During an interview on Showtime's "The Circus," Hillary Clinton, the people's president, gave some sage advice to Joe Biden that he would do well to heed: Don't give up. No matter what happens on Election Day.

CLINTON: Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually I do believe he will win if we don't give an inch and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is.

Damn right. Hillary is now my honorary Sister Souljah.

Many Hillary Clinton supporters, including your humble narrator, are still annoyed that Barack Obama pushed her to concede to Trump on election night. After Wisconsin was called by Fox News (c'mon, man!), the White House started calling the Clinton campaign and telling them to get their white towels ready. The margins in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were ridiculously close.

Yet White House political director David Simas informed Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, that "POTUS doesn't think it's wise to drag this out." It was barely midnight, but Obama wanted to do last call on democracy?

It's true that Obama, Clinton, and the Democratic Party as a whole had speechified about the sanctity of our elections and the “peaceful transfer of power" after Trump had threatened to throw a tantrum if he lost. This was a con. His campaign was already rubbing one out with Russia. He was playing to win. Might've been nice if the Democrats were, but the only person who was possibly seeing a future of children in cages and 200,000 Americans dead from the plague was Hillary Rodham Clinton. But everyone let her — and us — down.

Democratic presidential candidates have a bad track record of quitting. In 2000, Al Gore conceded so quickly he had to un-concede. The only upside was that he got to tell George W. Bush, “You don't have to be snippy about it" like he was Marge Gunderson. The rest — 9/11, Iraq, Dick Cheney — was all downside.

Gore did put up a valiant fight over Florida, but the Supreme Court's conservative majority halted the recount. Trump might hope for a similar outcome. He's already targeting mail-in voting and all non-Republican absentee voting. He knows the more votes that are counted, the worse his chances are.

John Kerry conceded to Bush in 2004 almost immediately, but there was reason to suspect electoral funny business in Ohio, the state that decided the election. Kerry later claimed that it was important to lie down and die for the sake of the nation, democracy, and the safety of puppies.

KERRY: But we knew as we sat there to decide where to go in terms of the challenge, that we were a nation at war, we had just been through a Supreme Court test of an election four years earlier. I thought, once I measured it, that whatever constitutional challenge we brought or whatever appropriate challenge we brought to the ballots that were counted, it was going to wind up ultimately in the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court would do the same thing that it did before. We would take the country through a three month exercise with a 5/4 decision that would award the presidency back to George Bush.

Funny how Kerry didn't think the presidency was worth throwing down over because the 2004 Supreme Court was so predictably rightwing. Less than a year later Bush would get to appoint shiny new Chief Justice John Roberts and replace abortion-friendly swing vote Sandra Day O'Connor with conservative rubber stamp Sam Alito.

KERRY: Now some people may think that's the right thing to have done. I thought it would have been horrendous for our country one year into a war, at that moment when there were serious doubts about terrorism and other things, to be going through a long period of questioning of the presidency.

Sweet Christ. Bush starts a bullshit war and that's his “get his out of election fraud free" card?

Competing against the modern Republican Party is like facing an opponent in a boxing match who would just as soon kick you in the nuts. You can't count on the referee to intervene, so you've got to develop an anti-nut-kicking strategy. Democrats can't cling to soaring "West Wing" rhetoric when our lives are at stake. Listen to Hillary Clinton and don't stop fighting.


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).


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