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Third party voting: Throwing your vote away or the only Path to Progress?


Off-Topic Discussions

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Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

Spinoff from another thread (as always)

Should you shoot for the moon and try to get a third party in or just make the best of a bad situation and vote for the major party that , while not perfect, at least can do some good?

I am a pragmatist, not an idealist. I would rather feed one person than talk about feeding one thousand. When I elect a politician I am getting a series of laws and programs through, not a saint, not someone i want to have a drink with, just a series of policies.

After the bush years, I no longer believe that the parties are the same. I cannot see the Iraq war happening under president Gore for example. I cannot see Gore having passed the massive bush tax cuts that ran up the debt to give more than half of the benefits to the top 1%. I would like to see more alternatives, I would like to see more points of view in the debates, I would like to see some actual progress in society at least put on the table for discussion... but i don't think that those things, which would never actually be acted upon, are worth the actual harm of having the greater of two evils in power.

The idea that this will result in no progress I think ignores the fact that things HAVE gotten better. Abraham Lincolns views on slavery were considered dangerously progressive at his time. Nowadays his views on race would be too racist for him to get elected in even the worst banjo playing possum grillin' sticks that time forgot. A federal Food stamps program would be almost inconceivable before the depression. The idea that we could possibly run out of a species was almost unheard of 100 years ago, now the idea of letting people shoot an endangered species is radically fringe and its pretty well accepted that you can't kill them indirectly by screwing with their habitat. Its not perfect, but it is getting better and can continue to trend that way. Yesterday's blasphemy is tomorrow's cannon.

For a creative solution I vote swap when i can. I live in new york. Thanks to the electoral college my vote for president doesn't matter. In 2000 I swapped my vote with a Nader supporter in Florida: my vote counts towards getting nader in the debates and his vote (in theory...) was put where it mattered.


I think I kind of like the idea of voting for third parties in local and state elections, but doing what you have to do in national elections.

National politics culls players from local politics.


Shooting for the moon only works if you can pull it off by yourself.


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Candidates are a reflection of political climate, and political climate is a reflection of the electorate. If you want to see candidates with different ideas up there, start talking to those around you about politics and change their minds. The reality is that the reason you don't see a candidate up there that shares your ideas is because your ideas are fairly unpopular with the country as a whole. You don't get to have a President you agree with completely. That's not what democracy is about. You get to compromise with the rest of your countrymen.

In reality, attempting to amass support for a third-party candidate hurts you more than anyone. Your third-party candidate will not receive enough support to be elected, period. Instead, what will happen is that people who otherwise would have voted for a major-party candidate you somewhat agree with will vote for your third-party candidate of choice. Presidential races are decided by a handful of percentage points. If you pull even five percent of support away from a candidate in order to get those voters to support your third-party candidate, you will have accomplished the following:

A) You will have successfully not elected your third-party candidate.
B) You will have successfully ruined the chances of the major-party candidate you agreed with most.
C) You will have made the major-party candidate you disagreed with most the President of the United States.

And you will have no one to blame but yourself. Instead of getting the best option, which was never going to happen, you instead ensured that you'll get the worst option. C'mon, guys, we're all gamers. Put a little of that game theory thinking to use.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

At this time, it's throwing away your vote. There is no significant third party campaign presence in this campaign.

There is however one important exception to my statement. Places like New York which allow fusion voting, where in a third party can place a candidate from another party on it's ticket. A significant portion of Obama's votes in Nassau County for instance, came from a third party.

In local elections around here, one time third party candidates became really signficant was when Ed Koch running for his third term as NYC mayor captured both the Democratic and Republican nominations. In case any one asks, NY's Fusion Voting made it entirely legit. The rest of the campaign was the third partie's time to get attention and they took full advantage of it.

Sovereign Court

As an European, I usually have about 20 parties to choose from. Of course, two or three of them are usually favourites. It's been taht way for ages. Guess what ? it still works out.

Best of luck in the election.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Scott Betts wrote:
C'mon, guys, we're all gamers. Put a little of that game theory thinking to use.

LOL. Munchkin your vote.

Stereofm wrote:

As an European, I usually have about 20 parties to choose from. Of course, two or three of them are usually favourites. It's been taht way for ages. Guess what ? it still works out.

Best of luck in the election.

I wish we had a parliament in America. It makes so much more sense. "I disagree with party A on issue X, and I disagree with party B on issue Y." In America you are SOL. In the rest of the civilized world, that means voting for party C, and as long as party C meets some minimum threshold of votes (typically something like 5%), they get a vote in parliament. Much smarter.


Wouldn't really work in a country like the USA unless said third party got really popular.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
I wish we had a parliament in America. It makes so much more sense. "I disagree with party A on issue X, and I disagree with party B on issue Y." In America you are SOL. In the rest of the civilized world, that means voting for party C, and as long as party C meets some minimum threshold of votes (typically something like 5%), they get a vote in parliament. Much smarter.

When we do the whole nation-building thing in other countries, what kind of legislature do we set up? It isn't a bicameral two-party system like what we have here--it's a parliamentary system.

The Exchange

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Very low probability one vote matters regardless.


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Third party candidates for president are mostly a waste of time right now. The last 3rd party candidate to actually carry a state was George Wallace, a segregationist democrat who broke from the party in '68. He had been a democratic governor for multiple terms, a democratic presidential candidate 3 times, so he had a lot of name recognition. The only states he carried were in the south.

The previous 3rd party candidate to win a state was Strom Thurmond, who again, carried several southern states.

3rd parties should stop caring about the presidency. They should focus on local and state elections. You need to build a party from the ground up, not the top down. The exception being if one of the major parties implodes, then the remnants will be up for grabs by a charismatic leader.

Liberty's Edge

I'll be voting for a third party presidential ticket this year, because I am really not afraid of Romney. The benefits of giving third parties legitimacy outweigh the risk of my vote going to a moderate special interest Republican. Yeah he might f!@~ over some minorities and maybe start a war but he's not Bush, and he's not Ryan.

I'll still campaign for some local and state Democrats, since their platforms and records are pretty close to my views, and because the third party organisations around here are hells of skeletal. If a Green dude had decided to run, I'd be all over that, but it hasn't happened.

The Exchange Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

If the Reform Party had managed to get off the ground on a national level, we might have seen a three party system for the office of President. After Pat Buchanan ditched the GOP and jack-booted his way in back in 2000 though, it lost momentum and never regained the status it did when Ventura won Minnesota back in '98.

I agree with meatrace; options outside the D/R paradigm work better on local levels. It's also possible to get independents into Congress.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Stereofm wrote:

As an European, I usually have about 20 parties to choose from. Of course, two or three of them are usually favourites. It's been taht way for ages. Guess what ? it still works out.

Best of luck in the election.

I'm assuming you don't have a system that is run by two parties. Election boards are by law made up of half one party and half the other. They make it so that it becomes difficult for 3rd parties to get on the ballot.

The other big factor is money. The DNC and the RNC are both well entrenched in the money raising business. They can afford to have offices everywhere. They know how to get money out of lobbyists. They can get their chosen candidates in touch with the right people. It would take a huge amount of money to setup that kind of political machine for a third party. It just isn't going to happen.

As much as I dislike it, the best way to change a party is from the inside. The left could take a note of how the Tea Party works. It isn't a distinct party, but a movement within the Republican party. If you want more "Green" candidates, we need to rally behind them and get them nominated as Democrats. Or if you prefer Libertarian, you could probably get them nominated for either party depending on the particular state or district.


deinol wrote:
Stereofm wrote:

As an European, I usually have about 20 parties to choose from. Of course, two or three of them are usually favourites. It's been taht way for ages. Guess what ? it still works out.

Best of luck in the election.

I'm assuming you don't have a system that is run by two parties. Election boards are by law made up of half one party and half the other. They make it so that it becomes difficult for 3rd parties to get on the ballot.

The other big factor is money. The DNC and the RNC are both well entrenched in the money raising business. They can afford to have offices everywhere. They know how to get money out of lobbyists. They can get their chosen candidates in touch with the right people. It would take a huge amount of money to setup that kind of political machine for a third party. It just isn't going to happen.

As much as I dislike it, the best way to change a party is from the inside. The left could take a note of how the Tea Party works. It isn't a distinct party, but a movement within the Republican party. If you want more "Green" candidates, we need to rally behind them and get them nominated as Democrats. Or if you prefer Libertarian, you could probably get them nominated for either party depending on the particular state or district.

This. A million times, this. If you want to really make a difference in politics, join one of the major parties and start organizing. Party platforms are determined by party officials and votes, and you'd be amazed at how easy it is to break into successive levels of major political party hierarchy (at least, this holds true for the Democratic party). If you're dedicated, passionate, and level-headed, there is a lot of room for you to shape the party's future.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Third party voting: Throwing your vote away or the only Path to Progress?

Both...

Voting for a third party is a symbolic act. It says that you believe in the system, just not the candidates. It is like choosing RC Cola over Coke and Pepsi.

Boycotting the vote is also a symbolic act. It says that you find the system to be invalid. It is like choosing not to drink soda at all.

Either way, you're almost guaranteed to have almost zero intended effect on the outcome of the election. There is just too many things stacking the deck in favor of the two candidates.

I have voted for Ralph Nader in the last three elections, and while I could pull the lever with a clear conscience, I also figured out that it had about as much effect on things as flushing my toilet.

Scarab Sages

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The entire point of voting is that you should vote for the person you feel should be elected. Whether or not they are elected is irrelevant.

I hate the two-party system we have because it encourages the "lesser of two evils" mentality. But then, if it were up to me, we wouldn't have Democrats vs. Republicans, we'd have Candidate vs. Candidate vs. Candidate vs. Candidate vs. etc...


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Fergie wrote:
Either way, you're almost guaranteed to have almost zero intended effect on the outcome of the election. There is just too many things stacking the deck in favor of the two candidates.

The point isn't that the deck is stacked in the major parties' favor, and thus your vote won't matter. It's that you effectively are stripping a vote from one of the two candidates that stands a chance of being elected, making the actual outcome of the election worse for yourself than if you had just voted for a major party in the first place.

Quote:
I have voted for Ralph Nader in the last three elections, and while I could pull the lever with a clear conscience, I also figured out that it had about as much effect on things as flushing my toilet.

People with that mindset are, collectively, responsible for the country electing Bush over Gore in 2000. I'm not sure why you think that situations like voting for Nader have no effect. The people who voted for Nader ended up responsible for eight years of President George W. Bush. You, or those like you, if you didn't reside in Florida, could have prevented that, but chose not to because they either a) thought their "symbolic action" was more important than the reality of electing a President, or b) didn't bother to think about the consequences of pulling the lever, and decided to reassure themselves that they have a clear conscience anyway.


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Davor wrote:
The entire point of voting is that you should vote for the person you feel should be elected. Whether or not they are elected is irrelevant.

That's not the entire point of voting. The entire point of voting is to exercise the political muscle allotted you by the U.S. and state constitutions in order to produce the most desirable outcome possible. You absolutely should be using game theory when casting your vote, because this is a democracy and a democracy is not about you trying to get exactly what you want; it's about compromise with everyone else. If you try to get exactly what you want, but go about it blindly, you will end up worse off than if you had compromised.

Quote:
I hate the two-party system we have because it encourages the "lesser of two evils" mentality.

That's an over-used cliche, and only true if you believe both candidates to be evils (a view that is, in my opinion, tough to legitimately support upon any kind of substantive analysis).

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Gark the Goblin wrote:
I'll be voting for a third party presidential ticket this year, because I am really not afraid of Romney. The benefits of giving third parties legitimacy outweigh the risk of my vote going to a moderate special interest Republican. Yeah he might f+@* over some minorities and maybe start a war but he's not Bush, and he's not Ryan.

And those minorities? F*$! 'em, got mine.

Davor wrote:

The entire point of voting is that you should vote for the person you feel should be elected. Whether or not they are elected is irrelevant.

I hate the two-party system we have because it encourages the "lesser of two evils" mentality. But then, if it were up to me, we wouldn't have Democrats vs. Republicans, we'd have Candidate vs. Candidate vs. Candidate vs. Candidate vs. etc...

And each candidate would form a coalition of like-minded politicians and supporters. Political parties naturally form around the tendency of like-minded people to work together. Even if political parties were illegal, you'd still have clear voting blocs who politicians cater to, and clear power blocs formed of like-minded politicians. While the parties clearly work to shape the system to continue their existence, the forces that put them there are unavoidable without stepping on freedom of association and speech very hard.

As for elections in your utopia, the campaign would focus as much on "I'm the most electable guy!" as well as "I'm going to do the best job of running the country!" and people's desire to tactically vote to get someone who isn't going to actively ruin their lives would cause them to gravitate to the most electable candidates. Politicians and activists naturally gravitate to parties because it beats going it alone, and First Past The Post naturally causes those parties to merge or die until there is a two-party system. Once those parties get there, they're again going to shape the system so that it's hard for any other party to rise up, but, again, if you remove those barriers to entry, you still have a system that encourages two parties.

If you need proof of this, America does have Candidate vs. Candidate vs. etc. elections. They're the party primaries, and inevitably they result in two or three candidates crowding out everyone else.

You can't legitimize third parties in general by voting. You can possibly legitimize one particular third party, but the absolute best case for you is that the third party is so successful that one of the two main parties co-opts their platform (US Reform Party) or that the third party usurps one of the two main parties (Canada NDP). There is no stable state where the Democrats, Republicans, and [Third Party du jour] have a real chance of getting elected in the same election.


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Scott Betts wrote:
People with that mindset are, collectively, responsible for the country electing Bush over Gore in 2000. I'm not sure why you think that situations like voting for Nader have no effect. The people who voted for Nader ended up responsible for eight years of President George W. Bush. You, or those like you, if you didn't reside in Florida, could have prevented that, but chose not to because they either a) thought their "symbolic action" was more important than the reality of electing a President, or b) didn't bother to think about the consequences of pulling the lever, and decided to reassure themselves that they have a clear conscience anyway.

I seem to remember there being this controversy about Floridian blacks not being allowed to vote, and Floridian Jews voting for Buchanan in great big droves, and Al Gore conceding the election without much of a fight because it would have discredited the electoral process. And I seem to remember that Gore won more of the popular vote than Bush, and Nader won none of the electoral college votes.

But, yeah, it must be all the people who voted for Nader's fault.

Not that I would vote for Nader.

Scarab Sages

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Scott Betts wrote:

That's not the entire point of voting. The entire point of voting is to exercise the political muscle allotted you by the U.S. and state constitutions in order to produce the most desirable outcome possible. You absolutely should be using game theory when casting your vote, because this is a democracy and a democracy is not about you trying to get exactly what you want; it's about compromise with everyone else. If you try to get exactly what you want, but go about it blindly, you will end up worse off than if you had compromised.

Well, on that point we may need to simply disagree. I was under the impression that democracy meant voicing our opinions and letting the majority decide the outcome, rather that purposefully limiting my choices to fit the majority. I understand that isn't how it works, but I'm not gonna bend on a fundamental aspect of democracy because society has built up this idea that your vote doesn't matter, or detracts from some other candidate.

Scott Betts wrote:

That's an over-used cliche, and only true if you believe both candidates to be evils (a view that is, in my opinion, tough to legitimately support upon any kind of substantive analysis).

I use the phrase "lesser of two evils" not because I believe the candidates to be evil, of course, but to say that, if neither candidate is my choice, why should I bother voting for them? Yeah, we have party primaries, as A Man in Black pointed out, but those are still party oriented primaries, and serve no purpose but to further narrow the range of potential candidates. This does nothing but put blinders on the public, which is pretty ridiculous, imo.

oh, and @Anklebiter: Yeah, the electoral college is abysmal.


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If you vote for some guy, and they then implement roughly what they promised, BUT they also implement stuff you decidedly do NOT want, such as expanding the right of the state to bypass due process... AND the other alternative you are given to vote for promises other things than the first, but ALSO wants to expand the state's power to bypass due process... then the best you can hope for is not to be complicit to their douchebaggery. Not voting won't help you, but neither will voting for one of the candidates (who are both receiving funding by the same people, and have been told to expand state authority to bypass due process as a condition of getting that funding). Thus: You WILL not get what you want. Whatever you do. In that situation, you can only send a message.

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

The only thing I have to contribute to this thread is that I am amused that BNW and I basically used the exact same evidence to come to the exact opposite conclusions. In my younger years I like most of my family was pretty heavily Republican. After living through the Bush years and growing up a bit, I've given up on the system and resigned myself to the fact that no, there's no appreciable difference between the parties.

I probably won't be voting. And I really don't care what that makes you think of me. Mostly because I won't be here to see any replies.


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Quote:
Fergie wrote:

Voting for a third party is a symbolic act. It says that you believe in the system, just not the candidates. It is like choosing RC Cola over Coke and Pepsi.

Boycotting the vote is also a symbolic act. It says that you find the system to be invalid. It is like choosing not to drink soda at all.

Either way, you're almost guaranteed to have almost zero intended effect on the outcome of the election. There is just too many things stacking the deck in favor of the two candidates.

Scott Betts wrote:
The point isn't that the deck is stacked in the major parties' favor, and thus your vote won't matter. It's that you effectively are stripping a vote from one of the two candidates that stands a chance of being elected, making the actual outcome of the election worse for yourself than if you had just voted for a major party in the first place.

I respectfully agree and disagree with you, Scott. I agree that you are effectively stripping a vote from one of the two candidates that stands a chance of getting elected. Absolutely true.

I disagree that it makes the outcome worse for yourself. I do not believe that either of the major candidates has my best interest at heart. Since things will be just as bad for me regardless of who gets elected, the outcome for myself is the same; neither better nor worse.

Quote:
Fergie wrote:
I have voted for Ralph Nader in the last three elections, and while I could pull the lever with a clear conscience, I also figured out that it had about as much effect on things as flushing my toilet.
Scott Betts wrote:
People with that mindset are, collectively, responsible for the country electing Bush over Gore in 2000. I'm not sure why you think that situations like voting for Nader have no effect. The people who voted for Nader ended up responsible for eight years of President George W. Bush. You, or those like you, if you didn't reside in Florida, could have prevented that, but chose not to because they either a) thought their "symbolic action" was more important than the reality of electing a President, or b) didn't bother to think about the consequences of pulling the lever, and decided to reassure themselves that they have a clear conscience anyway.

Every person who voted in the 2000 and 2004 elections are collectively responsible for the country electing George W. Bush. Everyone who votes in the election is exercising their political muscle and at the end of election day, somebody wins the presidency. We all share the responsibility for that decision.

I think that symbolic actions are tremendously important. Symbolic actions are all that we have. Due to the electoral college, all US voting is symbolic. Likewise, a clear conscience is tremendously important. If you don’t listen to your conscience, what DO you listen to?

When I voted for a third party in the last election, my vote said “I disagree with what the Republicans are doing and with what the Democrats are doing. I will not support them, so I will vote against them.” The candidate I voted for did not get elected. The two major parties got the message: “There are people out there who don’t support you.” Also, the people who voted for Nader didn’t vote for George W. Bush. They voted for Ralph Nader.

This November, I will not vote for Barak Obama or for Mitt Romney. I will instead vote for someone else. Will they win the presidency? Unlikely. Will I still be able to say, with a clear conscience, “I didn’t vote for him,” when the president and congress passes more invasive legislation? Yes. Will I still be responsible for the results of the election? Yes, along with everyone else who voted in the election.


In a parliamentary system, voting for a 3rd party makes sense because in the event that no party achieves a majority on its own, two or more of them have to form a coalition -- which means that there is a chance of getting what you want.

In the American system, a 3rd party can win only if one of the two major parties is irrelevant, as often happens in local races. We have frequently had state governors and members of the House of Representatives elected that way. However, the only way a 3rd party candidate can be elected President is if one of the major parties is rendered irrelevant, thereby elevating said 3rd party to major party status -- which has not happened since before the Civil War.

Nowadays, voting for a 3rd party candidate in a national race is a risky proposition, since (if enough people vote for that candidate) the most likely result is that you will siphon enough votes away from your second choice to ensure the election of the candidate you most dislike.

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

Sissyl wrote:
If you vote for some guy, and they then implement roughly what they promised, BUT they also implement stuff you decidedly do NOT want, such as expanding the right of the state to bypass due process... AND the other alternative you are given to vote for promises other things than the first, but ALSO wants to expand the state's power to bypass due process... then the best you can hope for is not to be complicit to their douchebaggery.

But there are degrees. Its not as simple as do x or not do x, there's doing x at 50% or doing x at 100%. If you have a chance to do less harm I don't think thats something that should be overlooked in favor of a symbolic gesture that the parties probably aren't paying attention to anyway.

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

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Orthos wrote:
The only thing I have to contribute to this thread is that I am amused that BNW and I basically used the exact same evidence to come to the exact opposite conclusions. In my younger years I like most of my family was pretty heavily Republican.

I think that might be why you come to the opposite conclusion. You probably voted for Republicans looking for fiscal responsibility, only to see them start spending like Kenedy's on a bender. If thats what you care about then no.. there really is no difference because despite the rhetoric neither party is for fiscal responsibility: they just want to overspend on different programs.

While neither party is going to endorse my dream of restoring the wooly mammoth to alaska, democrats will stop the whole sale slaughter of wolves in Washington and Idaho.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

I seem to remember there being this controversy about Floridian blacks not being allowed to vote, and Floridian Jews voting for Buchanan in great big droves, and Al Gore conceding the election without much of a fight because it would have discredited the electoral process. And I seem to remember that Gore won more of the popular vote than Bush, and Nader won none of the electoral college votes.

But, yeah, it must be all the people who voted for Nader's fault.

I am not saying that they are solely responsible. I am saying that, however, if the people who voted for Nader had actually given some thought to the consequences of their votes, rather than trying to send a pointless, self-destructive "symbolic" message, Bush would not have been elected. You can take any significant group of people who did not vote for Gore and blame the election's outcome on them. All that means is that each of those groups should feel absolutely awful that they are responsible for the outcome in question. The fact that many don't, and that many went on to do exactly the same thing again means that we have an electorate that simply does not give much thought to how they vote - superficial analysis, and nothing more.


Davor wrote:
Well, on that point we may need to simply disagree. I was under the impression that democracy meant voicing our opinions and letting the majority decide the outcome, rather that purposefully limiting my choices to fit the majority. I understand that isn't how it works, but I'm not gonna bend on a fundamental aspect of democracy because society has built up this idea that your vote doesn't matter, or detracts from some other candidate.

That's not "society" building up that idea. That's the political reality of a first-past-the-post voting system. If you don't want to use the system in the way that is most beneficial to yourself, that's fine. But you don't, for instance, get to vote for Ralph Nader in a swing state in the 2000 election and then complain about Bush being elected.

Quote:
I use the phrase "lesser of two evils" not because I believe the candidates to be evil, of course, but to say that, if neither candidate is my choice, why should I bother voting for them?

Because democracy is not about getting exactly what you want all the time, and throwing up your arms and complaining about that by calling your choice "the lesser of two evils" makes you sound like a spoiled child. You should bother voting for them because one of those candidates is a better choice for you than the other (and if you disagree, you aren't paying attention).


Orthos wrote:
The only thing I have to contribute to this thread is that I am amused that BNW and I basically used the exact same evidence to come to the exact opposite conclusions. In my younger years I like most of my family was pretty heavily Republican. After living through the Bush years and growing up a bit, I've given up on the system and resigned myself to the fact that no, there's no appreciable difference between the parties.

I know Orthos here is probably beyond help at this point, since he won't be reading anything else, but for anyone else under the mistaken impression that both parties are the same, please please please take a look at this side-by-side comparison of the two party platforms, in their own words. It makes it very clear that there are major differences between the two parties in terms of proposed action and political philosophy.


Aaron aka Itchy wrote:

I respectfully agree and disagree with you, Scott. I agree that you are effectively stripping a vote from one of the two candidates that stands a chance of getting elected. Absolutely true.

I disagree that it makes the outcome worse for yourself. I do not believe that either of the major candidates has my best interest at heart. Since things will be just as bad for me regardless of who gets elected, the outcome for myself is the same; neither better nor worse.

It's pretty much impossible to have a solid grasp of what the two candidates' plans and platforms are and still believe that things will be just as bad for you no matter who is elected. Please see above.

Quote:
Every person who voted in the 2000 and 2004 elections are collectively responsible for the country electing George W. Bush.

Well, no, not every person. The ones who voted for Gore (or Kerry) aren't.

Quote:
Everyone who votes in the election is exercising their political muscle and at the end of election day, somebody wins the presidency. We all share the responsibility for that decision.

We do. However, at the end of the day, when it comes time to judge a Presidency on its merits, it doesn't make a lot of sense to lay the blame for a bad Presidency at the feet of those who did everything they could to prevent it. On the other hand, it makes a lot of sense to lay a good amount of the blame at the feet of those who could have done something about it, but instead decided to become an active participant in screwing the country by casting a "symbolic," self-destructive vote.

Quote:
I think that symbolic actions are tremendously important.

That's what people who take symbolic actions say.

(EDIT: As a side note, Bush thought symbolic actions were tremendously important, too.)

You know what else is important? The actual results of the tremendous responsibilities you have placed upon you as a citizen voter.

Quote:
Symbolic actions are all that we have.

That is false.

Quote:
Due to the electoral college, all US voting is symbolic.

And yet, in reality, the electoral college assigns its votes according to the outcomes of the individual state elections.

Quote:
Likewise, a clear conscience is tremendously important. If you don’t listen to your conscience, what DO you listen to?

Is that what you tell yourself? If I had voted for Nader in a puerile gesture of misguided defiance, and later learned that, had I just done the smart thing instead, we could have avoided an 8-year Bush presidency, I would feel pretty awful. My conscience would certainly not be clear. I would feel selfish for trying to be "symbolic" at the expense of my country's well-being.

Quote:
When I voted for a third party in the last election, my vote said “I disagree with what the Republicans are doing and with what the Democrats are doing. I will not support them, so I will vote against them.” The candidate I voted for did not get elected. The two major parties got the message: “There are people out there who don’t support you.”

Are you under the impression that, prior to your symbolic vote, the two major parties had absolutely no idea that there are people out there who don't support them?

Quote:
Also, the people who voted for Nader didn’t vote for George W. Bush. They voted for Ralph Nader.

And, in the process, handed the election to George W. Bush. You may not have voted for him, but every political operative in Bush's campaign would have - without hesitation! - raised a glass to Nader and his supporters for helping them win the Presidency. They literally couldn't have done it without them.

Quote:
This November, I will not vote for Barak Obama or for Mitt Romney. I will instead vote for someone else. Will they win the presidency? Unlikely.

No, you need to understand this. It's not "unlikely." It is "absolutely not anywhere close to the realm of possibility."

Quote:
Will I still be able to say, with a clear conscience, “I didn’t vote for him,” when the president and congress passes more invasive legislation? Yes.

That's a really comforting, superficial view of where you political responsibility lies. You may believe your conscience to be clear, but that's only because you haven't actually thought about what your decision meant.

Quote:
Will I still be responsible for the results of the election? Yes, along with everyone else who voted in the election.

Everyone is not equally responsible.

You are subject to quite a few political myths (some that are unfortunately fairly popular). They have sort of distorted your view of what it means to vote, and who shoulders the responsibility for outcomes both positive and negative.


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If Bush hadn't been elected, Citizen's United wouldn't have succeeded.

Liberty's Edge

6 people marked this as a favorite.

To paraphrase aMiB: bombing innocents in Waziristan? F@&~ 'em! I got Obamacare!

Why I refuse to vote for Obama

Remember, folks, it's only bad to bomb innocents and assassinate Americans if there's an "R" after your name. Democrats are immune from war crimes because they're not Bush. And Pakistanis aren't really people anyway, right? Right?


That's really more an indictment of war and human nature than anything else. I agree it's shameful and wrong, but voting for Romney or any third party candidate is not going to change that in a meaningful manner anytime soon. Even if Dennis Kucinich were elected, some innocent somewhere in the world would be killed during his presidency through the use of US military force.

We've been killing someone somewhere to 'protect our interest' since Monroe.

I'm not excusing it or saying it's okay. It's a reality of the world and country we live in. It's going to take decades to change and serious concerted effort. It probably won't change as long as people think American Exceptionalism exists or even talk about it.


So, you think Obama should unilaterally withdraw all troops from Afghanistan in the blink of an eye, with no mind for the power vacuum a lack of American presence would create?

The problem of how to extricate ourselves from Afghanistan is a tricky one. If you have a solution that the experts haven't considered, please share.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
houstonderek wrote:

To paraphrase aMiB: bombing innocents in Waziristan? F&!* 'em! I got Obamacare!

Why I refuse to vote for Obama

Remember, folks, it's only bad to bomb innocents and assassinate Americans if there's an "R" after your name. Democrats are immune from war crimes because they're not Bush. And Pakistanis aren't really people anyway, right? Right?

Look, this is a tremendously complicated issue. It requires a new paradigm of political thought and action that didn't exist twenty years ago. It's complicated enough that no one really knows what to do about it, frankly. Global terrorism sucks, not just as a horrific methodology that ruins lives, but as a political thought experiment to try and develop solutions to. There aren't any good ones. Every solution is bad. Every solution has enormous downsides. Even the "best" solution of a long-term effort of peaceful cultural outreach is seen as a pipe dream by political analysts. Obama is not dealing with the issue as I would like, but I am not privy to even a fraction of the information that he is. President Obama is not the sort of person to casually end Pakistani lives. You are sorely mistaken about the man's character if you believe that he authorizes action like that lightly.

For the record, this mirrors my take on Afghanistan (but not Iraq).

We don't live in a perfect world, and Presidents exist to make hard choices on behalf of their country. What is going on in Pakistan is not good, but our President is not a sociopath. There is not a doubt in my mind that Pakistan doesn't weigh heavily on him, and is responsible for more than a few of his grey hairs. It's an awful situation, and it sours my view of the world, but it does not prevent me from offering the President my full-throated support.


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Scott Betts wrote:

Obama is not dealing with the issue as I would like, but I am not privy to even a fraction of the information that he is. President Obama is not the sort of person to casually end Pakistani lives. You are sorely mistaken about the man's character if you believe that he authorizes action like that lightly.

For the record, this mirrors my take on Afghanistan (but not Iraq).

We don't live in a perfect world, and Presidents exist to make hard choices on behalf of their country. What is going on in Pakistan is not good, but our President is not a sociopath. There is not a doubt in my mind that Pakistan doesn't weigh heavily on him, and is responsible for more than a few of his grey hairs. It's an awful situation, and it sours my view of the world, but it does not prevent me from offering the President my full-throated support.

It really takes a special kind of trust to see a man:

a) ordering the killings of thousands of people in a country you are not at war with via remote control;
b) making the conscious effort to hide all information about this program and others;
c) harassing journalists, filmmakers and activists involved in work critical of his foreign policy and civil liberties record;
d) prosecuting and persecuting whistleblowers more than all the other US presidents combined;

and even then, trusting deep down that this man has the best intentions without a mind reading machine.

And even if you're right and Obama is, in fact, a good guy, what will happen when some *sociopath* gets hold of the power Obama conveniently gave him by setting these sorts of precedents?


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Scott Betts wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

I seem to remember there being this controversy about Floridian blacks not being allowed to vote, and Floridian Jews voting for Buchanan in great big droves, and Al Gore conceding the election without much of a fight because it would have discredited the electoral process. And I seem to remember that Gore won more of the popular vote than Bush, and Nader won none of the electoral college votes.

But, yeah, it must be all the people who voted for Nader's fault.

I am not saying that they are solely responsible. I am saying that, however, if the people who voted for Nader had actually given some thought to the consequences of their votes, rather than trying to send a pointless, self-destructive "symbolic" message, Bush would not have been elected. You can take any significant group of people who did not vote for Gore and blame the election's outcome on them. All that means is that each of those groups should feel absolutely awful that they are responsible for the outcome in question. The fact that many don't, and that many went on to do exactly the same thing again means that we have an electorate that simply does not give much thought to how they vote - superficial analysis, and nothing more.

Reviewing some different pages suggests to me that Bush won the election because Gore was a f@%+ing loser who couldn't even motivate the Democratic faithful.

A quick glance at wikipedia's page for the 2000 electoral college results indicates that the only state where Nader "threw" the election was in Florida...where over 200,000 registered Democrats voted for Bush! (Twice as many people as who voted for Nader, btw.)

Still, this is piddily shiznit in the face of the 90,000+ mostly black voters who were erroneously disenfranchised as felons in the run-up to the election; the multiple problems with the Diebold machines and hanging chads; the partisan effort of the Supreme Court to shut down the Florida recount.

Yeah, go ahead, keep blaming Nader voters.

Liberty's Edge

meatrace wrote:

So, you think Obama should unilaterally withdraw all troops from Afghanistan in the blink of an eye, with no mind for the power vacuum a lack of American presence would create?

The problem of how to extricate ourselves from Afghanistan is a tricky one. If you have a solution that the experts haven't considered, please share.

Afghanistan has been a hell hole since, well, forever. I think the Persian Empire was the last entity to impose any sense of order there. There doesn't need to be a solution. There hasn't been a solution there for two thousand years. We aren't going to succeed in making that place a rosy, stable nation you'll want to go for vacation. The "experts"? Please.

If we pull out, what? Nothing. It is still the same ungovernable mess. And, um, Waziristan? When did we declare war against Pakistan again? Are you saying if we stopped bombing that region somehow our "national security" would be compromised?

How, exactly, are we better off than we were with Mubarak in charge of Egypt? How does opening up another hostile to Israel front make Israel LESS inclined to go a%$@+$! on the Arab world and Iran?

I guess Democrat partisans aren't required to hold their candidate to the same standard they held the last guy to. Makes sense, hypocrisy isn't limited to just one side.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Yeah, go ahead, keep blaming Nader voters.

All of the above are at fault. Including Nader voters.

The difference, of course, is that Nader voters were under the misguided belief that casting their vote for a third-party candidate in a battleground state was a smart choice and would send a powerful, symbolic message. And that those same voters are here, in this thread, trying to encourage others to do the same.

Their message was powerful, alright, but not particularly symbolic. It was received loud and clear by Bush's campaign headquarters: encouraging the left to split its support among multiple candidates is a winning strategy and should be pursued wherever possible.

I will be clear: I don't what percentage of the blame you choose to assign where. The fact is that if left-leaning voters had voted for Gore over Nader, Bush would never have taken office. They thought they were doing something good. They thought they were voting with a clear conscience. They thought they were sending a symbolic message. Instead, they ended up being one of the primary causes of this country enduring a two-term Bush presidency.

Why did this happen? Because there are a lot of voters out there who believe that voting for a third-party candidate is harmless, and can actually make some kind of headway to accomplish what they want.


I'm glad you have that kind of faith in President Obama, Scott. I don't share it, but I can appreciate the sentiment.

Liberty's Edge

Scott Betts wrote:
houstonderek wrote:

To paraphrase aMiB: bombing innocents in Waziristan? F&!* 'em! I got Obamacare!

Why I refuse to vote for Obama

Remember, folks, it's only bad to bomb innocents and assassinate Americans if there's an "R" after your name. Democrats are immune from war crimes because they're not Bush. And Pakistanis aren't really people anyway, right? Right?

Look, this is a tremendously complicated issue. It requires a new paradigm of political thought and action that didn't exist twenty years ago. It's complicated enough that no one really knows what to do about it, frankly. Global terrorism sucks, not just as a horrific methodology that ruins lives, but as a political thought experiment to try and develop solutions to. There aren't any good ones. Every solution is bad. Every solution has enormous downsides. Even the "best" solution of a long-term effort of peaceful cultural outreach is seen as a pipe dream by political analysts. Obama is not dealing with the issue as I would like, but I am not privy to even a fraction of the information that he is. President Obama is not the sort of person to casually end Pakistani lives. You are sorely mistaken about the man's character if you believe that he authorizes action like that lightly.

For the record, this mirrors my take on Afghanistan (but not Iraq).

We don't live in a perfect world, and Presidents exist to make hard choices on behalf of their country. What is going on in Pakistan is not good, but our President is not a sociopath. There is not a doubt in my mind that Pakistan doesn't weigh heavily on him, and is responsible for more than a few of his grey hairs. It's an awful situation, and it sours my view of the world, but it does not prevent me from offering the President my full-throated support.

Scott. this isn't 4e. Your blind defense of WotC and any of their critics is fine, they aren't killing people.

Real people are really being killed for absolutely no reason. All your melodramatic and completely made up insight into what Obama's thinking doesn't change that. You are sorely mistaken if you think you know more about his character than anyone else. I didn't get the memo that you suddenly developed psychic powers and can read Obama's mind.

And, guess what? You don't have to be a sociopath to be a war criminal.

And, just out of curiosity, what do you think Obama was thinking when he authorized the illegal assassination of a sixteen year old American citizen without due process? A sixteen year old. Assassinated. Under the orders of that compassionate, peace loving, high character CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR WHO KNOWS THAT S+%% IS ILLEGAL you so admire.

Get over yourself. Go back to the 4e threads, your brand of blind faith is less annoying there.


Charlie Bell wrote:
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
I wish we had a parliament in America. It makes so much more sense. "I disagree with party A on issue X, and I disagree with party B on issue Y." In America you are SOL. In the rest of the civilized world, that means voting for party C, and as long as party C meets some minimum threshold of votes (typically something like 5%), they get a vote in parliament. Much smarter.
When we do the whole nation-building thing in other countries, what kind of legislature do we set up? It isn't a bicameral two-party system like what we have here--it's a parliamentary system.

I think we'd end up with a west coast party, an east coast party and an everywhere else party.

Liberty's Edge

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Man, times have changed. College kids used to take leaders not living up to the ideals of the left to task "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"

Now? "Doing the right thing is hard. Give him a pass, I think he's a nice guy".

Oh, well, we get the government we deserve, I guess. And apparently we deserve s&~*.


Isn't one of the primary causes actually that the Democratic party is so entrenched in the two party system, that they refuse to even consider forging an electoral alliance with a 3rd party... even if the US political setup isn't amenable to that, it would be easy enough to shoe in Nader as the VP candidate and get some Democratic congresspeople to 'abdicate' to allow Green party people to take their seat ('blessed by' the Dem party), and thus also be able to take higher ranking positions in Congress. All based on ratoinal self interest, seeing what polls look like, and seeing Green support as potentially crucial. But the Democrats just shut up when the Supreme Court approved 'whatever goes in Florida' because to do otherwise would undermine the two party system... aka the system.


Scott Betts wrote:


I will be clear: I don't what percentage of the blame you choose to assign where. The fact is that if left-leaning voters had voted for Gore over Nader, Bush would never have taken office.

And if right-leaning Democrats had voted for Gore over Bush, he would've won.

The same right-leaning Democrats who nixed single-payer health care? Who voted for the Iraq War? The Patriot Act? Etc., etc.

Nevermind that the majority of Floridian Nader voters had previously voted for Perot, so one has to wonder exactly how many "left-leaning" voters Nader took from Gore.

But, nevermind. It's all the left's fault. The "f*!#ing retards." (Little Rahm Emanuel for you there.)

Liberty's Edge

Comrade, don't bother. Betts has psychic powers, remember? How can you argue with someone that can read minds?


It helps me hone my arguments for when I'm peddling socialist newspapers.


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houstonderek wrote:
Remember, folks, it's only bad to bomb innocents and assassinate Americans if there's an "R" after your name. Democrats are immune from war crimes because they're not Bush. And Pakistanis aren't really people anyway, right? Right?

Republicans are also immune to prosecution because that's how the Democrats roll.

i.e. warcrimes of the previous administration can't be examined because that's 'past history'.
which leaves us waiting for war criminals willing to prosecute themselves. or something beyond RepubliZionCratism.

I loved the vote fraud at the DNC convention though... really shows what they are about.

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