On Wasting Your Vote

A vote for a third party is a wasted vote. — Seemingly Everyone

Everyone will tell you that it is pointless to vote third party, since third party candidates never win (at least in national politics). Everyone will tell you that means you should choose one of the two frontrunners in any election, because one of them will win – and you want a say in which one, don’t you? If you disagree with both candidates, you are told to vote for the one who seems the least bad – vote for the lesser of two evils.

Everyone is wrong. The¬†lesser of two evils is still evil. A vote for the lesser of two evils is a vote explicitly in support of evil. Is that something you are willing to do? Is “keeping X out of the White House” really worth compromising your morals? And even if it is, is there even any point? What material differences are there between our two identical ruling parties? Yes, they each pander to a different demographic, but what tangible difference is there once they are elected?

In the past decade, Republicans had a majority in both houses of Congress, as well as the Presidency. Did they balance the budget? Did they reduce socialist welfare policies and foreign aid? Did they do anything to reduce or eliminate abortion? Why, why, why would you expect Mitt Romney to do any different now?

In the past decade, Democrats railed against the Republican war machine, lamenting all the civilians who were killed in unconstitutional wars, and protesting against the Orwellian PATRIOT Act. Barack Obama campaigned on a platform of ending all this senselessness, and the nation took to him as the great savior. Since he took office, he has advocated for increasing the reach of the PATRIOT Act and making it permanent (and he liked the additional power the NDAA gave him to act extrajudicially against American citizens), he has not ended or reduced our foreign war involvement (and has in fact increased our involvement and our likelihood of more of the same in future – see Libya, Syria, Iran). Guantanamo Bay is still active. Why, why, why would you expect a second Obama term to be different from this one?

The two ruling parties in the USA have no incentive to adhere to their promises. The American public are so rabidly divided as to spend all of their energies keeping the Other Guy from getting elected, and not actually thinking about what happens if their own guy does win. All that matters is avoiding the Bad Guy. Both parties know that even if they do get voted out, they will be back within a decade Рso why do the right thing when they are in power? 

The parties are nearly indistinguishable at this point. We have the warmongers with socialist tendencies on one side and the socialists with warmongering tendencies on the other, and they both think of YOU, the American citizen, as the enemy (see: USA PATRIOT Act, NDAA 2012).

Third parties, on the other hand, DO have incentive. Third parties have been advocating for their issues for decades without success, and they know that if they do by some miracle take a major office, they absolutely must take advantage of it immediately, for they are unlikely to get a second chance. They have no guarantee of eventual reelection or continuing relevance. In short, they will actually try to *do* something useful with their power. And, they have a legitimate claim to the faith of their constituents, since those voting for them are actually voting for them, and not against some “greater evil” candidate.

So I refuse to vote for evil. I refuse to waste my vote on a popularity contest non-choice. I applaud you if you vote third party — any third party — because you are voting for someone. You are trying to change the status quo, rather than just keep it from sliding any further into the mud. You are trying to make a positive difference in accordance with your political beliefs, and you are not content to keep doing the same thing, year after year, with the same privileged people spouting the same tired cliches.

And if you’re voting for Romney or Obama? I really wish you wouldn’t waste your vote like that.

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One Comment

  1. William
    Posted August 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    There are a bunch of voting systems and I think our current voting system for president might be a large factor in why third parties have such a hard time getting elected. I don’t really know the details of many of these but here is an interesting one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elimination_runoff

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