Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Wasted Vote?

As I was driving today, I turned on KTLK, a conservative radio station just to see if they were talking about anything interesting. What I found was quite surprising. The Chris Baker show was on and he was talking about the Minnesota Senate race. He was talking about how he was going to vote for Dean Barkley, and that Coleman and Franken were not being fair to voters. The main concentration of their campaigns has been on whether or not Al Franken has paid his taxes. Neither candidate would appear on Baker’s show even once to answer questions for listeners. What I found even more interesting is that he is planning on voting for Bob Barr in the upcoming election. He dislikes McCain and of course is not an Obama fan. Someone called in and said it doesn’t matter if you like McCain or not, you have to vote for McCain because it is a vote against an Obama Presidency. But what Baker said, that I completely agree with and will be where I stand for as long as I live, is that we can’t know if a candidate has a chance to win because of this mindset. Barkley is polling in the high teens, but surely there are many who are not happy with Franken or Coleman who would vote for Barkley but believe it is a “wasted vote” or “taking votes away” from either Franken or Coleman. But really, if everyone voted for the candidate who they believed represented them best and did not consider everyone who tells them their vote is wasted, it takes away votes, etc. then there would be a significantly different turnout on election day. Polls have shown that many people are unhappy with both of the major candidates. So what allows the two big parties to keep a stranglehold on the election process? In part it is the belief that a vote for a third party candidate is a wasted vote for someone who has no chance for winning. Of course if everyone thinks like this third parties do not have a chance to win!

Personally, it is easy for me to defend my choice of voting third party. My vote for a third party member does not ‘take away a vote’ for McCain. My vote was never intended for John McCain! If it was, I would vote for him! But clearly there are huge differences in my political ideology and John McCain’s. So please, if someone tells you they are voting third party do not even try to tell them they are taking votes away: if their vote was intended for John McCain or Barack Obama, they would vote for them. By deciding not to, obviously they are not intending their vote for the two major party candidates. Anyone who votes third party should be proud of their vote; they are standing up and voting for the candidate they intend to vote for; not someone who will not represent their political beliefs.

If you are not happy with either of the major candidates, what makes you think you will be happy when one of them gets elected? And if you won’t be, then why would you support them through your vote? Consider the alternatives – You have a CHOICE:

Check out the third Party Campaign Sites

Libertarian Party - Bob Barr
Constitution Party - Chuck Baldwin
Independent - Ralph Nader
Green Party - Cynthia McKinney


mike said...

My least favorite argument is that a vote for Barkley is a vote for Franken. The logic behind that argument would suggest that a vote for Barkley is in fact at best half a vote for Franken, and in fact the only senerio where it would come into play is when the 3-3.5 million vote race is either a tie or exactly 1 vote deficit by the candidate you would otherwise have voted for.

Of course in that senerio you would get a recount with a randomly selected candidate winning by 212 votes.

To put it in other words for a 1 in a million chance by a lotterey ticket, but when voting support the candidate you actually support.

jpberthiaume said...

I think Dean Barkley is high enough in the polls and public spotlight to be considered a worthwhile vote. He is within range of having a chance to win. Jesse was probably around there or a little better a few weeks before the election.

In the presidential race, however, a vote for Baldwin does nothing. I mean, if you are going to go to the polls to vote for Barkley, you might as well vote for Baldwin over voting for no one, but I wouldn't go to the polls just to vote for Baldwin.

My contention about the wasted vote is that Obama is SO FAR from where you want to be, that you would be better off keeping the situation "at bay" for the time being so that it would buy you 4 years to get someone else ready for showtime. If Obama is elected he makes even Rudi look good in 4 years, someone who I couldn't even dream of voting for except that the alternative is so far out there it's scary.

No one is saying you would choose McCain over Baldwin or Paul. I am raising the question of whether you would rather have McCain or Obama. If the answer is "it doesn't matter," then don't vote or, when you do, vote for Baldwin. If you see a clear distinction between the two and that one is superior, you are doing yourself and your candidate a disservice when 2012 rolls around.

DC said...

Judd, if everyone voted like you there would never be third parties period. They would get zero votes, year after year. Every election cycle they would get no credibility because nobody voted for them. That sounds like a great plan to gain momentum...

If a third party got 10% of the vote in a presidential election, and they pushed hard the next four years to gain members, they may get 15-20% the year after that. Then they would gain more credibility.

Voting McCain in would only validate his standpoints more, and cause the two major parties to ignore factions of supporters (such as llibertarian leaning conservatives) because they know that in the end 'we'll still get their vote.'

It would be a disservice to my candidate to NOT vote for them.

So if McCain does win, then using your argument I would HAVE to vote for him again in four years when he's up for re-election because "the alternative is much worse." No, I won't do that. People are fed up with this charade as Ron Paul calls it.

Would I rather have McCain or Obama? I'd rather have Chuck Baldwin, and luckily the real ballot doesn't just have these two horrible candidates.

jrpeterson said...

As I see it, the American political system is set up for the two-party system. There are those of us who do not agree with the candidates that those two parties have chosen to run this year. I feel strongly that it is my duty to vote for who I believe in. The argument that I must choose McCain over Obama, because of a slight preference, is absurd. If I were a true conservative, I also would not be able to back McCain. Sean Hannity made a comment that Republicans could not just vote for McCain simply because he is better than Obama. Hannity's reasoning was that it was pushing the party too much towards the center of the political spectrum. Republicans could not simply throw away their ideology because McCain was better than Obama.

Luckily, I'm not a Republican and now support Chuck Baldwin for President. I will use the same argument that Hannity did though. I cannot vote for McCain simply because he aligns a bit better than Obama on my beliefs. I must stick to my ideology and vote for the person I truly want to see in office.

jpberthiaume, also as far as Barkley is concerned, Ventura had lower poll numbers than Barkley does now at this point before the election.