Might as well not even vote?

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penquin
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Might as well not even vote?

Postby penquin » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:24 am

(per request, this discussion about voting for a non-Democratic or non-Republican candidate has been moved to its own thread)

Cadfael wrote:...the same as not voting...

Weather Bob wrote:I think Cadfael is basically correct. Voting for Stein, or Johnson, or writing in "Lizard People" or your own name or whatever, is pretty much equivalent to not voting.

DCB wrote:Almost entirely equivalent.
...in some small, indirect way, voting for Stein spared us the drama of an extended recount. But other than that, completely pointless.


Voting for a candidate in this election helps their political party receive ballot-access in the next one. How does staying at home and not voting help accomplish that?

If candidates receive a certain amount of votes, they qualify for matching campaign funds. How does not voting help those candidates reach that threshold?

By casting a vote for a "third" party rather than either of the two main ones, it sends a strong message to both political parties that you're not satisfied with either of 'em but still engaged enough to show up at the polls. It's this kind of energy/movement which has brought many "fringe ideas" into the mainstream - from Woman's Suffrage to Prohibition (and the repeal of Prohibition) - and I fail to understand how that same message can be sent by sitting at home on election day.

I also beleive that media coverage and access to televised debates would be increased for these alternative parties if more people would start casting votes for 'em, and don't see how that will be accomplished by folks deciding to not vote at all.


As I often said, it's a marathon not a sprint and I understand how some folks aren't able to see the long-game. But history has shown that voting for so-called "third parties" can bring major changes - this idea that doing so is the same as not voting is simply wrong.

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby DCB » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:34 am

Thanks for moving this to a separate thread. I have a lot of thoughts on this.

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby DCB » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:44 am

Voting for a candidate in this election helps their political party receive ballot-access in the next one. How does staying at home and not voting help accomplish that?


That's correct as far as it goes. But it doesn't change the electoral outcome. A million people vote for Party X candidate in 2016, that candidate loses; 1.5 million people again vote for Party X candidate in 2020, who also loses.

As a long-term strategy to actually win an election, this has several problems. First, it is contingent on convincing some minimum number of other voters to also follow this strategy. And it also means giving up direct influence on multiple elections over several years. Assuming this strategy is ever going to work.

But it probably isn't going to work.

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby DCB » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:02 pm

The biggest problem with this strategy is that it assumes that Party X is actually operating as a political party - organizing, campaigning, developing policies etc. Otherwise, this will go nowhere.

I don't much about the Libertarian party. But they seem like the only 'third party' that has any kind of national organization. So maybe you could pin your hopes on them someday getting some traction, assuming you're willing to wait decades, and also that you agree with their policies.

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby Donald » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:21 pm

The problem I see with third party voting at this time (maybe not in other circumstances) is that it is essentially an exercise in white privilege. People, especially people of color, but also poor whites, are under threat from actions by one major party with fascist tendencies. The other major party, while it may not support everything I believe in, is not fascist and is not out to further cripple racial minorities, women and the poor and middle class. To worry about things like ballot access for a party that can muster few supporters seems largely out-of-touch with the reality that most people are facing.

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby jman111 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:31 pm

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good.

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:34 pm

Without winning elections on the local and state level, no third party candidate has much of a chance winning at the national level.

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby Paleo2 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:09 pm

DCB wrote:The biggest problem with this strategy is that it assumes that Party X is actually operating as a political party - organizing, campaigning, developing policies etc. Otherwise, this will go nowhere.

I don't much about the Libertarian party. But they seem like the only 'third party' that has any kind of national organization. So maybe you could pin your hopes on them someday getting some traction, assuming you're willing to wait decades, and also that you agree with their policies.


Ralph Nader has said the Green Party completely blew their chance to organize after his campaign and turn into a real party.

Of course, the fact that the Green “Party’s” major accomplishment was keeping the most environmentally friendly politician out of the White House and helping elect one of the worst presidents in American history probably hurt the Green “Party” in their quest to organize.

Otherwise my biggest complaints about the Green Party are:
It isn’t green,
It’s not a party.

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby DCB » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:07 am

Ralph Nader has said the Green Party completely blew their chance to organize after his campaign and turn into a real party.

Nader is correct in a very limited sense. Was his goal really to build a functioning party? Then using his name recognition to run a vanity campaign that was bound to fail seems pretty stupid in retrospect. Especially when his attitude seems to be "I did my part, now its up to everyone else to do the boring stuff".

He could have used his name recognition to recruit candidates for State legislatures or even some House races across the country. Some of them might have even won! That would have been a legitimate party building exercise.

Did Jill Stein use the 2016 campaign to build the Green Party? No, she used it to raise money for herself and some cronies.

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby Igor » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:30 pm

I'm not foolish enough to think we will get an organized third party - I just wish that independent third candidates had barriers removed from them. The reality is that in some areas, a third candidate would be a moderate choice between the others; in Dane County, they would be more likely to the left of the Dem candidate. No party is going to coalesce around that.

I have probably voted third party for president more than any other choice, and the only campaign I worked on was for John Andersen. My views on issues are rarely matched by a candidate in either party. This last cycle, on the "who should you vote for" surveys, my best matches were Bernie and Santorum, both of whom just cleared 60%. But in the 2016 general, I'm presented with a (D) that I don't agree with, and an (R) that I also don't agree with, and whom is also an idiot. So third party it was.

Of course I got lectured by social media friends about that vote. But in the words of my mother, who would normally vote (R) because of pro-life issues: "If he loses by one vote you can stop by that night and blame me".

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby gargantua » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:41 pm

No offense to your mother, but she seems to be saying that your vote doesn't matter unless a candidate loses by one vote.

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby gozer » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:49 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:Without winning elections on the local and state level, no third party candidate has much of a chance winning at the national level.


and having a ballot line helps with the state offices at least . . . the journey of 5000 km begins with one step . ..

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby Paleo2 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:34 pm

Even the Progressive Dane Party had more electoral success than many of the “national” third parties.

At least they organized from the ground up. They just had a few road bumps when they actually had power for a while.

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby gozer » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:51 pm

Paleo2 wrote:Even the Progressive Dane Party had more electoral success than many of the “national” third parties.

At least they organized from the ground up. They just had a few road bumps when they actually had power for a while.


from what i have seen, the p d c & fellow travellers' organising strategy has been remarkable and helped the cause immensely. from what i can tell, ideological orthodoxy and and similar problems have been their partial undoing as well, as it always is, given that in many cases inflexible ideologues and the like are a well-known species of stupid, and stupid is as stupid does, as the kids say . . .

what kind of connexion if any does p d c have to black lives matter? it is actually rather important, with b l m being a major segment of the xxi. century movement for the civil rights and an inspiration to movements with a similar format such as the xican@, other hispanic citizens' and native american/first nations civil rights movements and others.

p d c were the folks who absorbed the labour & farm party and a couple of smaller ones and perhaps some community organisations as well, correct? or was there another intermediate organisation for a short time like the peace & freedom party? . . . this was after the november 1992 election and what got it going was a very strong second-place finish for long time l f p /p l a activist and madison school board member and erstwhile mayoral candidate (1987?) mary kay baum for the open general assembly seat in the lxxviii. district downtown, which went to then-dane county supervisor and now congressperson tammy baldwin . . . the other candidate being a republican who got 18 per cent of the vote in the general election.

p d c and the statewide organisation actually kept the l f p -p l a ballot line -- with a name change -- for at least four more years by fielding a very good candidate for state treasurer who got a little over three per cent of the vote statewide where one percent was the threshold, at least it was back then . . .

in summary, p d c and the state level folks did a decent job for an organisation ostensibly opposed not only by the republican and u s taxpayers and libertarian parties, but also an entire axis of factions within the county and state democratic parties as well as other factions . . . and, if i remember correctly, the green party at that time continued working alongside p d c to the extent they could, and back then some members were trying out the what would become the semi-official democratic party critique of the 2000 election for president. the greens, of course, not only put up the candidate but also, to the best of my knowledge and belief, did not display the same peevishness and sense of entitlement to green votes that the democratic party showed about the nader candidature and the end results. my reason for writing in h r c & lieberman in 2000 was that i was still furious about gore going up to québec in 1995 and slinging his organically well-fed arse around and making threats in the days leading up to the 30. october 1995 plebiscite* . . .

time for the political organisers, pundits &c within the democratic party to be more circumspect about frustration with the nader situation turning into bashing fellow progressives, liberals, socialists and syndicalists of all stripes, environmentalists, trade unionists, farmers, and moderates . . . especially given that something like 10 to 18 per cent of sanders voters stayed home in november or handed in undervoted ballots and anywhere from 23 to 38 per cent voted for trump.

another thing of the same sort.
another.
another.
damn.
damn.
damn†


---
* so how is this acceptable to anyone wanting to nail people for colluding with russia? in any case doesn't it further the cause of peace if only a little bit? cold war nostalgia, anti-slavonic proclivities -- where did it start and where does it end? it is sort of like a snake swallowing its own tail, u dig? far be it from me to say that agent orange should get a nobel prize for pumping down the volume, yet i believe was the reasoning behind the one that b h o got in 2009 . . .
† props to the broadcaster formerly known as garrison keillor . . .

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Re: Might as well not even vote?

Postby DCB » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:00 pm

Igor wrote:I'm not foolish enough to think we will get an organized third party - I just wish that independent third candidates had barriers removed from them.

I agree that there are unfair and unnecessary barriers. But I don't think voting alone is going to change that.
Igor wrote:I have probably voted third party for president more than any other choice, and the only campaign I worked on was for John Andersen.
The question posed in this thread is - why even bother voting?


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