Really, America: It’s OK to Sit This Election Out

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland on March 3, 2016.

By Heather Wilhelm Published on July 8, 2016

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker briefly lit the Internet on fire Tuesday with what may have been the best lukewarm presidential endorsement in the history of mankind — and by best, I mean worst, but in a sadly glorious way. “Last August, I said I’d support the GOP nominee,” Walker announced to his 228,000 Twitter followers, sounding dolorous, deliberate and completely bereft of cheer. “It’s now clear who the RNC delegates will vote to nominate. And he is better than she is.”

Ah, the marvels of party unity in the looming shadow of a nameless “he”! Admire the trudging dedication! Feel the ground thunder as Walker’s herd of mental explanation points, already few and far between, frantically flee the building, squeaking in terror!

If you can read Walker’s tweet without giggling a little, I sincerely congratulate you. Then again, perhaps you’re so depressed by 2016’s political scene that you feel you’ll never laugh again. Hey, we’ve all been there: One day, you’re just minding your own business, living a normal American life, trying not to celebrate war crimes or steal houses from little old ladies by using eminent domain, or tell unbecoming lies about Benghazi or quietly take money from, say, the Saudis, and 2016 hits you. It’s brutal, really.

This week’s signature “2016 experience” — when visiting the Essence de 2016 Downmarket Day Spa, the “2016 Experience” is best described as “the most exquisite yet mundane torture, laced with several stinky essential oils of irony” — launched with Tuesday’s press conference starring FBI Director James Comey. The subject: Hillary Clinton’s email saga. Comey spent approximately 14 minutes describing in detail how Clinton was “extremely careless” with national security secrets and, from the sound of things, blatantly broke the law when it came to mishandling classified information.

At this point, many viewers were stunned. A few even dared to think the following, if just for a hopeful split second: “Gee whiz! Could this actually be? Will a Clinton actually be held accountable, unable to blithely skate on, consequence-free, like a grumpy-tempered Peggy Fleming on steroids?” Ha! You clearly have not been paying attention. To wrap things up, Comey went on to explain that laws are for little people, and that the FBI would recommend no charges against Mrs. Clinton.

No, really, here’s the actual quote: “To be clear,” Comey told the press, “this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.”

Ah. Right. Marvelous.

In case you’ve missed the overarching plot line of 2016 thus far, this is the part where Donald Trump comes in, reluctantly bunts the slow, fat softball pitched across the middle of the plate, sends a few tweets about the system being “rigged,” starts to run to first and then starts complimenting Saddam Hussein’s efficient killing style.

“He was a bad guy — really bad guy,” Trump told an audience in Charlotte, N.C, just hours after Director Comey had laid out enough material for approximately 600 anti-Hillary attack ads. “But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over.”

Saddam, of course, was known for harboring terrorists, and funding them, and happily killing people he decided he didn’t like, including, sometimes, his own citizens. Hillary Clinton’s camp seized on the line with high dudgeon; various media outlets ran with it as well.

Trump’s praise of Saddam is nothing new, of course. He’s repeated variations of this line throughout his campaign, as critics of the media frenzy have pointed out. But, guys: That’s even worse. This is not a sophisticated critique of nation building. It’s enthusiastic praise for a strongman’s killing skills, and it fits into a larger and consistent Trumpian pattern.

Welcome to the repeated circular whiplash of 2016: Just when you think one candidate has cracked you, the other will bend over backwards to do something equally bad or worse. If you’re torn as we approach November, remember this: You don’t have to pull a Scott Walker.

Don’t like your two major presidential choices? Focus on down-ballot races and local contests. Feel compelled to cast a vote for president? You could vote for libertarian Gary Johnson; alternatively, you could write in Willie Nelson, who would probably be like the Green Party’s Jill Stein, but more fun. One thing is sure: When you’re invited to a two-party party, and it’s obviously broken, dysfunctional and filled with questionable hosts, sometimes the clearest message to send is simply declining to show up.


Heather Wilhelm is a writer based in Austin, Texas. Her work can be found at and her Twitter handle is @heatherwilhelm.

This article originally appeared at RealClearPolitics July 7, 2016 and is reprinted with permission.

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  • The end of this article is probably the worst conclusion I have seen on an article of “The Stream” since I have been reading it. Paraphrase: “Don’t like Hill or Donald? Don’t vote for either.” As others have said “Not to vote for one is to vote for the other” if you don’t vote for the current underdog, which happens to be Trump.

    • Colonel_Bob

      I call B.S.

      Do yo say the same for whatever percentage of the voting population that does not vote? To assert that those not voting would have voted for Trump if they had bothered to vote is absurd.

      • I think I agree with Col Bob, thinking he doesn’t really understand what I was saying. To assert that those not voting would have voted for Trump is not what I was saying, but the result would be that since Trump would not get their vote, that would help Hillary rather than be against her.

  • sc_cannon

    As I have been saying for a long time if you don’t care about the outcome of an election don’t vote. Let the election be decided by the people that care whatever low percentage of a population that might be.

  • AAACarpenter

    In a battle for the survival of our nation, to not show up and take on the fight, is, in the least, treason.
    If you don’t have the guts to fight for this nation, then leave. Those of us who have laid our lives on the line in wars throughout our history, did so regardless of who was in charge, regardless of whether the leadership was worth fighting for, our country and our families have always been worth the fight.
    The left would love for the right to not show up on election day, the right would forfeit everything they ever fought for over the last eight years and beyond.
    Only cowards would not show up and stand up for our nations future.

  • Rudy Flatz

    The only reason not to show up and vote is if you don’t care about this country and the responsibility that comes with our freedom, what men and women have sacrificed their lives for. Shame on anyone that doesn’t vote it’s iresponsible

  • azsxdcf1

    Really? Suggesting NOT to vote in this election is suicide. If the Christian community does not vote; Hillary will win and America will die. Granted, we cannot have a preacher or a Man of God as POTUS… but we are not voting for a Pope.

    Let us utilize our much-fought-for Freedom to vote and at least keep the murderer out of office. Failing to vote is like going into the cemeteries across the globe and spitting on the graves of those who gave their lives for your (our) Freedom to vote.

    Please do NOT listen to those who advise to do that! Vote Trump!

  • VL

    Okay with whom, or Whom, you think?

  • James E.

    I just found this site because James Robison just recommended it on Daystar. Everything he said was counter to the concept of this article. I’m sure glad I didn’t find this site because of this article, because I’d never come back again. Stream should really rethink supporting this type of political inactivity.

  • Steve Reynolds

    Really Heather: It’s NOT ok to hand the Supreme Court over to Hillary Clinton! The damage a liberal court will inflict upon our nation (Christians in particular) will be irreparable. I will hold my nose and vote for Trump. If Hillary is elected, you, and others of your mindset, may very well be the determining factor.

    • Kevin Carr

      You said it right Steve, Trump may not be your pick, but if Hillary gets in she will definitely send the court very left. With Trump he may tilt it right.

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