Saturday, June 4, 2016

I Am Not Voting In the New Jersey Primary

In the four months since Martin O'Malley's exit from the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination contest, I have been indecisive over whether or not to vote for Bernie Sanders in the New Jersey primary.  One reason for that is that I am not a Democrat - and haven't been since the mid-nineties, when Bill Clinton threw liberals under the bus.  I'm an independent.  And independents can't vote in the New Jersey presidential primary.  Another reason, ironically, is that Sanders himself isn't a Democrat but is an independent, and it is unlikely that he would get the Democratic Party's presidential nomination because the establishment doesn't want him to get it.  Geez, the Democratic establishment  did everything in its power to (successfully) bury O'Malley, so why would anyone have any reason to believe that it wouldn't try to bury Sanders?  Finally, my support for Sanders has always been based on one simple premise: He's the only person left opposing Hillary Clinton for the nomination, and the idea of her nomination nauseates me.  But my favorability for Sanders has always been lukewarm at best.        
I supported O'Malley because I believed in him and thought he would make a great President.  I don't really feel that way about Sanders; as I believe I've already made clear, I wouldn't be voting for him so much as I'd be voting against Hillary.  I looked very hard in recent weeks at declaring myself a Democrat this coming Tuesday to vote for Sanders, just as I declared myself a Democrat in February 2008 to vote for Barack Obama in the New Jersey presidential primary back then. (The 2008 New Jersey presidential primary was held in February in that year.)  But I voted for Obama more than I voted against Hillary, because I believed in him.  Sanders just doesn't inspire the same positive feelings in me that Obama and O'Malley did.  And since Sanders, according to the polls, will be solidly defeated by Hillary in New Jersey (she won the 2008 primary also), and since neither candidate can even bother to campaign here because of the focus on the California primary on the same day, it's obvious that New Jersey doesn't matter.  I should have taken a cue from O'Malley and remained neutral in the Democratic primary/caucus race from the moment his own campaign ended, and not supported anyone.  I would have declared myself a Democrat to vote for O'Malley without hesitation.  For anyone else, not so much.
So why don't I vote for O'Malley in the New Jersey primary?  Simple: He's not on the ballot, and the New Jersey Democratic primary doesn't permit write-in votes. The Republican primary, yes. The Democratic primary, no.  
So here's the deal.  I am no longer supporting a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and so I will not vote in the primary.  (Besides, I have something more important to worry about; severe thunderstorms could deposit a tree on our house tomorrow.)  I will happily vote for Bernie Sanders if, by some fantastic stroke of luck, he gets the Democratic nomination.  But if Hillary is the nominee (oh, wait, she is; the media say so!), I will not vote for her in the general election under any circumstances.  Not even if the Republicans make it a close race.  Because, between the two major-party candidates, no matter who wins, I lose.   I will vote for a third-party candidate - likely Jill Stein, the Green Party's likely presidential candidate.  And then, when I cast my ballot on November 8, I will go home and, noting the candidacy of Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, watch to see if enough people go third party, deny the top popular-vote-getter from getting an electoral majority, and throw the election into Congress.
Please note that I never mentioned the "presumptive Republican presidential nominee" by name in this blog entry.

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