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I’m Wasting My Vote… Please Join Me!

October 30, 2018

You have three candy bars in front of you. Two are giant-sized and one is fun-sized. Which do you pick? Would it make a difference if the two giant candy bars had some dog poop in them? Suddenly the small candy bar looks good, right?

Now let’s look at voting. If you’re a staunch Dem or Rep, fine, vote your conscience. If you are an independent but vote R or D because you don’t want to waste your vote, you are part of the problem.

We have the same problems we did decades ago. The two-party system has failed to solve any of them. We still have people in poverty, we still have a poor healthcare and education system. The old policies don’t just fail, they’ve never worked.

The divide between both parties is now extreme. And it’s you “no vote wasted” folks who are responsible.

The last presidential election had frightening choices. Our current governor’s race has bad choices. Things drift to the extremes because they think they can get away with it. And they’re right.

Political operatives look at the vote. Sure, no independent is going to win any time soon. But how many people voted independent? How many refused to go with the status quo?

If that’s a bigger-than usual number, if it is an expanding number, the parties would adjust, change their platforms, adapt.

Stubborn and Sad

But why bother if the independents don’t vote independent? You embolden them!

My vote went for a nice Longwood pastor who made it on the ballot. He hasn’t got a hope of winning, but I can’t vote for someone who will be a bad governor espousing bad policy, or on the GOP side, no policy at all.

Independents may not ever carry a race, but scare the parties enough and they’ll give us better candidates.

Waste your vote. Good may come of it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. kverdeck permalink
    October 31, 2018 7:37 am

    Look, yes, it stinks that we’re stuck with the current incarnation of a two-party system. You’re absolutely right that the parties have become more extreme and polarized over the past couple decades (though I would argue that the left hasn’t gone anywhere near as far in that direction as the right has gone in theirs). You’re correct that we should do something to moderate both parties, or at least recreate a stable center where bipartisanship can again be a thing, and reaching across the aisle isn’t so likely to get someone primaried by a more extreme and less compromising ideologue.

    But have you been paying attention? I mean really paying attention? The GOP has fully become the party of Trump, and have shown time and time again that beyond the occasional furrowed brow and concerned Tweet, they have zero intention of holding him accountable for anything. Maybe you agree with everything he does, maybe you don’t–but we should all agree that no ends are justified when the means are shredding our norms and demolishing the rule of law. Maybe you agree, to name one top-of-mind example, that birthright citizenship is a mistake–but do you think a Presidential fiat (enforced by an illegitimately packed SCOTUS) is the way to end it, given the precedent that would set? Which Clause or Amendment comes in for that treatment next? The 2nd, from a Democratic President fed up with the NRA? The 1st, from this one and his anti-media crusade?

    I would love to vote for a candidate instead of a party. Happily, in some of our races, I do like the cut of the Dem’s jib. But my main goal this year is to elect a Congress more likely to rein in the worst impulses and egregious abuses of Trump and his administration. Because if we don’t, I am gravely concerned about the future of the American experiment, and fairly well convinced it will end in a nightmare of corporate fascism with a hefty side of white ethno-nationalism. We’re already a lot further down that road than we ought to be. And yes, in practical terms a third-party vote is a wasted vote. It just is, as surely as water’s wet and the sky is (usually) blue. If it assuages your conscience, that’s one thing. But as a vote it is not at all useful.

    In short: Call me alarmist all you like, but this is simply not the year for a protest vote. It could be the last chance you get to cast one. I do want to be wrong about that. But this path we’re on, we’ve seen it before and we know where it leads.

  2. October 31, 2018 8:39 am

    As a Constitutionalist and Government-get-out-of-my-face Solutionist, I think the Democrats have always been extremists, and more so today. And I don’t even recognize the GOP, which isn’t so G anymore. While I think some things are good-ish, and like the idea of trying something different, Trump isn’t what I was thinking, and why I didn’t vote for him.

    I have no problem with birthright citizenship and if we can fix illegal immigration, it isn’t even a worry. I wasn’t thrilled with Obama’s EOs and don’t want Trump doing them either.

    If not now, when? It isn’t a protest vote, it’s a real vote for a better candidate.

    I’d guess we’re in for an empty suit Governor again (though Gilliam presents well, I don’t like his policies and suspect he can’t win due to this odd Trumpmania that escapes me). The vast majority of citizen GOPs will sway with the party. They don’t see alternatives right now.


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