Voting 3rd Party

Disclaimer: This is not an academic publication, so I frequently am rather lax about citing sources. In this instance, however, I don’t want to cite a source, I want to cite someone else who has similar views to myself, Scott Santens. He has written up his reasons for voting 3rd party in the US: Scott Santens’ Third Party Article.

Okay. This year, if Kasich or Trump wins the GOP nomination, and Hillary wins the Democrat nomination, I plan to campaign very, very, hard for Bernie or (if he has begged off from running and seems low on support) for Dr. Jill Stein.

Conventional wisdom, however, says that a vote for a candidate who lacks Republican or Democrat support, is wasted. You are throwing your vote away. Here is why I, personally, believe that this is not true.

First point: it may not be entirely accurate in itself. That is, I believe, with the substantial number of independents (many of whom are sick of ‘establishment candidates’), as well as the substantial number of Democrats who are sick of centrists running for their party (and sick of establishment candidates), that we could actually see a victory by a third party candidate. But only if enough people who usually support the Democrats as the lesser of two evils decide that they will go out on a limb and support a third party candidate.

Second point: even if it fails, it sends a strong message to the DNC. Okay, this will take more explanation. Conventional wisdom in American politics is that Republicans are right-wing, Democrats are left-wing, and to win, a candidate needs to appeal to the ‘moderate’ centre. This ignores the fact that in Europe, the Democrats would be considered fairly far right-wing. But more importantly, it ignores the fact that there may be many, many, left-wingers out there, who don’t bother voting because no matter whom they vote for, they know that they will be voting for a corporate right-wing puppet. The best president we have had in decades is president Obama, who was a big improvement, but who still refused to push for decriminalizing marijuana, refused to push for Single Payer Healthcare (which most industrialized nations take for granted), and so on – in other words, someone who refused to push for things that even ‘right-wingers’ in other countries are committed to keeping. Now, the reason, pundits tell us, is because the Democrats need to appeal to the ‘centrists,’ who are really the ‘not-quite-as-extreme-right-wingers,’ in the US. But do they really?

If Hillary wins the DNC nomination, I want to push for a more liberal third party candidate. Maybe that candidate will lose. But if that candidate gets a substantial vote at all, it sends the message to the DNC that they can, and should, look to go more liberal, if they want to win more support – that going centrist costs them support, rather than being a net gain for them. I don’t want to live in a nation where the two political parties keep thinking that one can go extremely to the right, and the other will have to go mostly right, just to grab up enough votes in the centre. I want to send a message that the loss of the ‘liberal’ (in practice, right-centre) party is because it is not liberal. I want to send a message to the Democrats, that it is time for them to either vacate the stage, or become real progressives. For that reason, I say ‘Hill No!’ and ‘Bernie or Bust!’ (or Dr. Jill Stein, if Bernie is a hopeless cause).

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