If you are a frequent reader of TLR, chances are that you are aware that Jo Jorgensen is the 2020 Libertarian Party nominee for President. Jorgensen has been a longtime Libertarian, including a run in 1996 as the Vice Presidential Nominee. She is the first woman to run for President as a Libertarian.
As a frequent reader, you also know that Hillary Clinton supporters were triggered when Jorgensen supporters jumped onto social media with the #ImWithHer hashtag, repurposed to support a new candidate.
There is a reason why the hashtag #ImWithHer started trending at 1am in America. It’s because that’s daytime in Russia and they want to trick Democrats into voting for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen. Don’t fall for this crap. This is Jill Stein 2.0. #SundayMorning
— Ms. Krassenstein (@HKrassenstein) May 24, 2020
Never mind that the timing was just after Jorgensen’s nomination – it MUST be Russian trolls. In the words of the great comedian Nipsey Russell – riiiiiight.
Disappointingly, this type of reaction sparked an article on CNN.com, written by Dean Obeidallah, a columnist for The Daily Beast. Titled “The truth about ‘I’m with her'”, it proceeds to attempt to disenfranchise third-party voters under the CNN banner, making sure that the reader knows Mr. Obeidallah’s assertion that any third party vote is a vote for Donald Trump. While not directly targeting Ms. Jorgensen (or Mr. Hawkins of the Green Party), the article is blatant electioneering for Joseph Biden.
Mr. Obeidallah, unfortunately, took some factual liberties in his piece. Let me outline them for you.
“The hashtag “I’m with Her” should be revised to more accurately read “I’m with Donald Trump””
This statement makes the assumption that a vote for Jo Jorgensen would otherwise be going to Joe Biden, and therefore counts for Donald Trump. It assumes a binary choice in this election. Obeidallah makes numerous mentions of the two-party system and goes on to say, “If you want to defeat Trump in 2020, the only choice is Joe Biden.”
The assumption is that a voter would be voting against Donald Trump and would therefore owe Joe Biden their vote. The truth is very clearly illustrated in D.A. Kirk’s 2018 medium.com article, “We Need To Stop Scapegaoting Third Party Voters.”
The real issue is the rapidly swelling undercurrent of entitlement within both major parties in America. With each successive election cycle, there is an increase in the blaming and shaming of third-party voters—none of whom owe anything to the GOP, DNC, or any candidate.
Obeidallah, to his credit, at least has the foresight to note that, concerning third party voters in 2016 ,”there’s no way to know for sure that all those who cast a ballot for (Gary Johnson or Jill Stein) would’ve voted for Clinton — or even voted at all.” Assuming that third party voters are the key to a Democrat or Republican victory is a fallacy that Obeidallah both perpetuates and debunks in the early parts of his opinion piece. In fact, there are many reasons why a Trump or Biden candidacy would be indistinguishable, which I will detail below.
‘I and countless others in our country simply don’t have the privilege to demand purity or vote for a third party…’
To Obeidallah, in his own words, defeating Trump in 2020 is “personal”. To achieve his goals, it follows, a vote for Biden would be necessary. Where he fails in his assertion here is in examining only Donald Trump’s shortcomings, and not Joe Biden’s, from a third party standpoint. His world is very binary and black and white – whereas third parties exist specifically because nuance exists in our country. To a third party voter, voting against principle is not an option – and it’s not a privilege to vote for principle. It’s a moral obligation. To a Libertarian voter, voting against principle is voting against everything they believe, and that’s unacceptable.
Obeidallah goes on to give a couple of examples of where Trump has fallen short
‘Trump made Muslim bashing a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign…’
I get it. Obeidallah is Muslim. This particular point is very personal to him. And the Trump administration has not been kind to Muslims. In contrast, the Biden platform (which, by the way, isn’t mentioned) is very clear – “Protect constitutional and civil rights of Muslim-Americans. “. But the platform goes on to talk about big-government solutions to a lot of issues that have nothing to do with Islam – such as guaranteeing healthcare to Muslims.
Both the Jorgensen and Hawkins platforms are very clearly anti-discrimination platforms, without adding expensive social program fluff. In other words, while the binary choice – Biden – is avoiding directly addressing the issue, instead using distraction, the third party choices – Jorgensen and Hawkins – are directly addressing the issue, without adding baggage of a bloated, progressive platform.
Putting aside the platforms, Joe Biden has a record, both as a Senator from Delaware and as Vice President, in participating in a government – during the Bush and Obama administrations – that put anti-Muslim legislation and policies in place. For example, as a senator, Biden voted for the Patriot Act, which did allow for racial profiling to grow in this country. This was exacerbated by the Countering Violent Extremism program, enacted during the Obama administration, which allowed for many Muslim-Americans to be targeted for surveillance and detainment.
So, to make the blanket assumption that Biden is the not-Trump of Muslim policy is not only a fallacy, it’s a dangerous myth. In these cases, any third party vote would be better.
‘Trump has targeted various other communities with his demonizing rhetoric and discriminatory policies…’
While this is a true statement – Trump has indeed not been friendly to many minority groups, be they NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem, Hispanic immigrants being labeled as a blanket threat, and many others – the assumption Obeidallah makes is that Biden is the answer to ending all that.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Biden was part of an Obama administration that ruled over record deportations – many to Latin American countries – and when asked to answer for these policies, this was Biden’s answer, according to Vox:
Biden said that Obama “did the best thing that was able to be done” and suggested that, as vice president, his own power was limited. He falsely claimed that the Obama administration “didn’t lock people in cages” and “didn’t separate families,” when in fact, it was done in limited cases.
Biden went on to talk about the use of executive order to allow for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which disregards legislative power.
Third party platforms, specifically the Libertarian platform, are more clearly humanitarian when it comes to immigration. Whether you agree or disagree with an opening of the borders, or a Ellis Island-type system where a health and security check are called for, you must agree that Biden is no different than Trump in this category.
‘If Trump wins in 2020, common sense says we can expect more of the same from him.’
Obeidallah asserts that the only path to change is Biden. However, there’s little in Biden’s past to substantially distinguish him from Trump. From his 1988 run, when he attacked Maureen Dowd for her article accusing him (correctly) of plagiarism, to this rising numbers of sexual assault allegations, he’s not behaviorally different that Trump. As an old white man from the political establishment, he’s not demographically different than Trump, either.
If a voter was looking for something different, I would say that choosing a woman from outside the establishment might be a better choice than two indistinguishable men, on every level.
The Bigger Issue Is CNN
I would be remiss if I did not mention the general opinion of CNN outside of the progressive community. It is a widely held belief that CNN is a left-leaning news organization – and I generally don’t have an issue with that. A smart voter gets news from a variety of news sources from across the political spectrum, left, right, center, authoritarian and libertarian. What CNN has done here, however, is taken themselves out of the category of news source by not initially clearly labeling this article as an opinion piece. They have since remedied their error, but the damage was done.
I first offered this article to CNN, before The Libertarian Republic. CNN declined, which further amplifies that they are not a balanced news source.
In the days since the CNN article was posted, the Jorgensen campaign has pivoted from the borrowed hashtag. The only real distinguishing factor between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016 was the fact that she was a woman – many of the same indictments of Biden apply to her. However, Jo Jorgensen is a kinder, gentler (but tough) woman with a far more compassionate record and platform than the Democrats and Republicans can offer.
Whereas in 2016, voters were encouraged to play identity politics and back Hillary because she was, well, a woman, that’s not the message that the Jorgensen campaign is sending. For the Libertarian candidate, the platform is the message – it is a platform for the people, not a demand that the people follow HER. So, the hashtag has transformed to #ShesWithUs, a unique differentiation that still acknowledges the groundbreaking fact that Jo is also a woman.
Third Parties Matter
It is easy to fall into the trap perpetuated by the Democrats and Republicans that “you are either with us or against us.” I encourage the majority of voters, who didn’t vote for either of these parties in 2016 by either voting for a third party candidate or not voting at all, to ignore that guidance. The truth is, these two parties have largely controlled Washington for the last 150 years, with no significant challenge to their control, precisely because they have catered to the binary theory of American politics.
I am a Libertarian, so I am clearly biased as to what the best third party choice would be. We aren’t the only third party – the Green Party is also prominent in the United States, and there are many others who are locally or regionally prominent. If you are a disenfranchised voter, do not listen to the media sources who tell you that there are only two choices. We will never change our political system if we keep going back to voting for the same broken system every time.