Why Vote Third-Party?
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[An updated version of “Why Vote Third-Party?” is here on my main website. (April 2015)]
For busier readers, here is the argument in outline form. The original article, slightly longer, follows. After that are links of interest.
- Today we effectively have a staged elections, in which the Establishment (a.k.a. the System, the power elite, the military-industrial-banking-oil-media-complex), presents two status quo (Republican and Democrat) candidates.
- To prevent voters from voting for a non-Establishment (e.g., an independent, Libertarian or Green Party) candidate, the Establishment uses a divide-and-conquer strategy: (1) choose Republican/Democrat platform issues that polarize voter opinion as closely as possible to a 50/50 split; (2) have horrible, frightening candidates for both parties; (3) by this means, manipulate 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 for news media focus on these issues so as to maximally inflame emotions.
- As a result, virtually everyone (98% in the 2012 presidential election) votes for the Democrat or Republican candidate, maintaining the Establishment power elite. Nothing changes: wars, poverty, bad economy, no jobs, poor quality of life, continued erosion of values and morale. Wealth transfer continues from citizens to corporate owners.
- Nomination of horrible Republican and Democrat candidates also means many voters will simply not vote, which again works in the Establishment’s favor.
- The racket will continue as long as it works; it will stop working when a substantial proportion of Americans vote for independent or third-party candidates.
- Voting for the Democrat or Republican candidate cannot be justified on the principle of choosing the lesser evil. Regardless of which mainstream candidate is elected, the short-term (say, 4 to 6 years) outcome will be more or less the same. Nothing much will change as long as the two big parties, and the same Establishment interests they represent, control our country. But voting for independent or third-party candidates now will potentially hasten the arrival of a time — perhaps 10–20 years hence — when we do have a real choice, and real issues. Thus, the genuine ‘lesser evil’ choice is to vote for a non-Establishment, even though one knows that the candidate won’t be elected.
- Voting for an independent or 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.
- Even though they represent the same vested interests, there is enough rivalry between the Democratic and Republican parties that, if third parties receive a sufficient proportion of the vote, they will begin to modify their platforms, making more concessions to citizens.
- Further, voting for third-party presidential candidates will help third parties reach the critical threshold of 5% of the popular vote — at which point they will qualify for public campaign funding assistance.
Every nation gets the government it deserves. ~ Joseph de Maistre
Deserve better! Resist demagogy! Fight back!
Why Vote Third-Party
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.
- Voting as Constructive Idealism: Why Principles Do Matter More than Winning
- The Prisoners’ Dilemma and Third-Party Voting
- Third-Party Voting and Kant’s Categorical Imperative
- The Lions and the Tigers (A Political Parties Fable)
- The Commission on Presidential Debates: A National Scandal
Other Contemporary Articles
- Essays About Third Parties
- The Myth of the Wasted Vote – Charles L. Hooper
- 3rd Parties: What They’re For and What They Do – Rick Gaber
- Vote Third Party – Vote For Change!
- George Washington’s “most solemn” warning on the baneful effects of the spirit of party, from his Farewell Address
- William Ellery Channing (1780–1842) on the perils of the partisan spirit
- Free and Equal – Election reform to end partisan duopoly
- Independent Political Report – Frequently updated source for third-party news
- Open Debates – Open the presidential debates to third-party candidates
- OpenSecrets – Money in politics: see who’s giving
- Resources for Third Parties and Third-Party Candidates
Third Party Websites
- Constitution Party
- Green Party
- Libertarian Party
- Peace and Freedom Party
- Prohibition Party
- Reform Party
- Socialist Party