home Commentary, North America, Politics Oh, America. Don’t screw this up.

Oh, America. Don’t screw this up.

I might be in a different continent, but it’s been impossible to miss the relentless drudgery and drama of the American presidential election. I’m here to plea to your better nature to not do a ridiculous thing on Tuesday.

The thing is, you need to vote for Hillary.

I know, Hillary Clinton isn’t exactly a likeable character. She is tense and puts up barriers, probably due to years of abuse as a woman in politics and being the wife of a man who apparently had multiple affairs. She’s probably a bit over-rehearsed (but who isn’t, in comparison with her opposition?), and all of the things that make her a skilled politician also make her somebody who is slightly difficult to identify with or trust.

She’s also not a socialist like Bernie Sanders, which is disappointing and frustrating for those on the left-hand side of the Democratic party. But if you’re still hung up on the idea of Bernie or Bust, you’re really going to get a hell of a shock when Trump gets in just because you couldn’t cope with the idea of voting for someone slightly further right than you are. Sure, Hillary may not be your ideal, but is Trump? Because he’s what you’ll get if enough people refuse to vote for her.

Then there’s the email thing, which nobody truly cares about but there doesn’t seem to be anything else that Clinton’s opponents can really grab onto. Trump’s supporters are powerful and numerous and if they’re not blaming her for things her husband did all those years ago, they’re pretending to be angry about her email server. Of course, she screwed up. She was either ignorant (and should have known better) or she knew what she was doing (and should have behaved differently). But when her opponent announces that he would date his own daughter and wants to build a bloody wall to keep people from a different bit of land out, Hillary – and her emails – retain the higher moral ground.

Trump – whose name, incidentally, means fart in British English – boasts of sexual predation and has demonstrated pretty much every flavour of prejudice and discrimination throughout the course of his campaign. Black? Latinx? Gay? LGBT? A woman? He really, really hates you.

The Republican candidate behaves like a toddler and seems unable to demonstrate even minimal self-control. He acts like a petulant child during debates. He should have been the comedy candidate who never made it past the first stage of voting, not the guy put forward to lead. He does not possess the characteristics you want in somebody with access to the nuclear codes. The crooked, nasty woman is the one who has the temperament more suited to that responsibility.

Let me draw a parallel

As the details are fought out in the British courts (and if it somehow ends up in a European court, peak irony will have been reached), Brexit is hanging over the UK with the power to destroy the economy and isolate us on an international stage. We did not want this. Even some of the people who voted for it didn’t really want it, they just wanted to register a protest vote against the mainstream.

Does that sound familiar?

Voting for something or someone because neither option is brilliant and you’re fed up?

Does that ring any bells at all?

Trump could be the US’s Brexit, and that is not something to be celebrated. We didn’t get our country back – it had never gone anywhere. We just screwed everything up in ways we still probably can’t even imagine. We will feel the repercussions for decades to come.

How did they get to this point?

Before the election shenanigans, Trump was famous for having daft hair and being on reality TV. These things do not qualify him for running the US government. Clinton is at least famous for being a politician, as well as for being married to a former President. She knows how the government works and how to pass laws and all those essential elements of running a country.

What happens next?

Politically, Clinton is far further right than I would like but the alternative does not bear thinking about. Splitting the left vote, or abstaining altogether, may feel like a small victory in the moment. But the alternative is four years of the racist monster who grabs women by the pussy being in the most powerful position in the world?

It’s time to put reservations aside and vote for the awkward woman with the fake smile and the extensive political experience. Keep the man with an overinflated ego who barely knows how the system works and who has offended every minority group in the world out of the picture.

You may not be overjoyed with a Clinton victory but, believe me, if you have any conscience, you’d be devastated by a Trump one.

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons


Philippa Willitts

Philippa Willitts is a British freelance writer who specialises in writing about disability, women's issues, social media and tech. She also enjoys covering politics and LGBT-related topics. She has written for the Guardian, the Independent, New Statesman, Channel 4 News, Access Magazine, xoJane and many more publications. She can be found on Twitter @PhilippaWrites.