Dick Sciaroni: ‘Protest’ votes don’t count
Many Americans are dissatisfied with the candidates put forward by the two major parties. The percentages of Americans with negative views of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton are at historic highs.
Some voters are considering the notion of not voting for either Trump or Clinton, seeing their decision as a “protest” against the state of presidential politics. This approach is as simplistic and it is wrong. Leaving the boxes for president unchecked will mean nothing. No one will take notice. The number of so-called “protest votes” will not be counted. The only vote that counts, the only vote that will make a difference, will be a vote for one candidate or the other, Trump or Clinton.
Whether one likes the candidates themselves, the fact is that our campaign process has produced two primary contenders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. One or the other will be elected president in November 2016. Their positions on the issues facing America are as clear as they are different.
In deciding who should sit in the Oval Office come January 2017, voters should focus on what a Clinton presidency or a Trump presidency would mean for America, and choose accordingly.
Make no mistake, a Trump presidency would mean an oligarchy with the “haves” continuing to loot America of its treasure and its spirit. Corporations and their CEOs, not the citizens, would control government just as they have skewed the electoral process. The notion that all Americans should have access to affordable healthcare would disappear. Fact-based science would be discarded in favor of a heedless pursuit of profit that would devastate the planet. So-called “religious rights” legislation would subject employees to the personal beliefs of their bosses. Continuation of the prohibition against Medicare negotiating prices with drug companies would leave the ill and aged at the mercy of unscrupulous manufacturers. Reasonable regulation of fossil fuels would disappear in favor of the bottom line. Environmental regulations that protect Americans against unhealthy air, water and products would evaporate. Education of our children would suffer while the wealthy elite would continue to send their children to private schools.
Hard-working immigrants who came to this country to better themselves, and in doing so bettered America, would continue to live in the shadows, unable to contribute fully to the America they love while waiting for the dreaded knock on their door. The right to marry would be denied those whose only “fault” was to love and love deeply. Americans of color would continue to suffer the decades-long discrimination that has denied America the full measure of its birthright as the land of equality. And women would be maligned and marginalized. Meanwhile, foolish and misguided military adventures overseas (remember the Iraq War?) would only fuel more hatred of an imperial America and recruit still more fanatics intent on destroying our country.
Those who want all of the above for America have their candidate: Donald Trump.
If the notion of voting for The Donald is repugnant, simply not voting at all risks denying America of the future it would have under a Hillary Clinton presidency.
Unlike a Trump presidency, a Clinton Presidency would mean better healthcare for more Americans. It would mean an America that serves its citizens’ interests, not its corporations’ coffers. Science and technology would serve the people, not the investment accounts of a wealthy elite. Workers’ access to healthcare would not hinge on their employers’ religious preferences. The elderly would be able to afford needed medications. All Americans would continue to breathe clean air and drink safe water. All of our children would learn and thrive, not merely those whose parents can afford an elite education, and the American economy would be blessed with a well-trained work force.
Immigrants would be included in an America that welcomes those willing to work and contribute. The Supreme Court would protect the rule of law, not the interests of the elite. Love would be celebrated, not reviled, and every American would be honored as an equal participant in the continuing journey toward the American dream of equality for all.
Each of us has a choice. Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump: equality for all or prosperity for some.
If the notion of a Trump presidency is as repugnant as it appears to so many, not voting for Hillary Clinton would only increase the likelihood of a Trump White House.
Not voting at all will mean nothing, and could mean that Donald Trump will be America’s next president.
Dick Sciaroni lives in Grass Valley.
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