The Power of the 91%

With only weeks until the election, anyone even vaguely hinting that they are considering a third-party vote is being browbeaten by both frightened friends and total strangers. “A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Trump!” they shriek. “This is not the time for a protest vote!”

To add insult to injury, President Obama has told us he considers it a personal insult to vote for anyone but Hillary. Well, sir, consider yourself insulted. I am also insulted by the Neoliberal policies he has disappointingly supported in recent years. Policies that have chipped away at our liberties, little by little. Policies that have involved us in endless war in the Middle East that have made us a target for terrorism due to the hundreds of thousands of innocent people we have killed in the corporate cabal’s quest for money and oil. Policies that would only continue under Clinton.

What ardent Hillary supporters can’t seem to understand is that my vote for Jill Stein does not take a vote from either Clinton or Trump. If it were not possible for me to vote for the Green Party, I simply would not be voting for president at all. Only down-ticket progressive candidates would get my vote.

Why anyone assumes Clinton automatically has a right to my vote when she has done nothing to earn it is beyond me. The argument: “She’s not Trump!” isn’t good enough. Although she may have done a few positive things during all her years in politics, the number of horrendous policies she has supported and enacted, which she will certainly continue to support, far outweigh them. I, for one, am fed up with our country being involved in endless wars around the globe that she has had a major part in creating.

No, my vote for Jill Stein is not a “protest vote.” Sure, I’m disgusted by both Trump and Clinton, and would vote for the local dogcatcher before I voted for one of them. But I truly believe Jill Stein is an excellent candidate who could help bring America back from the brink and transform it from a worldwide laughingstock into the example of democracy the founders of this country envisioned. I could not imagine a better first woman president than Jill Stein—one I could proudly hold up as an example for my daughter.

And I’m not alone. Support for third parties is gaining by the day. Only 9% of Americans cast a primary vote for Clinton and Trump, combined. Sanders should by all rights have been the Democratic nominee, but the DNC ensured from the beginning through election fraud and the undemocratic superdelegate system that Clinton was to be the candidate, despite Sanders polling double digits above Trump, far more than Clinton ever did.

A whopping 91% of the electorate did not vote for Trump or Clinton—this includes Independents, third-party voters, the Bernie or Bust people and Democrats and Republicans who did not vote. This is a huge voting bloc that can completely turn this election around.

Neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party represents me or the majority of the American electorate anymore. For example, the incumbent Colorado Democratic Senator, Michael Bennet, for whom I previously voted, is up for re-election. Then I found out he is against universal health care in Colorado, supports fracking, had supported the construction of the Keystone pipeline, and had voted for the NDAA, an act that allows the government to label any American an “enemy combatant” so they can be imprisoned indefinitely without charge or access to a lawyer.

After doing some research, I was glad to find Green Party candidate, Arn Menconi, was set to challenge Bennet this year—a man whose truly progressive platform actually represents my interests. Like Jill Stein, he supports universal health care, a $15 minimum wage, racial justice, wants to crack down on Wall Street, and opposes the TPP, the Dakota Pipeline, and the NDAA.

However, it takes an active effort to find out about great candidates like Menconi because the major media are not doing their job. They only cover the two major parties. The mainstream media gives time to only those candidates with huge budgets to spend on advertising or the ones who bring in ad money because people enjoy watching the media circus created by people like Trump. “What insane thing is he going to do or say next? Tune in to find out!”

Luckily, there are 48 states in which Stein is on the ballot or can be written in, including D.C., which is more than enough for an Electoral College victory. Same for Gary Johnson, on the ballot in all 50 states. The fact that both these candidates have been shut out of the debates is a perversion of democracy. Why are we allowed to hear from only half the presidential candidates on the ballot? It’s because the Democrats and Republicans are not eager to give up the power they have amassed for themselves and their corporate cronies to fleece the American people for all they can.

Meanwhile, the candidates really working to change government for the better are outspent by the corporate-owned major party candidates and rarely get their voices heard. Democracy Now is to be congratulated as the only major media to create an “expanded” debate in which they inserted Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka’s responses into the presidential and vice-presidential debates.

If we, the 91%, keep voting for one of the two candidates the corporate-controlled major parties keep offering as our only choice, nothing will ever change. We will continue to be in a state of perpetual war; big banks will never have to pay for their disastrous decisions; people of color will continue to be killed by an increasingly militarized police force; more environmentally devastating projects, such as the DAPL, will be approved for the benefit of the banks and oil companies; and families will continue to suffer under a minimum wage that cannot support even the most modest of lifestyles.

A third-party vote is not just “sending a message,” although it does tell the oligarchy that we, the serfs, will no longer settle for crumbs from the lord’s table. It is the only way, barring revolution, that things in the US will change. And make no mistake, revolution is indeed the next step should the corporate-owned politicians refuse to listen to the will of the people. We are sharpening our proverbial pitchforks.

If either Clinton or Trump is elected, the government can expect huge protests, including everything from economic boycotts to prolonged acts of massive civil disobedience. The people are waking up and are becoming more aware of who the enemy really is. It’s not people from Muslim countries, nor is it a foreign government like Russia trying to subvert democracy. It is our very own government, which is pointing the finger at everyone but themselves.

If the 91% of the electorate, who have been ignored by both the Republican and Democratic parties, were to vote for Stein or Johnson, one of them would easily win the election. Despite what the corporate-owned media tell you, we must stop believing that a third party can’t win. Lincoln won as a third-party Republican in 1860.

Remember, our government exists to serve us, not the other way around. It can only function with our approval. Voting for one of the two major parties is giving your tacit approval for the government to continue business as usual. However, a united 91% of us can do as our forebears did during the first American Revolution and free ourselves from oppressive leaders by voting for third parties. Time is short, but change is possible, and real revolution is just around the corner.

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