Don’t sell your vote to the DFL

By Jacob Bell

Attention Molly Griffard: don’t throw away your time this November by voting. As a person who believes very little in government’s (be it federal or local) responsiveness to demands of the citizens subjected to it, I normally wouldn’t. However, I will make one exception this year: I’ll be casting my first ever ballot for a political candidate and voting for Jesse Mortenson.

I had the pleasure of living with Jesse (though he may not agree that it was a pleasure) this summer, and at first I was a bit skeptical of his political affiliations. I’d seen his thoughtful letters in the Hegemon and talked with him a bit about community organizing, but I found it hard to believe that someone who came off as a political radical was running for office. After a number of rather painstaking arguments and scathing critiques, I began to unravel a bit of Jesse’s motivation; he is a person who wants to change things. In a system controlled by stupid cadres of well-connected (read: rich) liberals (“you need friends…”), someone like Jesse who is actually committed to bringing about widespread and systemic change by organizing on the grassroots and community level is an enormous relief.

Now that I believe I’ve addressed the reasons I feel this way, let me speak to the feasibility of this idea. This notion of “throwing away your vote” is absolutely hopeless; if you are forced to choose between voting for someone who you think will be responsive to the concerns of the communities he or she represents and voting for someone who has a better shot of winning, would you still like to talk about throwing your vote away?

The vote is, in itself, a piece of refuse. It’s an inconsequential (in the purposive sense of the word) and cursory act that involves little to no real commitment to change. Not to mention that when you resign to voting for DFLers who have no interest in representing anyone other than the highest donors, you are opting, instead, to sell your vote. Best case scenario if you vote as prescribed in Griffard’s piece: a “strong progressive candidate” is elected and actually manages to change things by making sweeping neoliberal reforms that perpetuate elitist and racist politics. If you don’t throw away your vote, the liberal you elect to office will.

Seriously, either vote like you mean it or don’t waste your time and do some real activism. If you choose the former, vote for Jesse and he’ll help us change things.