Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, progressives have been fighting to make their way back to the top of things, to win back some modicum of control over a president and a political party they largely cannot abide. They have chosen a popular slogan that took off during the Clinton 2016 campaign and was trending on Twitter during the 2018 midterms: #VoteBlueNoMatterWho.
While the need for such a call to action is appreciated, I fear that the movement is falling into the laps of people who will use it to the detriment of the Democratic primary. Indeed, the misgivings about the effect of the slogan have been felt by conservatives and progressives alike since its rise in popularity. To perpetuate this seemingly innocuous hashtag poses a threat too many are refusing to acknowledge. It is a call to arms, and perhaps one of the worse sort.
It is not the "vote blue" that bears the burden of fault, but rather the notion of "no matter who."
As a left-leaning Libertarian who often votes Democrat, I see the dangerous precedent set by this. There is an explicit expectation that those who intend to vote Democrat should fall into the proverbial line and support the Democratic nominee... even if that nominee does not represent your values.
Even if that nominee is not the "right" choice.
Despite partisan voting being as high as it has ever been, there is still a measurable amount of political diversity among Democrats. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were vastly different on several issues, and "no matter who" undermined an entire portion of the electorate who did not want what Hillary Clinton was selling. It may be that the next best thing for a voter whose candidate of choice did not win the nomination is the candidate who did.
That is not, however, the case for everyone.
There are third parties to consider, and it is only a "throwaway vote" for as long as it takes to make room for viable, moderate candidates to run third-party campaigns — and the more people participate, the faster that will happen. Proponents of #VoteBlueNoMatterWho will argue that there is a time and a place for protest voting, and when faced with a dodgy career politician versus a reality TV-show host with no experience is not that time.
The fact is that the time to effect change is now, and waiting serves no one in the long run.
Even officials most would consider to be ultra-leftists are condemning #VoteBlueNoMatterWho. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently denounced the trend on Twitter for being "entitled." The notion does a disservice to those who promote it, as it is not about the best choice for the country or even the best choice for yourself. It is not about ideology, policy or even competency.
No, it is about the game.
More importantly, it is about winning the game and demonizing those who do not want to play. We are months away from the 2020 presidential election, and yet another wave of #VoteBlueNoMatterWho warriors heading for the frontlines to claim their victories. Their race to the forefront, however, is begging to be met by the moderate center – the key to defeating Donald Trump in 2020. There is a sleeping majority who is waking up, and they are not the majority of the fringe groups who only want extremist versions of the two parties who only want "no matter who." This is a majority who has been sleeping so they can avoid the sting of underrepresentation or a lack of representation altogether. I believe their awakening is a direct result of the current polarization making so much room to breathe in the middle.
With more of the electorate gravitating toward moderate candidates every day, the goal of finding the "right" candidate over the strictly "blue" candidate is becoming more and more achievable. It is imperative that we ditch the trending #VoteBlueNoMatterWho in favor of something much more valuable. It's time we stop playing "the game" and start treating politics like what it really is, our very real future.
This is not about winning or losing, it is about the progression of our country.
We need to find our way back to being at odds about the roads we take to achieve our goals, instead of being at odds about our goals. The mentality of "the game", the focus on winning and losing, is a distraction. Politics is not a game.
Do not #VoteBlueNoMatterWho.
Vote blue if, and only if, it is the right choice.