I don’t think consumer-wank voting from the left will be a major problem in 2020, as having a Republican actually in the White House makes it much harder to sustain a Both Sides Do It narrative than when the threat is merely theoretical. (I think Nader may have finished behind the Natural Law Party in 2004, and not because Kerry was materially different than Gore.) But this parody of the mindset that gave us Bush and sought to give us Trump only Stein was too much of a buffoon to pull it off without the more important assistance of other ratfuckers is priceless:
Though the 2020 Democratic campaigns have barely begun, I feel it’s important to express my frank outrage with the way the field is shaping up. With the few announced candidates and the swirling rumors about potential campaigns, I’m already fed up with the Democratic party, and I plan on letting them know that when I get to the ballot box in a year and a half. So in 2020, as I did in 2016, I will be casting a protest ballot. The Democratic party needs to know I’m upset. But unlike in 2016, when I voted for my boy Gary Johnson, this time I plan on really sending a message. I’ll be voting for incumbent Donald J. Trump to show just how far left I really am.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. As a straight, white, male, do I really stand to lose anything if Donald Trump is somehow elected again? Not really. BUT! I do stand to lose something if an embarrassing old Democratic fogey is elected instead. That something? My pride. You see my conflict now.
I can tell you’re a little confused as to what the point of my protest vote is. When you’re as far left as I am, it can be hard to decipher what my actual philosophy looks like. So here’s a helpful breakdown of what the political spectrum really looks like:
Far Right = Nazis
Right = Doesn’t Exist
Moderates = Worse Than Nazis
Left = Doesn’t Exist
Far Left = Just me and six of my friends
So you can see, it’s my responsibility to ensure that a moderate like Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, or Hillary Clinton doesn’t get into office. Remember when Hillary told us to “Pokémon Go to the polls”? God, I sometimes still wake up in the night, teeth clenched, rage-screaming into my pillow thinking about that. Yes, I know Trump is keeping kids in cages at the border. But what really makes me mad is the Pokémon thing.
While we’re here, to elaborate on a point I made on the Twitter dot com website earlier, one would think the fact that every serious non-Biden candidate for the Democratic nomination is running on a platform as or more progressive than Bernie’s 2016 platform would mean a substantial reduction in the amount of anti-“liberal” posturing by the relevant minority of Sanders supporters. The idea that there’s some fundamental incompatibility between what Bernie or A O-C are proposing and “liberalism” is obviously silly; truly non- or anti-liberal versions of leftism exist, but no American public official of any influence supports them. (As djw recently observed, people on the left or right alike can tend to place too much emphasis on whether someone uses the “socialist” label and too little on what they’re actually doing or trying to do.)
But, of course, there’s every reason to expect the crowd selling the idea that “liberalism” and “Lefitsm” are radically distinct traditions to keep on keeping on, and the key is to find various shiny objects to prove that liberalism is in fact trying to steal your MetroCard. For example:
Liberals love Harry Potter because it presents a world they desperately wish was a reality — one where the magic of facts and reason and elite education were enough to vanquish the ills of society.
I haven’t read the books, but Abigail assures me that this reading of them is absurd. But even if it wasn’t, the fact that some liberals (like some conservatives and radicals etc. etc.) enjoy the Harry Potter books tells us…literally nothing about liberal politics. There are real differences between “liberalism” and “the left” despite the substantial mutual overlap in traditions, of course, but the felt need of (for example) every other Jacobin article to define itself against a mostly or entirely fictitious thing called “liberalism” rather than just saying what they want to say is, shall we say, not productive.