As we provide coverage of this wildly unpredictable 2020 election, between what political scientists have called “simultaneously the least qualified and most intentionally provocative pair of candidates for any office in all of recorded history,” we’ve taken a moment each week to look back at a simpler time, before C-SPAN was replaced with “The Real Senators of Capitol Hill” and the White House Correspondent’s Dinner with a literal political circus (remember when you could say you hadn’t seen Rosie O’Donnell forced to walk on a tightrope over a hole-filled “social safety net”?).
This week, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Ryan Seacrest sits down for an interview with “Whitey McLiberal,” a voter who wrote in Bernie Sanders in 2016, allowing Donald Trump to narrowly defeat Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, winning the required 270 electoral votes and, thus, the Presidency. McLiberal has agreed to speak only under a pseudonym, for fear of accidentally violating the Arbitrary Libel Act of 2017 and ending up in front of the revived House Un-American Activities Committee.
Ryan SEACREST: So tell me, Whitey, why did you choose not to vote for Hillary Clinton?
Whitey McLIBERAL: Well, you know, even though Hillary was a decades-long feminist, fought to expand healthcare for children whose families couldn’t afford it, helped children with disabilities gain access to education opportunities, had more foreign policy experience than any candidate in either party, had most of the same policies as Bernie, and had been fighting generally for the things I care about since before I was born, she just didn’t feel genuine to me. And everyone knows that, if anything, politics is all about authenticity over practicality or compromise.
RS: And even hearing Bernie say that Hillary Clinton “must become our next president” failed to sway you?
WM: Ryan, everyone knows Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was crouching underneath the podium threatening him with a comb and a super PAC donation when he said that. And even if she hadn’t been, I had been a stalwart democratic socialist for six whole months by the time he said that, so I was ready and able to disregard Bernie, whose every word I had previously regarded as holy, and let my feeling of uneasiness about Hillary trump any logical thoughts I had that tried to tell me Bernie might know more than me about how to effect meaningful change.
RS: So in your mind, would Hillary have been just as bad as Trump?
WM: Well, she probably wouldn’t have repealed Obamacare, removed freedom of the press from the Constitution, or tried to appoint herself to the Supreme Court—only to settle on Ted Cruz when that didn’t work. On the other hand, I thought I wanted the Baltic states and Ukraine to be independent countries, Putin is way nicer to us as Eternal Emperor of the UFSR (Union of Federated States of Russia) than he ever was as Prime Minister Putin. Plus, since President Trump withdrew our nukes from international deployment, a bunch of our allies started to build their own. Bernie always wanted to redistribute money from the richer people to the poorer. I think he would agree that nuclear weapons should be redistributed from rich countries to poor, too.. Why shouldn’t Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, Poland, Greece, Italy, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have their own nukes? It’s only fair—they’re all allies.
RS: So after nearly four years of President Trump, are you still convinced you made the right choice? Do you think Hillary’s loss has moved the country in the right direction? Or at least the Democratic Party?
WM: Well, I read in HuffPost that wages are still stagnant and hate crimes have doubled in the past four years, but I can only speak for the experiences I’ve lived. In the past four years, I graduated and got a job with an annual starting salary of $75,000, so as far as I know the country is doing much better than four years ago. I still have a lot of college debt, though, so that’s an issue I’d like the Democrats to take up again.
As far as the post-Clinton Democratic Party, I’m honestly disappointed. Even after Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as chairman of the DNC, the Democrats didn’t learn their lesson and still failed to listen to their core constituency—young, white, middle- to upper-class college liberals who aren’t registered Democrats and who vote a maximum of once every four years, and only then when we feel that all of our demands have been met perfectly. Even this year, when Bernie ran again against Elizabeth Warren, I couldn’t vote for either of them because they both supported Hillary, and that disqualifies them from my vote for life.
RS: Wait, so you didn’t vote for Bernie again this year? Who did you vote for?