Elections Have Consequences

Patrick Goggins
5 min readNov 4, 2020

After Super Tuesday, when Joe Biden clinched the nomination, I wrote that I would wait to make a decision on who to support, hoping against hope that Biden would do something — anything, to earn my vote. Like millions of progressives, I know my vote is my leverage. My opportunity to move Joe Biden to the left ended today and, as I feared, I failed. Since Super Tuesday, the Biden/Harris campaign has actually moved to the right, reaching out to George Bush-era neoconservative Republicans such as John Kaisch and Rick Snyder, and pushing neoliberal polices such as increasing funding for police and the military. Biden’s already told us his cabinet would be stocked with Republicans, and in that, I believe him. (And I also still believe Tara Reade).

Elections have consequences.

The Biden/Harris campaign treated progressives like me with scorn. They demanded our vote, offering nothing in return, chastising us if we even dared to ask for concessions. My feelings aren’t hurt, there are no tears in baseball. But I do know that if Biden/Harris win, they will claim a mandate for their toxic neoliberal agenda: continuing handouts to corporations and the already rich, destroying the environment, waging warfare against the poor, within and without our borders. They will claim that my vote was affirmative support for this agenda. And in that, they would be right.

Elections have consequences.

Neoliberals gave us Trump. For 40 years, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and yes, Barack Obama, have been pushing the Overton Window, and with it the Republican Party, to the right. Today’s DNC is to the right of Ronald Reagan’s GOP. The GOP had nowhere to go but Trump, especially after the geniuses at the DNC pushed him as their “Pied Piper” candidate. If we continue to support this drift to the right (now more like a trot), by the party that is supposedly on the left, fascism will nigh follow.

Elections have consequences.

Strategic voting is a lie. “Not Trump” was not on the ballot. As our system currently exists, one can only vote for a candidate. In other words, a citizen’s vote is an affirmative act of support for their candidate’s agenda. I simply cannot support Biden/Harris’s neoliberal agenda. This was my eleventh presidential vote. Since 1980, I voted for the Republican twice, the Democrat four times, and third party/independents four times. Today I made the latter five, casting my vote for the Green Party ticket (Howie Hawkins/Angela Nicole Walker). To prevent my choice from somehow affecting someone else’s vote, I waited until after the polls closed to post this. It was my vote, my choice, freely made. (Sad to say, but thank goodness we’re still free to vote for who we want!)

Elections have consequences.

If Biden/Harris win, they will have my congratulations, but not my support. If Biden/Harris lose, and you wish to lay blame for their loss at the feet of third-party voters like me, that is your right. But before you do, consider this: Instead of blaming progressives, who only want reform, why not blame the politicians who refuse to provide it? Instead of blaming a few third-party voters, why not blame the candidate who failed to motivate millions of non-voters? What happened to holding politicians accountable?

Elections have consequences.

In a way, the people who said this election was a binary choice were right. The choice was to either get rid of Trump, or to get rid of the system that gave us Trump. The first choice, to get rid of Trump, may seem like a relief to some, but it is only temporary relief, and it assures long-term pain for us all. Nothing will change, so inevitably another Trump, perhaps a more competent and effective one, will come along in the future. The steady systemic rot that is eating away at this country’s foundation will continue, and fascism will still nigh follow. The second choice, to get rid of the system that gave us Trump, does involve short-term pain, and it is risky because we have to seize the moment, and people may in fact not seize the moment. But if we do seize the moment, we might pull the weed of fascism out by the root, and with it, the neoliberal pathologies that divide and deny us as a people. We still have time to change, all we need is the will to change. (This view has been called by some “accelerationism,” and it is not without valid criticism. The premise though still holds: the longer you wait to fix a problem, the more painful it will be to fix it).

Elections have consequences.

I draw the line here. The Democratic Party may move to the left in the future, actually earning my vote, but at this point, the DNC and the GOP are both probably irredeemable. Their corruption is matched only by their arrogance. We cannot afford to wait for them to magically change their minds, enacting policies that will actually help people. No, they will continue to work for, and deliver policy results to, their owners — the already rich, the .1%. This house doesn’t need another makeover, it needs a ground-up restoration. We don’t need another coat of paint, we need to get into the structure and the foundation.

Elections have consequences.

Divided we fall — and we have fallen. Dualism leads to tribalism, which leads to the near perfect division we see today between Red and Blue. Dualism is the very thing that is preventing us from forcing our so-called representatives to fix our problems. That’s because we have no leverage. The two-party system is the problem. Both parties are owned and operated by the rich and the powerful. They say “Vote” because it keeps us in their control. (Notice they don’t say “pay attention to what we do after you vote.”) No. They say “elections have consequences” — usually bad ones. While they pillage our tax dollars, they’d rather we go to brunch and virtue signal at one another. They’re two sides of the same coin. They’re both the party of the rich. We need a third party that represents us — the 99%. There is power in unity. Unity is power. A third party may not be a majority at first, but by forming coalitions, it can make a majority, and make demands in the process. That’s how politics works. Let’s unite and create some leverage. Our country’s very survival depends on it.

To close, I wrote a poem in honor of Election 2020. It’s called … (wait for it) … “Elections Have Consequences.” It goes like this:

I am free

I have two eyes, so I can see

I am free

I have two ears, so I can hear

I am free

I have two feet, so I can walk

I have two hands, so I can make

Two fists, or

Two middle digits

With which I salute the two parties that are destroying the country that I love

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Patrick Goggins

Lawyer, writer, musician, bon vivant. Born in Flint, Michigan during the Cuban Missile Crisis.