I see many progressives posting on various social media sites about how they won't vote for Hillary Clinton because she has not adequately passed progressive muster on one or many issues. Sometimes, but not always, these are also people who critique President Obama for not having a progressive enough presidency.
Many of these criticisms, as well as the "threat" to vote for a third party candidate such as Jill Stein, are rooted in a lack of appreciation both for the US political system AND the fact that political leaders within our system do not have the power to unilaterally enact policies without constraint.
In writing about the "insular Obama-hating left" almost two years ago, Jonathan Chait noted:
"A world where Cornel West [note: who recently endorsed Jill Stein] could govern without any constraints would look very different from a world where Obama could govern without constraints. In that one sense, the left’s mistrust of Obama has a fully rational basis.Likewise, thinking that a Jill Stein could come into the political system we currently have and implement her platform without constraint is not reality-based, and is exponentially less likely than Clinton or Trump's ability to do so, given the composition of Congress.
But West, and much of the American left, doesn’t merely believe that. It also believes that a world where Obama can govern without constraints is the actual world we live in, or, at least, a reasonable approximation thereof. More inspiring speeches, harder fighting, or some other unspecified application of willpower is all it would take to have forced Olympia Snowe to vote for a larger stimulus or Scott Brown to go along with tougher financial regulation. Because they cannot conceive of any limits to Obama's power, betrayal and haplessness are the only causes they can imagine for their distress. (West: "What I hear is that, '[Obama] pimped us.' I heard that a zillion times. 'He pimped us, brother West.'”)" (emphasis added)