders?

Certainly the many obstructions to voters in too many states shows that Mrs. Clinton did NOT win… certainly not by fair and balanced standards. (This is a case that had nothing to do with “we,” either.)

It’s precisely these sorts of memes that normalize the lies told often.

WE had nothing to do with it. Mrs. Clinton (as well as the idiot-boy, Trump) serve the 1%.

Sanders would have had a victory had independents been included and actual voting places left open and all votes counted.


Great point. And the next 35 years will be more of the same unless we stop falling for the lesser-evil/wasted-vote nonsense arguments.


I harbor no delusions that Dr. Stein will be our next President. I support her, as I have done the Green Party nominee in three of the last four Presidential elections (including for Nader, for which I will never apologize) as my way of saying “none of the above” and “go f#$% yourselves” to the two-party duopoly.

This time the object in supporting the Greens is to cause Clinton to LOSE this election. For that must happen if the left EVER hopes to take the Democratic Party over for The People. True, that might not happen, but it certainly won’t happen if Clinton becomes POTUS and she and her faction continue to control the party and the process for another four or eight years. They only lose power if they lose office, simple as that. We have a slim chance that in this year of extreme protest, dissatisfaction, and the disruption of both major party’s primaries, that an insurgency of truly motivated and angry citizens who have finally had enough of the same old crap can overthrow the established order of the Democratic Party, take it over, and start running it for average working people, instead of a group of extremely wealthy oligarchs. It’s a chance, and we must try. #NeverHillary. Stein/Baraka 2016!


CD will you please, please publish some articles that are pro-vote Stein! and I mean pro-vote Stein in swing states! Those are the most important to vote Stein! I don’t have the time to refute all the points in the article today, maybe others do. “They’d like nothing better than for us to go off with the Greens” - so what are we waiting for then?


Reich-wingers: “let’s overthrow the party elites and put in Trump”
Dimocrats: :“let’s hold her feet to the fire”
I can hear it now “how’s that ‘feet to the fire’ working out for you?”


The author apparently hasn’t seen the study that shows if the election was fair, Sanders would have won anyway. If someone could post that link again, appreciate it…


The problem I have with articles such as this is that they are condescending and thus offensive.
Condescending and offensive because the writer here, as do writers of other “stifle your gag reflex and vote for Clinton” articles, assumes the role of an impatient parent addressing a wayward child, i.e., “Now sonny boy, I know you really want to do (whatever) BUT I KNOW BEST and FOR YOUR OWN GOOD I am telling you what you are going to do because I am smarter than you are.”
Any self-respecting person, child or adult, would bristle at such a disrespectful approach and I certainly do.
This election year has been the most coercive in my lifetime and I have been following politics since the mid-60s. Coercive in the sense that the Clinton campaign/Democratic party has been trying, since the election began with the primaries, to bully people into believing that they have no choice but to support Clinton, and that if they don’t that they are racist, sexist and Trump supporters.
There is something authoritarian about that and I totally reject it.


To phrase it in a politically correct fashion, I find it perverse to label a vote for a populist candidate “a protest vote”.

To be completely honest, such labeling is downright SICK.

Don’t let Clinton spoil Stein’s opportunity to reverse the economic decline of the 99%. Vote Green in 16.


Agreed! Have a strategy, not just vote in protest. Voting a third party has a strategy. Yes, the odds are extremely long and few expect Jill Stein to win in Nov. But this election, with a lot of momentum given such disdain for repubs and Dems, can build a political foundation. At a national level, probably all the parties of the left should ban together (if possible) in future elections for greater effect, maybe under the banner of a progressive party. It will be key to run at local and state levels not necessarily under this banner but with similar visions and values. It may even be effective to primary against Dems.

This will take time, perhaps a long time. The author clearly does not have the staying power and has given up.

The political goal obviously is to win elections and seats in government. However, pressure from the outside from the left could have a much greater on the Dem Party than working on the inside.


Don’t mistake encouraging corruption for a strategy.

Voting for Clinton will just tell the DNC that acting as an arm of the Clinton campaign in the primaries was fine. That ending Obama’s bans on lobbyist’s participation in the convention was fine. That selling out to wealthy donors is fine.

They’ve already shown their contempt for progressives. Voting down Sanders party platform amendments on superdelegates, fracking, TPP, justice for Palestine, single-payer/medicare for all, and a carbon tax showed that. Clinton making Debbie Wasserman Schultz honorary head of her election campaign showed that. Clinton’s choice for a VP showed that.

Why do they hold such contempt for progressives?

Because they view us as belligerent captives. Our policies make their donors uncomfortable. They’d like us to just shut up. They don’t want us chanting “No more war” at their convention. They think they can treat us like unwanted step-children in a Grimm’s fairy tale because we’ve nowhere else to go.

They think we have to vote Democratic because they aren’t Republicans. And cowardly turncoats like Tom Gallagher do their work for them by telling us that we must vote Democratic and work to change the party from within.

We just saw what happens when a progressive tries to change the Democratic party Tom. It chews them up and spits them out. They’ve been crushing progressive candidates for years.

Voting for Clinton will just tell them they’re right. The only thing that can save the party is a massive exit from the party. Nothing else will get their attention. They will never change direction otherwise.

Save the Democratic party. Go Green.

‘Safe’ state or not.


The guy is a former Democrat Party politician. Enough said. But I will add I am not part of your party and I (I’ll add we here) clearly aren’t wanted anyway.


I wrote in Rocky Anderson’s name in a very safe state in 2012. He had a very strong record on climate change and Barack Obama had stopped mentioning it altogether. In a swing state, I would have voted for Obama. But Gallagher’s statement “In other words, we shouldn’t abandon the Democratic Party – where we may not feel loved – for the Green Party, where we may feel better, but go nowhere.” The Republican opponent this time is not Mitt Romney, but Donald Trump. That means for the sake of the country and the entire world Hillary Clinton cannot afford to lose. This is like no other US presidential election.


Couldn’t agree more, voting for the DNC candidates tells them that their behavior is just fine. The DNC needs to be punished mercilessly this time around. Only then will they get the message that they can’t spit in the face of progressives and still get their vote. The DNC dems hate progressives with a passion. They are basically republicans who call themselves democrats to get votes from uninformed democratic voters. Anyone who finds the Clinton’s policies abhorrent, and still votes to put the two of them back in the WH is foolish beyond belief. When Clinton starts new proxy wars against Russia in places like Syria, then everyone who voted for Clinton is culpable for the results. I will vote for the Green Party every time now, no matter what. The DNC will have to be purged and replaced before I will ever consider voting for their candidates ever again. They pretty much lost me for good.


Okay. Let’s imagine Trump wins.

He hamstrings environmental protection, food and drug inspection, child labor laws and jumps on eternal war and regime changing with gusto. On top of that he continues militarization of police, holds the line on minimum wage, signs TPP, continues destabilization of Latin America and claims global warming is a hoax.

La de da. Don’t talk about reality. Stick with the same old same old.

Vote Green no matter whether your state is safe or not.