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Waaaaaaah! “Art” and photo by Kathy Copeland Padden

A protest vote is a mythical creature that Sore Losers like to blame for their candidate’s loss. There are reported sightings at predictable intervals that seem to coincide with major election cycles. Although they are as rare as unicorn poop, supposedly they have the power to decide entire elections.

Here’s the thing about protest votes. They don’t exist. A protest vote is merely a vote for someone other than the candidate of your choice. The only one protesting is YOU. No-one is obliged to support a candidate on your say-so. Other people’s choices are just a valid as yours.

The centrist Democrats are the biggest offenders these days when it comes to whining about supposed protest votes. It never seems to cross their mind that most people in the U.S. identify as Independents. Since we do not belong to your party, we owe it no loyalty.

Do you take issue when someone doesn’t buy a birthday gift for a person they’ve never met or that’s mistreated them?

It’s the same concept as expecting voters to unequivocally support a political party they don’t even belong to.

If you want to win elections, you will need to earn those votes. This will take effort and a platform that includes more than anti-Trump fear-mongering. You have to offer the People something in return for their support, or they will turn elsewhere.

Political domination is not yours by divine right, or because you’re Not Those Other Guys. Once again, if you don’t give voters what they want they will give their support to someone who will. This is not an act of protest, this is common sense.

Much of the Dem’s potential base has transformed from partisan drones to informed consumers. Independents and other free-thinkers like to shop around until they find the best deal. Brand loyalty is not their thing. So if the Democrats want to rule the marketplace, they best come prepared by coughing up Democratic Socialist and/or Progressive candidates.

The current tactic of harassing and haranguing Independents, Progressives, and third-party voters impedes any traction you could gain with those still on the fence. Just to test the waters, try to refrain from calling them names like “Deplorables” or “Russian bots.” For some reason, most people don’t respond well to snotty elitism.

Which brings us to the what-should-be-an-obvious truth: People aren’t going to vote for you if they hate you.

That’s what tanked Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Not Russia, not the GOP, not Bernie, not the Greens. Legions of people all across the political spectrum despise HRC. To Progressive voters, Clinton perfectly personifies everything we need to leave behind. That’s why she lost to the Marmalade Moron. People dislike her and establishment Dems just that much.

Not voting for Clinton, or any other corporate Dem, has nothing to do with this mythical practice of protest voting. But it has everything to do with the likeability and trust issues the American people have with the Democratic Party.

And still, the centrist Democrats want blind party loyalty no matter the cost.

Can we protest that?

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is a political junkie and history buff randomly alternating between bouts of crankiness and amusement while bearing witness to the Apocalypse. Come along!

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