By Dave Rubino
If you are a Trump supporter, I’ll save you some time. This post is not for you. I’m thoroughly convinced that there is no common ground between Trump voters and Hillary supporters, so there’s no need to start an unnecessary flame war. You go your way, I’ll go mine. Who this post is REALLY for is the “Disillusioned Democrats” among us: the scorned Bernie supporters, the Jill-Stein-because-I’m-sick-of-the-two-party-system advocates, the progressives who think Hillary is too moderate, too “Wall Street,” or too untrustworthy to waste a vote on. Most of all, this post is for those of you who are so fed up that you are deciding to just sit this one out.
I’ll give it to you straight: your country needs you. We need you to bite the bullet. We need you to suck it up. We need you to vote. And we need you to vote for Hillary.
Here’s the naked truth: there is only one issue that matters in this election. Only one. The Supreme Court.
No matter what you think of Hillary – whether you think she stole the primary from Bernie, whether you think she’s a moderate in liberal’s clothing, whether you think she is completely untrustworthy and dishonest… none of it matters. You’re not voting for her. You’re voting for her appointees.
Even if you don’t trust her, do you really think that she is running on a Democratic ticket but would abandon her party completely and appoint right wing judges? Is your theory really that she’s in cahoots with the Republicans? If you don’t trust her, don’t rely on her to feed your goldfish. Don’t lend her your favorite sweater. Don’t tell her a lifelong secret dream. But appoint a Supreme Court justice? Yeah, let her do that. You’re not at risk.
To the Bernie lovers and the third party candidate advocates, I get you. I respect you. I know how hard it is. Your voice did not just go unheard – it must feel more and more like it was was actively silenced. That’s discouraging. It’s infuriating. It’s hard to forgive. And if you think it is hard for you, imagine how hard it is for Bernie. Yet he stood up and endorsed Hillary. He implored you to stand with her too. Because there is too much at stake.
Know this and make no mistake about it: a vote for Trump is a vote for regression. A vote for a third party is a vote for regression. A vote for nobody… is a vote for regression. Here’s the thing, so much of what we progressives love in this world was given to us by the Supreme Court. And the things we hate? Taken from us by the Supreme Court. Some of this you know: Brown v. Board of Education told us racial segregation is not okay. Roe v. Wade gave women the right to choose. Obergefell v. Hodges gave us gay marriage. NIFIB v. Sebelius upheld Obamacare.
But let’s not forget how dangerous a Supreme Court with the the wrong kind of justices can be. The Dred Scott decision said even a freed slave in a free state had no rights as a citizen. The Korematsu case said Japanese internment camps were a-okay. Citizens United (and Buckley v. Valeo before it) brought money into politics at unprecedented levels – holding that political expenditures by corporations were protected by Free Speech. The Voting Rights Act, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting, was decimated by the Supreme Court in 2013. And of course the Bush v. Gore case gave us a President who lost the popular vote to his rival by half a million votes.
And those are just the ones you know. What about granting women the right to vote? Sure, that was done by Amendment to the Constitution in 1920, but did you know that the Supreme Court had the opportunity to review the issue in the 1875 Minor v. Happersett case? The conservative Court concluded that the Constitution did not grant women the right to vote. Forty-five years could have been saved with the right judges on the bench. How about gun control? Our rivals on the right are always so vocal about their inalienable right to bear arms but did you know that until 2008 no such right existed at the Federal level? That’s when the conservative majority of the Supreme Court extended its interpretation of the Second Amendment in District of Columbia v. Heller to include an individual right to bear arms. Before that, the states got to decide what was appropriate and reasonable. Not anymore.
I could go on. But my point is simple. The Supreme Court matters. It matters a lot. It matters for decades. When you vote in this election, you are NOT simply voting for a President who may be in office for four to eight years. You are voting for something much more powerful. You are voting for the institution that has been the catalyst for social change – or social regression – for most of our country’s history. Justice Scalia is dead and his seat is vacant. Justice Ginsberg is 83 and will undoubtedly retire. Justice Kennedy is 80 and may or may not last another four years as a Supreme Court justice. Breyer is 78. This is a unique election. Whoever takes the Presidency will have as many as four Supreme Court appointments in a single term. This will, without a doubt, govern the trajectory of our nation for the next twenty to thirty years. Know this Bernie supporters: if you don’t vote, Trump wins. And even if Bernie ran again in four years and beat the pants off of Trump, it would be too late. The Supreme Court vacancies will be filled and you will not stand a chance of seeing Bernie’s vision manifest until a bunch of fairly young Trump-appointed judges retire or die. The best you can hope for is 2040 or 2050 – if you’re around that long. Stein supporters? A vote for Stein is, without question, a vote against renewable energy and for fracking for the next thirty years. Because a vote for Stein is a vote that puts Trump in the White House; and that means conservative Supreme Court justices who will systematically declaw environmental legislation. Bye, bye functioning EPA.
Listen, I love Bernie. I love Jill. I love the idea of a multi-party political system. I really do. And Hillary IS too moderate for me. But that’s okay. I’m voting for her anyway. Because I’m not just voting for Hillary. I am voting for what Hillary can, must, and will give me from now until I’m at least 75: a Supreme Court that moves our country forward no matter who is steering the ship. If you can’t stomach voting for Hillary, then tell yourself you’re voting for the three or four judges who will be appointed by her. The three or four judges who will protect your right to choose, uphold the legitimacy of your same sex marriage, take money out of politics once and for all, and move our country in the direction we all, as progressives, agree it should be headed.
Thank you, Bernie for your passion. Thank you Jill, for your conviction. But thank you, far more so, to the many Supreme Court justices that have moved our nation forward. Here’s hoping we can add to your ranks. #Imwithher