It is nonsense to say, “I’m a blue state Democrat, so I can vote my conscience!” Yet I don’t see people talking about this. Instead, I hear the argument that swing state Democrats must vote for Hillary Clinton, but blue state Democrats have a choice. None of us have a choice, even if we are silly enough to believe a Trump presidency will bring on the revolution.
I was a Bernie Sanders supporter in the primary. I donated to him. And I bought a shirt from him and wore it proudly. But I did not support Sanders because he was perfect. He wasn’t perfect. I’m much more a Jeremy Corbyn kind of guy (not that he’s perfect either), but I’m not a citizen of the UK. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary because he was the best alternative available to me.
Now I am (Like Bernie Sanders himself!) a Hillary Clinton supporter. I have donated to her, and as you can see on the right, I have bought a shirt from her. And I wear it proudly too.
Alternatives Not Choice!
Voting is not an act of personal expression! It’s not about making the voter feel morally superior like those idiots who drive around with bumper stickers, “Don’t blame me: I voted Libertarian!” I think it is best summed up by Guildenstern in Tom Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, “At least we are presented with alternatives — but not choice!”
“At least we are presented with alternatives — but not choice!” —Guildenstern
Picking Jill Stein or Mickey Mouse in the general election means blue state Democrats (And red state Democrats!) can’t pick between Clinton and Trump. But those are the only alternatives. It simply isn’t the case that our electoral system makes Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, or anyone else an alternative. Change the system? Sign me up! But that will not happen before 8 November 2016. So the alternatives are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Blue state Democrats can vote any way they want, of course. But if they think themselves morally superior because they don’t vote for Clinton, they are seriously deluded. We will know what they are: people who left to others the job of picking from the alternatives — people who saw no difference between Clinton and Trump.
Blue State Democrats T-Shirt
I think the shirt I’m wearing above is kind of ugly. I wouldn’t have bought the corresponding shirt if I lived in Florida — a swing state.
But I bought that shirt because I am in a bright blue state. FiveThirtyEight currently gives Clinton a 99.8% chance of winning the state. I’m pretty sure that makes it the bluest state in this election. So I got the shirt for the message: blue state Democrats for Hillary Clinton. Because my vote is not about making me feel better; it is about picking the best alternative for the country.
Swing state Democrats are obviously foolish if they don’t vote for Clinton. But blue state Democrats are too. We have no choice. We have two alternatives.
What About the Revolutionaries?
But what about the revolutionaries? The ones who think Trump will bring on the glorious revolution? They have no choice either! They must vote for Trump. If they really feel the only way forward is revolution and that the catastrophe of a Trump presidency is the way to get it, they must pick Trump. That’s just as true in Oklahoma (FiveThirtyEight gives Trump a 99.5% chance of winning) as anywhere else.
Two Alternatives — That’s All
Such Democrats are stupid and very, very ignorant of political science. They are also, luckily, rare. Any reasonable person must vote for Clinton. And that is just as true for blue state Democrats as anyone else.
 Great idea: if you live in a country with a parliamentary system! Otherwise: stupid idea!