A Facebook friend recently asked me about voting third party. Is it irresponsible? In help with this question, I asked my dad. He’s not only extremely politically aware, he’s a history professor, author and a lifelong progressive democrat. He has also been on my case about being more responsible since I was able to speak, so I thought he’d be the perfect person to ask about voting responsibly. Both of my parents voted for Bernie Sanders, yet neither bring themselves to vote for Hillary. My dad said he is probably not voting for the first time in his life. In essence, here’s what he said:
If you live in a solidly blue or red state, your vote for a third party candidate will NOT result in a president Trump. So vote for whoever you like. Hillary will still win in all blue states and Trump will win in most red states. Because Trump is so exceptionally vile, some traditionally red states like North Carolina are now “purple” where it’s more of a toss-up. But as dad said, if you live in a purple state, battleground state or swing state and you vote third party, your vote could result in…shudder…President Trump. So if you’re in one of these battleground states, hold your nose and vote for Hillary. She’s not as rotten as Trump, and at least she’s had experience. Experience in ruining people’s lives, but that’s another blog post. Please think very carefully about voting third party in a swing state.
The guys in this Young Turks segment claim that Hillary is on her way to such a landslide that it’s even more important to vote third party. Because a landslide would give Clinton a mandate to keep on moving to the center. She’s currently running ads to get mormon votes. Gays, remember who funded Prop 8 to deny gay marriage in California? Mormons! Hillary dropped climate change from her speeches as soon as she got Bernie’s endorsement. Then she reads a poll about how she still isn’t getting the millennial votes so she gets Al Gore to campaign for her since he’s associated with climate change. First of all, most millennials don’t know who Al Gore or what he’s associated with. Secondly, Hillary: did you ever dream that the way to convince millennials that you care about climate change…I know this is radical….is to actually care about climate change and not sell fracking around the world and waffle on the Keystone pipeline? No, honesty doesn’t occur to her campaign very often.
The fact is, there’s been a tremendous ideological split in the democratic party or we wouldn’t be discussing third parties. A virtually unknown Independent billing himself as a democratic socialist with little cash named Bernie Sanders won 21 states and sent Hillary limping to the convention. So much so that she adopted 1/2–2/3rds of his platform in order to make her own republican lite platform seem more palatable to voters and siphon off some of Bernie’s enthusiasm. (After dismissing Bernie’s platform as pie-in-the-sky, she then turns around and adopts most of that pie.) Now Hillary supporters are naively crowing that this is the most progressive democratic platform ever, but a party’s platform can be shredded as soon as Hillary is elected. There’s nothing binding about a party’s platform and Clinton is a notorious flip-flopper. She likes to milk Elizabeth Warren’s and Sanders’ endorsements for progressive cred, but she’s already chosen a VP and a transition chief who are pro-TPP. That’s the dirty, job-killing trade deal Obama is pushing. If you don’t know about the TPP, maybe you’re too uninformed to vote, since it’s concrete proof that democrats and republicans both serve corporate masters and not the people. They all may claim they want to bring jobs back, but then why are so many leaders in both parties actively seeking to destroy an estimated 450,000 jobs with the TPP? Bill Clinton’s NAFTA trade deal sent 1 million manufacturing jobs overseas. Hillary claims to oppose the TPP, but she’s lying and everyone knows it since she publicly advocated the TPP many times and even called it a “gold standard” of trade deals while Secretary Of State. Trump’s schtick of a rich guy who will run the country like a business has appealed to blue collar types who aren’t doing well financially. But if he’s going to run the country like a business, he’s going to send labor to countries like Vietnam, where the minimum wage is a little over a dollar per hour. That’s capitalism for you–caring more about profits even if it shafts workers. So I don’t believe that Trump opposes the TPP any more than Hillary does.
Hillary had to conspire with the DNC to cheat Sanders, and the DNC fired the disgraced Debbie Wassermann Schultz and then apologized to the Sanders campaign. They had the nerve to state in this bullshit apology:
“On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic party for inexcusable remarks made over email. These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not — and will not — tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates.”
But these comments DO represent the values of the DNC, because they DID screw Sanders. He accepted their apology and now supports Hillary Clinton. Bernie always said he’d do this, but many of us wished he would have broken away and run as an Independent. For some of us, we’re done with democrats in their current neoliberal incarnation. Obama campaigned as a progressive and failed us miserably. Hillary is the candidate of war and Wall Street–nothing progressive there. There is no party representing working Americans among the two major parties. Trump wants tax cuts for the wealthy, which helps no one but the so rich they need no help. And Hillary is backed by the financial giants which crashed our economy and created the housing bubble burst. Unless you’re a member of the 1%, neither party works for you. You can’t afford their services.
As far as Gary Johnson, libertarians and the far left agree on some issues. Progressives don’t want war on principle, libertarians don’t want the government to foot the bill for war. Progressives want LGBT rights on principle, libertarians want the government to butt out of people’s affairs. But if you were a Sanders supporter who now supports Johnson, you need to realize that democratic socialism calls for higher taxes and a bigger government with more services for the needy and bolstering Social Security, moving towards state-run health care and affordable college. Libertarians, almost a wing of fiscally conservative republicans, want tiny government which spends nothing. So the two may overlap on some issues, but they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum. So if you’re a Bernie voter who now backs Johnson, you aren’t voting on the issues.
I’m supporting Jill Stein, because her polices most closely represent the policies of Bernie Sanders. I hear the term protest vote thrown around a lot. In my mind, a protest vote would be voting for Trump because you hate Hillary. I do not recommend this, though this Young Turks video suggests it briefly as a strategy. Voting third party is not a protest vote–it’s voting for the candidate who reflects your values when the two major parties fail you. If you value peace, then you can’t vote for Hillary or Trump. Make no mistake: Jill Stein will never win. There was one interesting meme which suggested that if all former Bernie supporters and students saddled with insane debts banded together and voted for Jill, she would win. That’s a pipe dream. But if she gets 5% of the votes, the Green Party will get matching funds from the government in the next election and that will help get whoever their nominee’s message out there. Some people are so blind that they see this as a horse race and just want to be on the winning team, or think they need to vote for one of the two major parties. Maybe they don’t know about third party candidates, since the news seldom covers anything but Trump’s shocking comments. It is not always about winning. It’s about building a third party which represents the values Clinton and Trump left behind. If you can’t look at these two horrible frontrunners in the major parties and see that we need more choices right now, get your eyes checked. I didn’t leave the democratic party, they left me. So this lifelong democrat has been forced to look elsewhere.
From Jill Stein’s FB page:
Voting Green is a smart strategic vote.
Our ultimate goal is to win the election. But even if we don’t, earning at least 5 percent of the popular vote has huge benefits in THIS election.
The political establishment isn’t worried about protest votes—otherwise they’d have attacked roughly half of Americans who are protesting the system by not voting at all or those who are voting for either Donald or Hillary out of fear of the other.
The elites attack Greens instead, because they’re worried millions of people will invest their votes in building a party that puts people, planet and peace over profits.
I tweeted something about Jill Stein recently and someone tweeted back angrily that they’d never support her because of her stance on vaccines. This person was autistic and felt insulted by Jill. Hey, it’s your vote. I find it hard to believe that her position on vaccines alone would outweigh everything else from the economy to foreign policy to unaffordable healthcare and college, but it’s their vote and we’re all free to use ours as we see fit. I’m sure that a veteran who was injured in service and has had difficulty getting in to see the doctor will vote based on what politicians are saying about that. A female friend told me that abortion rights were here #1 issue in any election. We all have different issues which matter to us most. Mine is peace, so a vote for Hillary is impossible for me. Don’t allow people who can accept the lesser of two evils stop you from building a party which isn’t evil. A party which is beneficial to people and to the planet.
When you think of the Green Party’s essence, a healthy and harmonious planet, the environment alone trumps every other issue. Bernie was mocked after one debate in which he answered that the biggest threat national security faced was climate change. Not ISIS. Not Russia. For this, he was widely mocked in the media, even though the Pentagon agrees with Bernie and has been working on this oncoming catastrophe for years. Imagine the battles we’ll face when it’s boiling hot outside and there’s no clean water to drink which we can afford. To me, going Green is completely responsible in a solid blue state like NY. We have to do something about climate change now. Experts estimate that it will be too hot, by 2085, to even hold the Summer Olympics outside. You don’t defile the only planet you have to live on because you’re too greedy to force companies responsible for the emissions to lose some profit or invest in clean energy. People always like to use that old analogy of german youth asking their parents what they were doing while the monstrous Hitler was on the rise. In a few generations, kids will ask their parents “Why didn’t you get actively involved with halting global warming?” If your answer was “Because I was so horrified by an 11 year old Access Hollywood audio in which a sexual predator brags about grabbing women’s pussies that I voted for a proven liar who will never address climate change meaningfully and is already angling for war,” you’re going to feel like a fool. Jill Stein and Mother Earth are two women I can support without hesitation.
There is another option. Surprisingly, that’s the option my dad is taking and far from being irresponsible, it’s a time-honored tactic. Around 50% of Americans don’t vote anyway, but I assumed that’s out of apathy. I spoke with three friends and none intend to vote at all because they don’t feel they have a horse in this race, dislike both Hillary and Trump too much to cast a vote for them, or have just been so turned off to politics because of our news’ slanted, sensational coverage. But not voting is also a way of proclaiming that since no candidate represents my views, I refuse to legitimize the rotten system propping two losers up with my vote.
WHY I’M NOT VOTING by Lara M. Gardner
How can you possibly give him the chance at the presidency?” someone will say to me, wringing their hands in desperation and fear. I shrug and tell them what I believe to be true: Mr. Trump has no chance of winning. He never did. He is a foil to drive the likes of you to the polls to ensure that you vote in order to maintain the legitimacy of this government so that it can continue what it has been doing and will do as long as you allow it by voting. Bernie Sanders wasn’t enough to get enough of you there. It took the likes of Trump to ensure those who would not have touched Hillary Clinton with a 100 foot pole will vote for her in November. He ensures your participation and consent.
So many have said to me that not voting is not going to change anything and that it is simply giving up. I disagree with this. Not voting is a legitimate non-violent means to proving a government is not sanctioned by its people. South Africa endured many years of violence under the Apartheid regime. Many people and countries worldwide boycotted Apartheid, yet in spite of this, the US government insisted on supporting Apartheid, saying that while the US abhorred Apartheid, the regime was the legitimate government of South Africa. After an Apartheid election where no more than seven percent of South Africans voted, suddenly things changed. The world could no longer accept that the regime was legitimate because so few of the governed participated in the election process.
It is a common argument by those who believe I should vote that not voting is doing nothing, yet I do not believe that this is true. It is withdrawing my sanction of people who can’t be held accountable after devastating the economy. It is refusal to consent to wars that have resulted in the murder of millions of innocents so that a few may profit. Voting in this country means that I am allowing the government on my behalf to operate for major corporations and the super wealthy, not individual citizens. I am not doing nothing in not voting, I am making an active choice to stop legitimizing our government. If I am doing something that is self-destructive or hurts others, I am going to stop doing it. Voting in this system is self-destructive and hurts others so I stopped doing it.
The argument that holds the least weight with me is that if I don’t vote, then only bad guys like Trump will win. When do the good guys ever win? I voted and Obama won. I could write ten pages describing all of the things that Obama has done that I find reprehensible, from murdering citizens without due process, to expanding the rights of Presidents to make it even easier to use lethal force abroad without congressional approval, to appointing officials who were part of the prior administration and helped to tank the economy.
Choosing not to vote is not actively fighting, but withholding consent. This has the result of delegitimizing a government that does not represent your interests. It demonstrates that this government does not have the consent of the governed. It is a legal, non-violent, effective means of non-compliance. Non-compliance can take other forms such as not paying taxes (illegal) or creating alternative systems, but these do not delegitimize the government. Since governments derive their powers from consent of the governed, withholding consent is the only non-violent, legal means to delegitimize a government that fails to represent us.”
READ MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5804384be4b06f314afeb725?timestamp=1476712053671
Some friend was forwarding a meme which stated something like “I’m voting third party because I want to be the most popular person on Facebook.” Actually, that strategy is a clear failure. Most democrats including almost all of my friends, are forced to hold their noses and vote for Hillary because of Trump, aren’t too thrilled with the situation. And they are well aware of Hillary’s many shortcomings, since a majority of democrats don’t even see her as trustworthy. So democrats, aware of her many flaws, lash out at people who can think outside the box and have actually done research on alternative candidates. “Remember Ralph Nader!”, they’ll scold. Or “The time to start a third party is not now” or “You need to start a third party from a local level” is what they’ll shame you with. They assume that they ARE being practical and avoiding the chaos of Trump. I understand that way of thinking since most of my fiends share it, and plenty of Bernie supporters are going that way. But in my mind, we are already in crisis. You can’t be practical without acknowledging how fucked we are. And Hillary is promising only to carry on Obama’s weak legacy and take things further to the middle. Blacks are being shot by police who get off with no charges. Banks rip us off but never go to jail. The middle class is dying as we all become the working poor. People can’t afford to retire. Both head of households work full-time and still qualify for food stamps. Corporations control our government. The infrastructure is crumbling. Obamacare merely made a crappy healthcare system more affordable. We never left the wars Obama promised to leave and Hillary will start fresh ones. We’re doing irreversible damage to the climate. That crisis to avert is not merely Trump, but to change the path which is currently failing us. And Hillary’s more-of-the-same approach signals worse crisis to come. So it is not irresponsible to look for third party candidates. Especially in a solidly red or blue state.
When all is said and done, we have the right to vote for the candidate of our choice without being bullied. And for democrats outraged by this, try not sitting quietly by while your party nominates a lying, flip-flopping hawk to head up the party some of us have campaigned for and donated to for decades–then we won’t be forced to look elsewhere. Try not expressing outrage against Trump’s calls of a rigged election when the DNC conspired to rig it’s own primary against Bernie. This makes your outrage sound hollow. According to the NY Times, only 9% of Americans make up the registered democrats and republicans who nominated Clinton and Trump. For the rest of us looking at this shit show wondering “How the hell did this happen to us?”, third parties are a legitimate way to seek a way out of this mess. Jill Stein and building an alternative party is my way out. Maybe Gary Johnson or writing Bernie Sanders in is yours. Or not voting at all. But we have every right to vote for whoever represents us or this isn’t a free country.