Every Sunday night for the last three weeks, I’ve reminded myself that Tuesday is Primary Day and I have to vote. And for the previous two Mondays (but not today), I’ve corrected myself that the New York primary election is on the 19th.
On one level, I shouldn’t care. I’ve written in these pages previously that all of the candidates are, to put it politely, useless. And I could reasonably say that I don’t have time: my duties this week have me leaving the house at 0530; I have to catch up with paperwork after hours; the polling place is in a really awkward spot, not near a subway station.
Beyond that, I’m a registered Democrat. My parents were, and up until maybe 2000, I would consider the candidates for an office and often decide that while the Republican candidate’s views were closer to my own, the Democrat seemed to be less of an arrogant asshole. I’ve thought about changing, but to vote in the Republican primaries this year, I would have had to change my party registration by last October. And it wasn’t clear back then that the Republican primaries would be as interesting as they turned out to be.
Still, it’s Election Day, and I have a choice. And our country is troubled: I have to make the effort, pointless though it may be.
And my choice, for tomorrow, is Bernie Sanders.
I actually disagree with Sanders on many of his policy decisions. While I believe that there may be room for the rich to pay more in taxes, I don’t believe that we can tax enough to finance some of Sanders’s more grandiose schemes.
But if Bernie Sanders is elected President, with a Republican Congress, the result will be gridlock. And that is, in fact, a good thing: it means that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will be able to make things worse. Gridlock worked for the deficit: after years of trillion-dollar deficits, the figure has dropped to less than half that.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton is just another Demican (Republicrat?). The Republicans will rail against her, as they do against Obama, but in the end will go along to get along. (And I’ll skip, for today, all the other reasons I don’t believe Hillary Clinton is unsuitable to be President.)
Our country needs a change. Unfortunately, the change we really need will be necessarily painful and disruptive, especially in the short term. And the government—even if it were an absolute dictatorship—can’t fix our problems by fiat. Until we can face reality, then, the next best alternative is a government that does nothing, so that at least it can’t make things worse.
And so tonight, I’m feeling the Bern.
(Or is it that I just had too much to eat?)