> There's so far very little evidence that the small number of
> people who have voted for a third party candidate in a U.S.
> presidential election have altered the actual policies of any of
> the major candidates, at least in recent times. It's altered
> rhetoric to some degree, sure, but very little else.
That's fair, if subjective. I think it has mattered quite a bit:
even as little as 12 years ago, the word "libertarian" was never
heard on any media despite some small success. Today, all reporters
know who we are and what we stand for--even those who only use the
word in a derogatory way. Political internet sites are pretty
universal in including us as well, and that would have been a lot
harder to achieve without being able to point to real polling
results. It's easy for such a site to dismiss a minor candidate,
but it's a lot harder to justify them excluding a party that's
been on every ballot for 12 years, and with a 20-year history of
elected officials in office across the country.
> In any event, the first question about the purpose of voting is
> about the nature of the problem we seek to solve with our vote:
> is it formal, or substantive? That is, is the problem the (de
> facto) two party system, or is the problem that there is a
> PARTICULAR candidate we want elected who is better than those of
> either of the Big Two parties?
> You seem to think it's the latter. I think it's the former. (I
> also think the latter is a problem; and you probably also think
> the former is a problem to some degree.)
Certainly--and the two-party system is not just de facto, it is
also quite de jure with plenty of legal barriers to ballot access
for third parties in many states, and discriminatory funding.
> In my view, the goal is 1) to elect the best of the viable
> options, with respect to particular issues that matter
> (stem-cell research, etc.); and, FAR more importantly, 2) to
> elect somone who will increase the odds that the two-party
> system will (eventually) break down, in order that the
> conditions for the solution to the SUBSTANTIVE problem will
> finally come about.
If that's possible, I can't argue with that goal--my vitriol is
directed at those (all-too-common) reporter who think one should
_always_ vote for a viable candidate, not those for who such a
vote might be rational for other reasons.
Yes, I too have even voted for one of the big two on some very
rare occasions--for example, in the last California gubernatorial
primary (which was an open primary that everyone knew would be
ignored by the parties) I voted for Republican candidate Dennis
Peron, author of our medical marijuana initiative. This was to
send a message about what I consider the most important issue, and
I thought that message might be better served by that vote than by
one for my own party. I can also imagine some very close races
where one of the major candidates is much more tolerable than the
other might justify using a vote to prevent a really bad choice
from happenning. The final governor's race was that close,
polling as a dead heat until the last moment (but alas, both
major candidates were so repulsive I had no preference).
But in all of those cases, I am expressing a genuine preference
with a vote that I expect to be heard, not just blindly following
the crowd and picking the best of the viable ones. Worst of all
is voting for a viable candidate when the result is already known.
> > A voter who chooses to
> > shirk that duty by hiding his true prefence
> > among a sea of conformity, despite there being
> > no possible benefit to him or anyone else in
> > doing so, is not worthy of respect.
> Hm.... okay, well, I suppose there's little point in discussing
> this further then.
If you think I'm non-persuadable just because I'm vocal, you are
mistaken. I commit my life to my beliefs, but that doesn't mean I
can't commit my life to different ones tomorrow if I'm persuaded by
-- Lee Daniel Crocker <email@example.com> <http://www.piclab.com/lee/> "All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past, are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:11:35 MDT