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What to Do Before Election Day

Be ready for it. Throughout the next month, prepare for an onslaught of fear-mongering. Democratic party hacks and the neoliberal media will try to stir up fear and loathing for Donald Trump by any means possible. Whether or not there’s any kind of “October surprise” in store, expect them to press the panic button with increasing frequency. They themselves are panicked over two things. Voters could:

+ Stay away from the polls in disgust

+ Cast votes for a third party, a write-in, or even leave their ballots unmarked

We’ve already heard one pundit after another rail against registering “protest votes,” as if protest is futile or even un-American. And, of course, the media pays less attention to Jill Stein and Gary Johnson than they do to the Mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, and certainly less than important national issues such as the size of Donald Trump’s hands. (They must make it so difficult to fill out tax forms.)

So in these and many other ways, the media assiduously assures the American people that there’s nothing to see here regarding non-sanctioned candidates for office. Yet three fourths of likely voters are saying they have no enthusiasm to curb for either HRC or DJT. How many of them have even heard of Stein and Johnson? More than a few: @DrJillStein has issued 9,356 tweets and has 236,000 followers and 14,200 Likes. @GovGaryJohnson, made 4,849 tweets to 359,000 followers, with 279 Likes.

While Trump and Clinton were still being coached and made up for their overhyped confro in Hempstead, Long Island, Jill Stein was on the ground letting everyone know this isn’t democracy in action. She had a binder full of press appointments but the keepers of political immorality saw to it that she got the bum’s rush. Stein then tweeted her own answers to debate questions from outside the locked-down campus while two dozen of her supporters were whisked off to the local slammer. I guess preventive detention of white people is fair play. It goes to show that, in a nation where police terrorize people of color, we can have equal injustice under the law.

Stein’s guerrila social media strategy that night seems to be paying off. Two days after the debate, her Website posted:

Using Facebook, Twitter and Periscope we were able to reach approximately 15 million voters — and that number is still rising as people share posts, tweets and videos with their friends and family. “Jill Stein” has been trending at #1 on Facebook, and Google searches have spiked — one of the top search phrases being “How do I vote for Jill Stein?”

As others commented, it looked like Jill won the debate by sticking to her blazing guns. She and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, veteran of numerous human rights struggles, did not go gently into that good night. But does all that sound and fury signify any political traction? To see how Stein and Johnson are trending in the blogosphere I visited politifact.com, which fact-checks statements by just about everyone involved with politics from county supervisors on up. I expected that Johnson and Stein’s relatively radical positions would be receiving extensive scrutiny by the pundit class, but it was slim pickings. Johnson’s “file” has but 16 entries, nine from this year, averaging half true (just one wasn’t his, a half-true from Chelsea Clinton). Jill Stein doesn’t even have a file and is referenced only five times on the entire site, and just thrice from this year.

So, to find what’s up with that, since they say they love feedback, I wrote to politifact chastizing them for putting next to no effort into following politicians who try to buck the major parties. If they can have “files” for notable pols like Elton John and Steve McQueen, why are the two most popular third-party contenders for the US presidency mostly MIA? It’s one thing for the neolibral media to black them out, quite another for supposedly nonpartisan political truth tellers shirk their duty. Mend their ways, I told them. The fact checkers have yet to respond.

Which brings us ‘round to the business at hand. “Minor candidates” are, as usual, being shorted by almost the entire media establishment. Somebody’s got to put a stop to that and call out the fear-mongering and lesser-eviling, and that could be you. Pester editors with letters and op-eds. Call in to talk shows. Talk it up around the coffee machine and at lunchtime. Blog if you must. Tell your Facebook friends to vote for the greater good, not the leser evil, and tweet these in quick succession:

Wake up and smell the collusion. We have a one-party system, mass media included.

A vote for either Hillary or Donald is a vote for greed, corruption, incompetence and war

A vote for Jill or Gary is a vote for honesty, justice, and rational policies

You decide. Carefully.

Talk up the alternatives and then festoon your home with Johnson or Stein placards, your vehicle with Johnson or Stein stickers, and your body with Johnson or Stein buttons. Or, if you really want to get reactions, both Johnson AND Stein. Because that way, folks may scratch their heads and ask you what that’s about, and you can tell them you’re simply giving them a choice they didn’t know they had.

 

 

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Geoff Dutton is an ex-geek turned writer and editor. He hails from Boston and writes about whatever distortions of reality strike his fancy. Currently, he’s pedaling a novel chronicling the lives and times of members of a cell of terrorists in Europe, completing a collection of essays on high technology delusions, and can be found barking at Progressive Pilgrim Review.

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