New Jersey finally votes tomorrow, bringing up the rear in a interminable primary election process. Two months ago I hoped that the election would go down to the wire, so that the politicians would come to the Garden State on their grubby knees and beg folks from Cape May to Hoboken for their votes. I also really wanted to protest a Donald Trump rally and tell my governor what an ass he is. Alas, I would not get the chance.
My enthusiasm passed a long long time ago. I started off firmly behind Sanders. I would call myself a social democrat, and Sanders might be the running the most powerful social democratic candidacy since Ted Kennedy in 1980. At the same time, I was glad to see that Hillary Clinton had moved to the left, and would've been fine with her as the nominee, despite her past history. As I've detailed here, the Sanders campaign lost me once it stopped reigning in its worst supporters and started threatening to disrupt the summer convention. To not admit defeat (which was crystal clear) and keep dividing the left in the face of a fascist threat got me over any Bern I was once feeling.
If New Jersey had its primary in March or April, I would've gladly voted for Sanders, Now that he still has refused to call off his campaign before the convention, I'm with her, as they say. I am feeling a lot of ambivalence about this, though. I respect Clinton for her intelligence, political savvy, and experience. However, I am not too happy with her hawkish foreign policy or past history of support for the war in Iraq. At least she's proposing a major program to help pay for day care, something that would help me and a whole lot of other people. I am trying to think of those things as I vote tomorrow. I am also feeling a little bit of a thrill, as New Jersey will likely be the state to put Clinton over the top as the first woman to get the presidential nomination from a major party.
Part of me can't escape the feeling that I've spent most of my time as a voter not enthusiastically casting my vote, but to support an underwhelming option that's not conservative extremism. When I voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, I did feel real pride and enthusiasm. Now I am just hoping to hold off the Trumpocalypse. I just tell myself that the way for progressives to push Clinton to the left is not to vote for Sanders, but to give Clinton the vote with the understanding that it will be withheld in the future if she follows the triangulating path of her husband.