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The Establishment’s Joke of the Year: Vote Your Conscience!

Ted Cruz in Republican Convention: Vote your conscience
Ted Cruz gives speech at Republican Convention in Cleveland, Ohio (Screen capture: CNN)

Ted Cruz made headlines when he refused to endorse Donald Trump at the Republican Convention in Cleveland. Instead, he told voters to: “Stand and speak, and vote your conscience.” While Trump supporters were infuriated, many applauded Cruz’s so-called courage for standing up for what’s right.

Hillary Clinton also chimed in, trolling Republicans in a tweet:

What a joke!

The problem with Cruz’s action is that it has absolutely nothing to do with conscience. Underneath that façade of righteousness, lies a long-term political strategy for a second presidential run in 2020. Make no mistake! If endorsing Trump had helped his political career, Cruz would have endorsed him in a heartbeat. Cruz recognizes that Trump is toxic and could very possibly lose the election to the front-runner Hillary Clinton. By taking this political risk, he paints himself as a man of courage, conviction, and one that values democracy.

It’s just politics, stupid!

Ted Cruz fought hard to suppress voting for minority voters in Texas and sponsored a bill to counteract a Supreme Court ruling that determined that an Arizona voter ID law was unconstitutional. Sure he gives a damn about democracy!

Clinton’s tweet is just as hypocritical. Last year, Clinton warned Sanders supporters against voting their conscience (emphasis mine):

I think it’s very dangerous to look at the alternatives and believe that your staying home is a responsible choice. It’s hard for me to believe that anybody who would support Senator Sanders would want to see any of the Republicans elected president of the United States.

I would just ask that when this nomination is wrapped up that they come and join with us to make sure that we don’t turn the White House back over to the Republicans.

If Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton truly believed that Americans should have the ability to vote their conscience in elections, you would have expected these two “courageous” candidates to come in support of electoral reforms such as Instant Runoff Voting (or ranked ballots), giving voters the ability to vote without fear.

However, establishment parties have resorted to fear mongering and used the “greater evil” argument to quash third parties. Ralph Nader and his supporters were often humiliated for acting on their conscience in 2000. Democrats even had the audacity to blame the Iraq War on Nader, the anti-war activist, and forgive Clinton, who authorized the Iraq War, for her “mistake.”

Sanders supporters, who believe that Clinton is corrupt, hawkish, dishonest and corporatist are ridiculed for pledging to support a third party candidate that more closely resembles their views and beliefs. They are ridiculed as privileged, self-indulgent, “pasty white” Bernie Bros. What conscience are you talking about?

To be honest, I understand the fury of Clinton backers. Trump is very competitive in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and Hillary Clinton will need every vote in those states to prevent that xenophobe clown from being crowned as the 46th president of the United States. But let’s not kid ourselves! In no way is there a call for voters to vote their conscience. It’s a call for voters to hold their nose down and do what some consider as politically feasible.

So please do not insult the intelligence of the American people. The establishment doesn’t want you to vote your conscience. They just want your votes.

Written by Salam Morcos

Salam Morcos is a Managing Editor of Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

Political activist for democracy, social justice, racial justice, women's right and human rights.

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Ted Cruz in Republican Convention: Vote your conscience

The Establishment’s Joke of the Year: Vote Your Conscience!