Since I was 18 years old, the top criteria I've used to decide my vote has been abortion rights and by extension feminism, and racial civil rights. If a candidate or party does not unequivocally support both they do not get my vote. Period. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I've voted for the Democratic party candidate in every general election. I added sexual orientation civil rights to this deal-breaker list in the 90's. (Yeah, I was late to the game on this one. Sue me.)
I don't know that I can vote Democratic any more.
As I've said before, I'm no fan of Clinton. I don't know how I would have voted if the Democratic primaries had been run just on the issues: I really can't tell the difference between Obama's political bullshit and Clinton's. I think both of them would have made fine Republican candidates in 1964. [a grudging tip of the hat to fatuous idiot Andrew Sullivan].
Some of my important values have never been shared by any candidate, Democratic or Republican: socialism (which is just the idea that we have an active obligation to see to the basic health and well-being of all our citizens, not just the ones we like), civil-rights libertarianism, anti-imperialism and anti-exceptionalism. The Democratic candidates have typically been less bad (I'm happy I didn't have to choose between Johnson and Goldwater), but less bad is still, you know, bad.
But today in 2008, the overt, explicit and egregious misogyny [h/t to The Apostate] in the Democratic primary campaign and commentary burns my fucking shorts. It's not just one or two retards; most of the media, and a nontrivial part of the so-called liberal and progressive blogosphere has participated this misogyny. And Obama himself and his campaign are complicit, in just the same sense that he has been complicit in the Iraq war by not doing everything in his personal and official power to end it.
Normally, I would say that if I had supported either Clinton or Obama in the primaries, I would vote for whomever secured the nomination. (And I understand that party nomination is not exclusively a matter of popular vote.) But if I'd seen overt racism in the campaign, and seen Clinton's complicity by silence, I would not vote for her in the general election. Racism is a deal-breaker. Likewise, misogyny is a deal-breaker. So is support for the Iraq war. So is homophobia.
I've compromised on almost everything. The Democratic party has actively supported a devil-take-the-hindmost corporatist plutocracy. The Democratic party has actively supported the war in Iraq. The Democratic party has actively supported the erosion of our civil liberties. I've compromised so much so often that sometimes I feel like I'm just "rooting for the shirts."
And I can't even root for the shirts any more. The whole point of opposing political parties is for each party to exploit and punish the other's mistakes, excesses and incompetence. And the Democratic party has failed to do even that. If the Democratic party wins the presidency and/or a congressional majority, they will have done so in spite of failing to punish the Republican party for the egregious and monstrous excesses of the Bush administration, literally the worst presidential administration in the history of this country, and they will leave the batshit-crazy fucktards in the Republican party strong and well-placed to undermine and harass the Democratic party government. And I'm not sure the Democratic party will even win, with or without my support.
The only possible reason I can think of to vote for either Clinton or Obama would be that both are less crazy (or less in thrall to the nutjobs) than McCain. That's the best I can say about either of the Democratic candidates' politics.
But a deal-breaker is a deal-breaker. Clinton's support for the Iraq war is a deal-breaker. Obama's failure to actively oppose the Iraq war comes pretty damn close, but the misogyny he's exploited definitely does the job, as does his homophobia.
(I find the whole Wright controversy completely retarded. Wright's political opinions — his religion and the his opinion on origin of AIDS excepted, but I understand where he's coming from — are closer to my own than any of the candidates'. If I believed in God, then yes, "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human." Condemning a public figure as "narcissistic" for speaking his own mind and his own opinions when he has an opportunity and invitation to do so is moronically hypocritical. And that's from the liberals. Everyone gets to speak; we then talk about the content, not the privilege to speak. Read your fucking J. S. Mill, people.)
If I (and others like me) don't actually vote for the Democratic nominee, McCain has a greater chance of winning. I understand that completely; magic fairies are not going to guarantee a good government. But there comes a time when you just can't patch the system any more, when you can't put out fires faster than they're starting. There comes a time when the best you can do is cowboy/cowgirl up, let the disaster run its course, and rebuild once the dust settles. I won't make my final decision until I step into the voting booth in November, but right now I think that's the best we can hope for.
I don't see that electing either Clinton or Obama will have any effect more than delaying the catastrophe by at best two to four years. If that were the only consideration, I might still vote for them: maybe we really can teach the horse how to fly.
But I don't know they can do even that.
Supreme Court nominations? Faced with a strong Republican minority, a Democratic president will deliver justices who will at best merely slow the increase in abortion restrictions. At best. We'll still get parental notification, mandatory waiting periods, spousal consent, remote providers, restrictive licensing and liability... all the features that make abortion a privilege of the rich and not the fundamental human right to control one's own body.
Civil liberties? Economic equality? Anti-imperialism? Energy independence? Global warming? Anti-corporatism? Give me a break. Neither Clinton nor Obama are going to do jack shit but give us platitudes and bullshit, if they do even that.
Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, I admire you both for overcoming the contemptible and egregious sexism and racism prevalent in American society to get to where you are today. That's taken intelligence, skill, dedication and hard work. But that's all I admire you for; I admire Margaret Thatcher equally for the same qualities. I don't like your politics or your policies. I'm not going to vote for genitalia or melanin. I'm not even going to vote for intelligence (although I will vote against stupidity). I'm going to vote for political, social and moral character, and on every substantive issue, I think you're both not just wrong but rotten to the core.
I have my conscience to consider, too; there are some things up with which I will not put. Racism. Misogyny. Homophobia. Warfare. I won't compromise on these principles, and damn the consequences.