When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. - Edmund Burke
By: sp34n119w, 11:59 PM GMT on June 23, 2008
Why do people say that they will not vote for a candidate that has no chance of winning an election? Those voters will choose the candidate that they think has the best chance of winning regardless of how well that candidate represents their own views on policy.
But, despite the pundits’ propensity for simplified metaphors, an election is not a horse race.
When betting on a horse race the thing to do is to place your bet on the horse that you believe has the best chance to win. You certainly would not place a bet on a horse that you believe has no chance to cross the finish line first. That would be a waste of money, wouldn’t it?
To vote for a candidate who you believe represents your interests, even if you believe they cannot win, is a perfectly valid vote. In fact, it is the only vote that makes any kind of rational sense.
In the upcoming General Election, as always, there are more than two candidates for President.
Senator Obama and Senator McCain are getting and will continue to get the most coverage from the mainstream media. Those candidates will do their best to show how different they are from each other and how America would be better off with one or the other. In truth, they are almost identical in action, if not in words.
Republicans feel that McCain is not conservative enough – go look at Bob Barr.
Democrats feel that Obama is not liberal enough – go look at Ralph Nader.
Both Barr and Nader have very well defined policy views on big items like taxes, corporate welfare, health care, defense policy and spending, foreign relations, and energy.
By comparison, the two mainstream candidates are more than a little wishy-washy on those issues, both in word and in deed.
The alternate candidates are not spoilers. Democrats would like to blame Nader for the loss in 2000 but that makes no sense. If Nader had not been on the ballot, most of the folks who voted for him would not have voted at all. The same can be said for supporters of Ross Perot in previous elections. Currently, there are Republicans who will not vote for McCain but who will go out to vote for Barr. Candidates don’t lose votes - they earn them.
What would happen if, say, 10% of voters voted for someone other than McCain or Obama? Not much – we’ve seen that and more in the past. What if it were 20%? 30%? 40%? Even if neither Barr nor Nader received enough Electoral College votes to earn the office, what message would that send to the leadership of the two main Parties? Do you think they would then continue with business as usual? I think not.
One of the criteria for choosing a Presidential nominee, from the Party leadership’s point of view, is how positively that nominee will influence other electoral races. A very popular nominee or sitting President will help the Party win seats in the House and the Senate. An unpopular nominee or President is bad news for the Party. You may remember that there were Republican candidates in 2006 that politely declined offers from G. W. Bush to campaign for them. He was not an asset at that point.
So, how will Congress perceive a large voter turnout for the alternate candidates? Bad news. The word would be out that there are viable alternatives. Voters might start thinking that they have more than two choices for Representatives and Senators, as well as for President. Potential voters who have opted out of the process in disgust with the two-party system might just start voting again. This time, they’ll vote for Independents, Greens, and Libertarians. Then what? No more cozy, back-room deals. No more control by an elite few who all, ultimately, want the same benefits for themselves, regardless of how it affects the American people. You throw in a third, fourth, and even fifth party and negotiations take on a whole new tenor.
More importantly, you have a body of Legislators who more accurately reflect the interests of the American people and that may or may not coincide with the best interests of the career Party politicians.
Is that going to happen? Not this election cycle. However, we can send the message that we want change – real, actual, measurable, change that is effected by us, by our own votes, our own will, and not by them acting as caretakers to us all. We can effect that change with our votes for all offices. This is change that I can believe in.
I have frequently voted for a third-party candidate for offices other than President. I never thought that those candidates would win. My purpose was to send a message with my vote to whomever did win. I will do that again this November for State and Federal elected offices.
The message? I’m here! I’m watching you! I am not happy! Get it together, folks, or others will join me, eventually.
I will vote for an alternative to the two main candidates for President for the first time this year. I don’t know who it will be, yet, but I know it will not be a Republican or a Democrat. Well, maybe a Democrat, if I decide to write in Hillary - since I’d still be making a statement about the current system as well as choosing what I believe to be a potentially great President.
It’s a little more than 4 months until the election. I’ve got time to research the candidates and devise a strategy. Maybe I’ll vote straight Green, or Libertarian, or Independent. More likely I’ll mix it up a bit more since those won’t be available in every office category.
No matter. I have time. I have the will. I will speak my mind. I will vote my conscience.
By: sp34n119w, 7:01 PM GMT on June 09, 2008
I'm working on a follow-up to the St. Francis Dam disaster blog. In the meantime, politics is just too interesting ;)
For those who are politically disappointed, there are things you can do (besides bailing out), if you so choose.
I am not advocating anything, just offering an outlet and some resources - as a public service, if you will.
Just to stay with the NY Senator, at first -
A few days ago I went looking about the web to see how folks are reacting to Senator Clinton’s campaign suspension. I don’t usually do that sort of thing and kind of wish I had done sooner. It turns out that everything I wrote about in my two “Why Hillary?” blogs has been written already - and a lot more, of course, that I never got around to writing or hadn’t even thought of. Well, duh, I guess. I could have saved myself so much time by just linking or copying and pasting! Just kidding - writing was a great exercise for me and helped clarify my thoughts and reading what others had to say helped me to think and rethink about many issues. I really appreciate the forum and the feedback, here in the blog and through wumail. I have learned much more than weather on weatherunderground.
As I poked about the ‘net, I found a lot of really ticked-off people venting their frustrations and thought I’d write about that today. Although there are not many on these blogs who openly supported HC, they are here, and might find this of value. It could benefit BO’s and Mac’s supporters to have a look at what is being said, too. The power of the media over “We the People” is extreme, as we know, and will affect the outcome in November.
Also, if you think that the disrespect shown to women in general, and HC in particular, by the media and our politicians is out of control, you will be glad to know that you are not alone. Not as glad as if it weren’t true but such is life in the 21st century.
Among the nearly 18 million voters who chose Senator Clinton over Senator Obama to be the Democratic nominee for President, some believe that they and their candidate have been abused to the point that they refuse to accept things as they stand. Many are angry at the un-denounced and rampant sexism displayed by the MSM and by the Obama campaign and his supporters. Many feel that the DNC has completely lost their way, rigging the election, discarding the principles and values that Democrats hold dear. Many also see the MSM’s part in this to be a repeat of the 2000 general election process, wherein Bush was the “Golden Boy” of the moment, offering the MSM the best chance for conflict and entertainment value, at the expense of truth and decent journalism.
If, like so many others, you have turned in your Democratic Party badge in favor of Independent status but you want your party back, I offer the following resources.
There are several revolutionary Dems, whose main purpose is to take back the party from the elite and place it back in the hands of the core constituency. They have rallied around the current debacle and you can find some of them by going to PUMA.org (a registered, non-affiliated, PAC). You might not want to join but you can read through the blog and comments to see what they’re thinking. Clicking the links on the blogrolls and you will find others who are in that fight, as well.
If you are wondering if you can write-in a candidate in November you need to check your state’s rules about that. It is not as easy as it sounds. In some states, apparently, if you are a registered Rep and write in Ron Paul, it will count for McCain unless Paul has registered as a valid candidate. The state of Hawaii does not allow write-ins at all. A current clearinghouse for Dems who want to write-in HC is writehillaryin.com where they show state-by-state rules and they pledge to update as they get information.
If you really, really, want common sense in government (and I mean you really have to want it – not just talk about it when you’re mad because your stimulus check hasn’t come yet and you finally found WiiFit at your local WalMart and your credit card is maxed-out) then you really, really ought to consider a third party candidate. I mean, seriously, this whole Red State/Blue State is getting old... not to mention thoroughly demeaning to every thinking American citizen.
Just stop voting for the “winner” and vote for those who you think will best serve your interests – whether or not you think they can win. Not just for President, either, but for every elected office. What have you got to lose? Bragging rights?
And, don’t let anyone talk you into “party loyalty” for a party in which you aren’t even welcome.
So, what choice have you got? The most obvious are Ron Paul (as a write-in? His website is still up and running) and Ralph Nader. But as long as you’re looking around, check out the Libertarians – if you consider yourself a conservative, boy, this is the place to go! They make Reps look downright liberal. Lean the other way? Check out the Green Party. Hey, at least the name is finally trendy.
There are other party possibilities but they are mostly pretty weird.
You can find tons of relevant information on national and state candidates at Project Vote Smart.
If you don’t want to read all that and aren’t sure where to turn (or, if you just want to have some fun) take the Political Compass test to see who is most likely to share your views.
Change, you say? You want change? No, you don’t. You want Hannity and Matthews duking it out. You want O’Reilly and Olbermann making fun of each other’s names. You want to feel superior, right now, regardless of how ridiculous you will feel tomorrow.
Enjoy the show!