Time’s Up. We Can’t Compromise Our Values Any Longer

Mitchell Plitnick
16 min readJun 28, 2022

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, one of the many responses to it was a tidal wave of finger-pointing, from the usual directions. This was the fault of Jill Stein and Susan Sarandon, people said. The calamitous outcome was laid at the feet of all those 2016 voters who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Barack Obama said codifying Roe into law was “not a priority.” Nancy Pelosi has a long record of failing to defend abortion rights while trying to fool voters into thinking otherwise. Among the most glaring failures is the lack of readiness for this decision despite a draft of the opinion having been leaked two months ago.

But the one I’ve heard most often is the complaint about voters in 2016. A common refrain was “elections have consequences,” a particularly condescending statement that is the very epitome of the self-defeating centrist. It’s not just that this is a self-righteous and self-congratulatory comment that reflects an utter inability for self-reflection. It’s also the antithesis of what might be needed to reverse the situation. Condescending to and scolding people is the surest way to get them to dig their heels in and not change their behavior one iota.

In other words, stop wagging your fingers at those who didn’t vote for Clinton in 2016 and start working on practical ways to get them to vote in the future.

Let me be clear about the perspective being presented here. In both 2016 and 2020, I supported Bernie Sanders with all I could muster during the primaries. There was, however, never a question that in the general election I was going to hold my nose and vote for an awful candidate, whether it was Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden (I confess, I did struggle with that I might do if the Democrats nominated Mike Bloomberg).

When the lesser of two evils is the only choice left, you choose that lesser. But I refused to say, “Blue No Matter Who.” That kind of thinking is what got us in this situation and is keeping us in it. It tells Democrats that they are not accountable to their constituents. Most of all, it tells major donors to the party that they can go as far right as they want, never making better policy, never improving this country or even halt its rapid decline because…

Mitchell Plitnick

Author of "Except for Palestine," with Marc Lamont Hill. President of ReThinking Foreign Policy. Policy analyst for 20 years.