I was going to write an essay on the subject of third-party voting, but I don’t have too much time or patience to waste on debunking fallacies and obfuscations propagated by liars and imbeciles. But in the spirit of Martin Luther and Karl Marx, here are a few theses on the topic:
- It’s perverse, to say the least, that opponents of third-party votes castigate third-party candidates and voters for “spoiling” elections, when third-party voters are doing exactly what voting and elections are ostensibly designed for. If anyone “spoils” our democracy, it’s perpetual, reflexive apologists for powerful mainstream politicians.
- “Realpolitik” is not German for “constantly grabbing your ankles.”
- Speaking of Germany, many Americans are unaware that the political system of East Germany comprised multiple parties. The votes in the Volkskammer, however, were consistently unanimous, with one notable exception: the vote on liberalizing abortion laws. Should East German dissidents have worked within the system so as to have a voice on an important issue like abortion? Our two major parties certainly differ on more than one issue, but for every area of disagreement, there are at least several where they agree, usually to the detriment of the majority of Americans and human beings. (One has only to watch the third Obama-Romney joint appearance* to appreciate this fact.)
- It’s downright Orwellian to claim, as some Obama supporters do, that whites (or, for added effect, white males) who oppose Obama due at least in part to his complicity in the operation of a prison state that disproportionately affects minorities, his embrace of “war on terror” civil liberties violations that disproportionately affect nonwhite Muslims, his administration’s coziness with bankers who targeted minorities with predatory loans, and his brutal drone war on civilians in the Third World, are racist for doing so (note the truly racist/sexist refusal to acknowledge that there are minorities and women who hold the same views — their very existence is inconvenient to the lazy hacks who rely on this kind of cheap partisan smear). Anyway, that claim is too inane and devoid of logic even to require refutation, but it’s worth highlighting just as a reminder of how elections in the US are used to control opinion and limit debate — the very opposite of their intended and advertised purpose.
- Obama’s “kill list” and claimed assassination power are pretty much the most radical violation of the Constitution a president could engage in; what else would he have to do to lose your vote? Start drone-bombing US citizens inside the United States? Own slaves? Open a concentration camp on US soil? There’s at least one individual out there who has actually argued that if Obama promised to build fewer concentration camps than Romney, it would be “morally repugnant” to vote for a third party. That is, the people who voted for no concentration camps would be responsible for the additional concentration camps constructed if the more-camps candidate won. How much more twisted can you get? Is our society this morally degraded? FUCK.
- Making the third-party movement more viable, and demonstrating the existence of a bloc of dissident voters in order to affect the major parties’ politics, is a more crucial task, in that it’s more likely to effect real change, than helping one major-party candidate win over the other, and giving both of those parties a blanket license to get worse with each election cycle. This is obvious in non-swing states, but I would argue that it’s the case even in swing states, and necessarily so, because the major parties have to fear losing votes in swing states for the tactic to work. Of course there’s the risk that the major party with worse positions on some important issues could win, but if one major party believes they own your vote, you can’t count on anything but the most marginal, superficial, inconsequential effort from them on those issues anyway. Indeed, they’ll spend the primaries bankrolling the most frightening opponents they can find to terrorize you into voting for their candidate. If Todd Akin wins in Missouri, that’s the cost of doing business as far as Democrats are concerned. Somehow Democrats can get away with actually funding a guy who believes rape victims can’t get pregnant, and yet third-party supporters are “spoiling the election” by voting for candidates we actually believe in. If I were more pretentious, I would use words like “hegemonic ideology” to describe this double standard, but I’m not, so I’ll just say it’s fucking horseshit.
- In his last dual appearance with Romney, Obama said that the United States “remains the one indispensable nation.” This is the same kind of base, repugnant nationalism that killed tens of millions of people in the last century. I’m sure Obama supporters who know better than to actually believe this see it as merely an empty, pandering platitude, and accept it on that basis, as one of those things a politician just has to say to win an election. No. That’s absolutely, unequivocally the wrong answer. To accept that kind of “platitude” is to acquiesce to the fundamental pathology underlying the bellicose American mentality that has caused over a million deaths in the last decade alone. What does that even mean? America remains the one indispensable nation? Funny, human civilization got along fine without us for over 5000 years. So every other country is dispensable? Mozambique? Fuck ’em! Dominican Republic? What good are they? May as well nuke ’em! Italy? Who needs the Renaissance anyway? If you replace “America” with “Germany,” it sounds like a Goebbels line.
- Obama supporters love to start sentences with “I know he isn’t perfect, but…”. The issue is not that Obama “isn’t perfect.” Not by a long shot. It’s that many of his actions, probably the majority, are fucking indefensible. I don’t vote for bloodthirsty war criminals, I never have, and I’m not going to start now. Fuck you.
*I say “joint appearance” because I still value the English language enough to cringe at the prospect of abusing it by calling that event a “debate.”