Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Commentator Says He’s 50% Bernie-or-Bust—the 50% That Doesn’t Matter

Kyle Kulinski, host of YouTube’s Secular Talk, recently released an introspective segment concerning his stance on the Bernie-or-Bust movement. 

Kulinsky calls himself a “50%” Bernie-or-Buster because he will be writing in Bernie’s name or voting for Jill Stein if Clinton secures the Democratic nomination—but only because he lives in New York, a “deep blue” state. If Kulinski lived in a swing state, such as Ohio, he confesses that he would feel compelled to vote for Clinton to prevent Trump from becoming president.

I applaud Kulinski for stating his position clearly and without condescension. But I think it’s pretty misleading for him to call himself “50% Bernie-or-Bust” if he would vote for Clinton in 100% of the instances in which doing so would make a difference.

It’s easy to see why Kulinsky reaches the conclusion he reaches. He’s terrified of a Trump presidency—as he should be.

The weird thing is that Kulinsky is educated enough about Clinton to realize that she is even more terrifying than Trump. I simply don’t understand how he can say, “I trust [Hillary Clinton] with an army more than I trust Donald Trump with an army.”


Why would anyone be more frightened of what Trump says he will do militarily than of what Clinton has already done? It’s terrifying that Trump talks about using the American war machine like an irresponsible, misinformed schoolyard bully—but not nearly as terrifying as the corpses and displaced populations on five continents that are the direct result of Clinton’s worldwide meddling.

Kulinski goes on to say, “I trust Donald Trump with the nuclear codes and the army 0%. I might trust Hillary 8%.”

Kyle, have you fallen on your head?

I agree that we should trust Donald Trump 0% with the military and the nuclear codes because we have no idea what he’s going to do.

But that doesn’t mean we should trust Clinton 8%. In fact, we should trust her negative-100% because we know exactly what she’s going to do with the military: the same terrible and expensive things she advocated first as a senator and then as secretary of state.

A Trump presidency is terrifying, but people who allow a fear of Trump to dissuade them from voting for the candidate of their choice are doing precisely what Kulinski often faults Barack Obama for doing: conceding their leverage before the negotiation even begins.

I’m Bernie-or-Bust because this election is too important for Americans to allow their fears to extinguish their hopes. If Bernie doesn’t get the nomination, I will be voting for Jill Stein (whose platform bears a stunning resemblance to Sanders’) and urging everyone I know to do the same—even though I realize that a sufficient Bernie-or-Bust turnout might result in the election of someone as frightening as Trump.

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the DNC can try to trap me in this game of chicken, but I won’t be the one to swerve. And I won’t accept the blame because I don’t believe there will be any. I genuinely think a Trump presidency is a better outcome for the American people and the world than a Clinton presidency. 

We all know that Clinton won’t do anything about carbon emissions, but she’ll talk enough about the importance of doing something to keep the rest of the world from taking action. By contrast, Trump will almost certainly provoke the global population to defend itself from his contempt for the health of the planet. 

The same logic applies to almost every other important issue because Clinton has the clout and the expertise to maintain the deadly status quo. Trump has neither. 

Trump is outrageous—and that’s a good thing. He will rile up resistance. He will motivate me and millions like me to fight his policies for as long as he’s in office. When opposition candidates require support, they will get it because Trump loves attention and will go out of his way to shine a spotlight on his own despicability. Most importantly, the resistance to Trump will be effective because our government has built-in checks and balances that Trump doesn’t fully understand how to bypass.

Clinton understands how to bypass those checks and balances and how to prevent opposition coalitions from forming. She’s made a career of lubricating the American political system so that it processes the agendas of her donors.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both bad for Americans. So why should I fear Trump more than Clinton if Clinton is the one with infinitely more skill and experience at being bad for Americans? This is the giant hole in the argument against Bernie-or-Bust advanced by folks such as Kulinsky, Cenk Uygur, and even Bernie himself. 

I’m not willing to drive headlong into a Trump presidency because I’m fearless, but because I can’t help being more frightened of Clinton’s deeds than of Trump’s gibberish. Here are four questions I couldn’t help asking myself as I became 100% Bernie-or-Bust: 

1) Trump says he can’t be bought, but do I think he will end up in the pocket of military-industrial profiteers?
I think so—but Clinton is already in their pocket.

2) Do I think Trump will do anything substantive to keep jobs in America?
I doubt it—but Clinton has already worked to send jobs overseas. 

3) Do I think Trump will lower our standing in the world?
I’m sure he will—but surer that Clinton already has.

4) Am I worried that Trump has vowed to commit war crimes?
Here I think Trump is entirely preferable to Clinton if only because of his reckless honesty. She knows how to use the coded political speech of Obama, Bush, and Cheney to disguise American aggression. Since Trump won’t bother to learn that code, he will unify the world in opposition to our campaign of global terror that masquerades as anti-terrorism. Clearly we citizens cannot prevent our leaders from miring us in eternal warfare. We need help from the rest of the world—help that Trump will catalyze and that Clinton will artfully diffuse.

I can’t imagine answering those questions any other way. So anyone (including Sanders!) who tells me to get behind Clinton to prevent Trump from winning is simply fear-mongering in the time-honored tradition of the Democratic Party. 

I understand being fearful that a Trump presidency will turn America into a re-enactment of 1930s Germany. We shouldn’t dismiss that possibility out-of-hand, but we shouldn’t embrace it as inevitable when a sober evaluation of the evidence suggests how unlikely such an outcome really is. Trump might try to be Hitler, but I honestly don’t think he has it in him. I don’t think he has the political skills or the deep-seated hate required. Hitler had to buy his own hype to give himself the energy he needed to terrorize the world. Trump is too lazy to buy his own hype.

A Trump presidency is far less likely to be a nightmare than a bad dream from which Americans will awake before he completes a single term.

The nightmare Clinton scenario, on the other hand, involves using a no-fly zone over Syria to provoke war with Russia so as to distract Americans from the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Even if you believe the Clinton nightmare scenario is less terrifying than the Trump nightmare scenario, which outcome do you think is more likely? 

If Kulinsky answers that question honestly, he’ll understand why I’m counting on Bernie-or-Bust voters in swing states more than anywhere else.

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