Why Vote Third-Party?
[2012 update: Though this post was originally written for the 2008 presidential election, its message is just as true, and even more urgent, today. The argument can be summarized as follows:
- Effectively we have a staged election, in which the Establishment (a.k.a. the System, the power elite, the military-industrial-banking-media-oil-AIPAC complex), presents two candidates, both of whom represent the status quo;
- To keep voters from voting for a non-Establishment candidate (e.g., Gary Johnson, the Libertarian), the Establishment uses the following divide-and-conquer strategy: (1) choose issues for the two main parties that divide the population as closely as possible to a 50/50; (2) have horrible, frightening, utterly hypocritical candidates for both parties (Romney and Obama); (3) by this means, basically intimidate voters such that, to keep the more feared candidate from winning, they must vote for the other candidate; (4) crucial to this strategy's success is to have several 'hot-button' issues: healthcare, gay marriage, taxing the rich, etc., to scare voters on both the left and right, and to have the news media focus on these issues, inflaming emotions to the maximum.
- Nomination of horrible candidates also means many voters will simply not vote, which again works in the Establishment's favor.
- This racket will continue as long as it works; it will stop working when a substantial proportion of Americans vote for third-party candidates.
- Supporting the two-party system by voting for either Obama or Romney is enabling the unjust, suicidal and unpopular wars to continue, without the public voicing opposition at the ballot box;
- Voting for a third-party candidate, therefore, will not throw your vote away. It will make a definite statement, both to the Republican and Democratic parties, and to your fellow citizens.
- Further, voting for third-party candidates will help third parties eventually reach the critical threshold of 5% of the popular vote -- at which point they will qualify for public campaign funding assistance.
- Finally, voting for third parties will help counteract the feeling of what psychologists call 'learned helplessness', which the System desperately wants to maintain in the population.]
My goal here is to convince you of sound reasons to vote for a third-party candidate — ANY third-party candidate — in the presidential election.
The reasoning is simple:
First, it should be evident to all that the Democratic and Republican parties are ‘in cahoots’. There’s not much real difference between them. Together they form a duopoly with absolute political and economic power. They distract public attention by arguing about superficial differences, obscuring the fact that they agree on the major issues like:
- the BIG GOVERNMENT model is the only option
- America needs a huge military budget
- war is not insane
- no term limits
- the ‘war on drugs’
Then why not just vote third-party? Here’s the reason many people give: “If I vote for a third party, wouldn’t that throw my vote away?“.
Let’s dispel that myth once and for all. First, if one thing is plain, it’s that you have thrown your vote away if you vote for the Democrat or Republican candidate. The two parties are basically the same, and regardless of which party is in power, things don’t improve. Recall that it was both the Democrats and the Republicans who rushed into the Iraq war, waving the flag, without a plan.
The truth is, the Republicrat duopoly has arranged so that we have a Democrat for one or two terms, then a Republican, and then back again. It’s a sweet system where both parties win. Neither is out of power for very long.
Consider also how both parties together have succeeded in making you feel you have to vote against someone. In 2000, for example, you may not have liked Bush much, but felt you needed to vote against Al Gore, or vice versa. That, I propose, is precisely what the two parties want. They have, by picking the right issues, managed to completely polarize the American public into two camps, split almost 50/50. Further, they’ve set the tone of American politics as one of constant acrimony and argument. Far too much attention is spent criticizing the other camp, and not enough on presenting new, positive ideas. It’s a divide and conquer strategy. By polarizing the American public, the Republicrat power coalition has kept people too busy fighting with each other to see what the real problem is. It’s the old case of ‘let’s you and him fight’.
This makes each person think, “My vote is essential to prevent the other party from winning; I can’t afford to vote for a third-party candidate, or someone with original ideas.” But considering the dearth of good ideas among the current Republican and Democrat candidates, it’s evident that, whichever wins, we’ll be stuck with another bad president for at least another four years.
This November, then, you’ll have two choices:
1. Vote for the Democrat or Republican candidate, in which case you truly will throw your vote away, or
2. Vote for a third party candidate.
In the second case, it’s true your candidate will not likely win. But you haven’t thrown your vote away. If enough people do this, then the Democrats and Republicans will get the message. By the time the next elections come around, they will be thinking about adopting some of the ideas from the third parties. Further, any vote for a third party encourages the founding of new third parties, with valuable new ideas.
The potential for positive change in America exists. What we must do is create a climate in which these ideas will come to the fore in public discussion, and find implementation as social policy. Third parties can meet this vital need.
Therefore, here are two suggestions for you to consider:
1. Investigate the current third party candidates. Read their platforms and identify any promising ideas they have. In just doing this you will have broken free from the mind-conditioning of the two-party system. You will be actively contributing to making American a true democracy. Then, just consider voting for the candidate whom you would like to be president, not worrying about the issue of ‘throwing your vote away.’
2. Most of all — though this is really a separate issue — approach the election with a positive attitude. This shouldn’t be about whom you dislike or disagree with. It should be about developing positive vision of the future. Pay particular attention to noticing how the big-party candidates (and their buddies, the news media) try to manipulate public consciousness by eliciting anger and hatred — and then don’t oblige them.
Be the change you want see in the world!