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The Airing of Grievances V: Jill Stein

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In the immediate aftermath of the election, Kara Brown had a loving tribute to Jill Stein:

Without ever possessing even a sliver of a chance of maybe possibly ever becoming President of the United States, Jill Stein continued her farce of a campaign drawing attention and support away from the only goal any of us should have had: defeating Donald Trump.

Now, she has the nerve to post these janky-ass Martin Luther King, Jr. memes.

[click through for infuriating-in-context meme]

I’m guessing MLK would not be thrilled with you right now, Jill! He’d probably wonder why you didn’t rally your supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton so, I don’t know, maybe we could avoid Donald Trump unraveling eight years of Obama gains and appointing two Supreme Court justices. I DON’T THINK HE’D FIND YOUR FUCKING MEME VERY HELPFUL.

I know that white people are not familiar with the concept of voting for survival and my god was that apparent this election. I of course blame myself for absolutely none of this, but I do feel like an idiot for even believing, when faced with this test, that this country would do the right thing.

Stein has apparently raised $2.5 million for recounts in WI, MI, and PA. I guess this is supposed to be a mitigating factor, but it pisses me off even more. What could be more Green than investing in almost-certainly-futile recounts to stop Trump rather than just, you know, telling your swing state supporters to vote for Clinton, the vastly superior candidate from any point on the left spectrum?

To me, Stein’s after-the-fact attack of conscience just underlies the extraordinary bad faith behind her entire enterprise. Nobody who knows anything really thinks that there’s no meaningful difference between a competent, moderate liberal and a grotesquely corrupt and unfit authoritarian committed to Coolidgnomics. Nobody can claim with a straight face that “1. Running an ill-informed buffoon for president every 4 years. 2. That’s about it” represents some kind of serious theory of social change that would justify putting the much worse candidate in the White House. The vast majority of Stein voters (or people on the left who just wouldn’t vote for Clinton) were just free riders who didn’t want Trump in the White House but expected this not to happen. This kind of thing works until it doesn’t.

To be clear, I don’t think that in the end Stein swung the election; like most such counterfactuals, it founders in Pennsylvania. I also don’t think this is much of a defense. In a period of political crisis, she ran a campaign whose only possible material effect would be to put Donald Trump in the White House, and spent her campaign reinforcing the ridiculous narrative that this was a race between to equally corrupt candidates who were similar ideologically. We can be extremely confident that this campaign was dishonest as well as counterproductive. When you willingly join a firing squad set to execute much of the New Deal and Great Society, it’s not much of a mitigating factor that you were ultimately given a blank.

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