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Barack Obama

Election Day

Posted on 2012.11.06 at 03:21
This is the most important truth of American elections:

Until a true third party has been built from the ground up -- until it can field a candidate who's earned national name recognition by rising through the ranks of that party -- a vote for a Third-Party candidate is a vote for the "mainstream" candidate you like the least.

If neither viable candidate really makes your nipples hard, surely one of them distresses, disgusts or just plain scares you more than the other. Your vote can either help stop him, or aid him. It does one or the other. Anything you do with your vote that doesn't bar him from office, works to _put_ him in office. And the only way your vote can help bar him from office is if it's cast for a candidate who can defeat him. Right now, there's only one of them.

Jill Stein, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, however much you may agree with them, are not going to win the presidency. Obama or Romney is. Which of them would your third-party no-hoper most oppose? That's who you're supporting when you vote Stein or Paul or Zagnut.

Don't come whining to me about how it's not true, how your Stein vote supports Stein. That's just not true. Your Stein vote supports Romney -- or, if you hate him more, Obama -- by not helping to defeat him.

That's the hard fact.

Comments:


B00
i_m_b00 at 2012-11-06 14:46 (UTC) (Link)
Like like like like
(Anonymous) at 2012-11-06 16:21 (UTC) (Link)

Built from the ground up?

I won't comment on your stance on votes for "third parties", but do take issue with the suggestion that there is a path that allows multiple viable parties in the US. I don't think we'll see first past the post voting change anytime soon, do you?
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2012-11-06 16:37 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Built from the ground up?

Well, for starters, it's hard to respect an anonymous comment -- you lose credibility coming out of the gate by not putting yourself and your name behind your argument.

I don't believe "Duverger's Law" is correct. I don't believe that "first past the post" voting makes more than two viable parties impossible. I think any number of parties can exist in this country, under our current voting system.... But they have to start at the bottom. They have to groom and support local candidates, then county, then state. And trying to "jump the line," and running a "Special Celebrity Guest Candidate" like Ralph Nader for the presidency makes a huge negative impact on the fledgling party, making them look ridiculous.

It will take years, even decades, of fielding dogcatchers and selectmen and state reps, before a third party is legitimate, so, no, not "anytime soon." But it has to be done in those slow and deliberate steps. There are no shortcuts.
argyle_s
argyle_s at 2012-11-07 01:09 (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to disagree with you here.

It very nearly happened four years ago with the Tea Party. Admittedly, the Tea Party grew out of tax protests in the 90's, but there was such a huge swell of disaffection during the 2008 election, that you saw the beginnings of a very real third party. It would have happened too, if there hadn't been a deliberate effort, on the part of both the Republicans and the Democrats to crush the party in it's infancy. The question of whether the mainstream media intentionally helped to smother it in it's crib, or whether their tendency towards sensationalism was ruthlessly exploited by the spin doctors on both sides can be argued, but the speed with which most news organizations rushed to tar a group of people who had legitimate complaints with the 'Crazy Extremist' brush, without ever once listening to what they actually had to say, argues that they were in on the fix.

In my opinion, the biggest obstacles to the rise of a truly viable third party isn't time, or desire, it's the extent to which the existing Republican/Democrat political machine has rigged the system to the point where even gaining ballot access is nearly impossible, and the extent to which the same political machine has so thoroughly seized control of the public political dialog in the form of the current incarnation of the mainstream media.

Sadly, the parties are so quickly overrunning alternative media that I doubt we'll see a legitimate side channel that would allow the circumvention of the two party's utter domination of the political landscape.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2012-11-07 04:24 (UTC) (Link)
The Tea Party was never remotely close to being a legitimate party in its own right. It was, from the beginning, and still remains, a movement within the Republican party.
argyle_s
argyle_s at 2012-11-07 05:07 (UTC) (Link)
I realize that's the common perception, but it's not the case. The Tea Party started out as a mixed bag of Republicans and Libertarians. Admittedly, before the media really got their hatchet job into high gear, they very nearly ended up staging a coup within the Republican party, but it was not, initially, an internal group within the Republican camp.

One of the reasons that it's perceived that way is, a lot of the early, high profile protests were directed at Obama's campaign and his announced policies. Thus, it became easy for the Obama camp to dismiss them as a 'Republican fringe'. The second main reason is that the Republican party was quick to latch on to the Tea Party, because a great many of the issues the Tea Party were espousing aligned with, at least on paper, stated Republican policy, and the Republicans were, at the time, desperate for any grass roots momentum, because of the immanent banking collapse, which they new they were going to be tarred for, despite the fact that the ground work for the collapse was almost entirely the result of Clinton's financial policy.

If they hadn't been effectively cut off at the knees by one of the most carefully organized cases of political character assassination in decades, today's political landscape would look very different, but they did come a lot closer than most people realize to either co-opting the Republican Party, or creating a truly viable third party.

natertatersmom
natertatersmom at 2012-11-08 01:34 (UTC) (Link)
I've got to disagree with you on this one, Jon. :) Love you, without a doubt....but I disagree.



http://www.shakesville.com/2008/02/my-vote-mine.html
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2012-11-08 10:41 (UTC) (Link)
Your vote is absolutely your own, to do with as you please. My post is not directive, but descriptive.

If you have a bow & arrow, the arrow is yours. You can do with it as you please. If you want to shoot the moon with it, so it blows away with a farting noise like Remus Lupin's boggart, you can aim high and let fly.

But whatever your intentions, your arrow will not pierce and deflate the moon. That's never going to happen. Your arrow will fly up into the air, arc over, and come back down to the ground, point-first. If Bambi's mother is underneath it, it will kill her just as dead as if you were hunting her. And you can tell Bambi all you want that you were shooting at the moon, his mother will still be dead, and you will still have killed her.

If you want to vote for a third-party candidate, you can do that. Your vote will not elect him or her president. Moreover, your vote will also not do one thing, one teeny bit, to stop the person who most opposes your values from becoming president. If he does, you can talk all you want about how you voted for Lester Schmorkendorffer and the Blancmange-Throwing Party, but the fact will remain that your vote could have worked to stop whichever Dark Lord you now suffer under, but didn't.

This isn't an opinion, it's a fact. Disagree with gravity if you wish, but when you let go of hammers, you're going to hurt your toes.

Edited at 2012-11-08 10:42 am (UTC)
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