Hillary Clinton recently sat for an interview with Lena Dunham from the HBO series Girls. During the interview, Clinton had some advice for less-than-enthusiastic voters:
Whenever I’m talking to young women about politics, I always say, look, you don’t have to run for office, you don’t have to be actively involved, but you do have to exercise your brain in deciding what you believe and who you will support. . . . And sometimes, it is choices between people that none of whom excite you, but study it enough to figure out, OK, if I vote for this person over that person, I’m more likely to see progress on something I care about. . . .
You kind of can cut through that [the negativity of politics] and say, look, I not only have a right, I have an obligation to make a choice. That’s part of the service I pay for living in our country. So I’m going to vote for X or Y. Not because I think that person is perfect, but it’s going to be better than the alternative. If you can’t get excited, be pragmatic and do it anyway.
If You Can’t Get Excited, Be Pragmatic and Do it Anyway just might be the motivational song both parties have sung to their constituents for the past fifty years. No, we’re not going to give you a candidate that offers any real hope. No, we’re not going to present a candidate who bucks the system, challenges the establishment, holds to firm principles, fulfills his campaign promises, adopts sound fiscal policies, understands international politics, rejects the influence of money-lobbing lobbyists and corporate special interests, or supports the Constitution even nominally. But even if our guy is lousy, he’s better than the alternative, so … vote for him or her even if you’re not excited about it. The “service you pay” for living in this country is legitimizing and perpetuating the cycle of greed and corruption that maintains career politicians in positions of power. It’s your civic duty!
No. I’m not excited about Hillary Clinton. Or Bernie Sanders. Or any of the “electable” Democrats. Or Donald Trump. Chris Christie. Jeb Bush. Or any of the “electable” Republicans. And I won’t vote for them either. It’s actually my civic duty to not vote for people who suck the lifeblood from my neighbors.
The two-party system is rigged. Pragmatism is what got us here. Do we really think pragmatism is going to get us out?