Third Party/Protest Voting (1 Viewer)

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    Optimus Prime

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    I posted this on the PDB and other than the names that will be involved in 2024 it holds up
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    We’re in the season of protest vote advocacy, with writers of all political stripes making arguments for third-party candidates (Jill Stein, Gary Johnson), write-in votes (Bernie Sanders, Rod Silva), or refusing to vote altogether (#NeverTrump, #BernieOrBust.)

    For all the eloquence and passion and rage in these arguments, however, they suffer from a common flaw: there is no such thing as a protest vote.

    The authors of these pieces rarely line up their preferred Presidential voting strategies — third-party, write-in, refusal — with the electoral system as it actually exists.

    In 2016, that system will offer 130 million or so voters just three options:

    A. I prefer Donald Trump be President, rather than Hillary Clinton.

    B. I prefer Hillary Clinton be President, rather than Donald Trump.

    C. Whatever everybody else decides is OK with me.

    That’s it. Those are the choices. All strategies other than a preference for Trump over Clinton or vice-versa reduce to Option C.

    People who believe in protest votes do so because they confuse sending a message with receiving one. You can send any message you like: “I think Jill Stein should be President” or “I think David Duke should be President” or “I think Park Eunsol should be President.”

    Similarly, you can send any message you like by not voting. You can say you are sitting out the election because both parties are neo-liberal or because an election without Lyndon LaRouche is a sham or because 9/11 was an inside job. The story you tell yourself about your political commitments are yours to construct.

    But it doesn’t matter what message you think you are sending, because no one will receive it. No one is listening. The system is set up so that every choice other than ‘R’ or ‘D’ boils down to “I defer to the judgement of my fellow citizens.” It’s easy to argue that our system shouldn’t work like that. It’s impossible to argue it doesn’t work like that...........

    People who plan to throw away their vote on Option C usually argue that their imagined protest won’t be futile, by offering one of three theories of change: their protest will work as a boycott, or as a defection, or as a step to third-party victory.

    The first theory of change, the boycott, assumes that if people simply refuse to vote, it will threaten the establishment with loss of legitimacy. This will in turn cause that establishment to become more responsive to the demands of the boycotters.

    Boycotts can work in countries where voting is mandatory, because not voting can be an act of civil disobedience. In the United States, however, voting is not and has never been required. (Our elites have always preferred minimal participation, and laziness is a cheaper tool than suppression.)

    In Presidential elections, non-voters always outnumber voters who choose the winning candidate. With that much passive non-participation, active non-participation gets lost...........

    The third theory of change from protest voting is the obvious one: outright victory. This has never happened. Third-party candidates come in third, for the obvious reason.

    In two centuries of American politics, only 54 such candidates have ever received over one vote in a hundred. None won, and the only second place loss, Teddy Roosevelt, had already been President twice, before he ran as an outsider against his hand-picked successor, William Taft.

    He failed at the election, but succeeded in splitting the Republican vote so badly a Democrat became President for the first time in twenty years.

    It’s clear why third-party candidates want votes, but it’s not clear why voters would want third parties. The Green Party, for example, hasn’t elected so much as a member of Congress, much less fielded a credible Presidential candidate, and their organization does no actual environmental work.

    Greenpeace helps the environment more in any given week than the Green Party has in its entire existence, a problem common to third parties generally.

    If you’re a Libertarian, you’re better off donating to Cato than voting for Gary Johnson. If you’re a paleoconservative, you’re better off donating to the Rockford Institute than voting for Darrell Castle........

    Throwing away your vote on a message no one will hear, and which will change no outcome, is sometimes presented as ‘voting your conscience’, but that’s got it exactly backwards; your conscience is what keeps you from doing things that feel good to you but hurt other people.

    Citizens who vote for third-party candidates, write-in candidates, or nobody aren’t voting their conscience, they are voting their ego, unable to accept that a system they find personally disheartening actually applies to them.................

     
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    It would be one thing if the EC did not exist. But it does. The other issue is the failure of approximately 40% of the electorate who doesn’t vote.
     
    It would be one thing if the EC did not exist. But it does. The other issue is the failure of approximately 40% of the electorate who doesn’t vote.

    and I've said it before, for a country that has turned politics into a national pastime 40% is shameful
     
    Seems like the 40% are showing their disapproval for the system the best way they know how.

    In reviewing Hitlers 33’ election win, Germany had a 88% voter turnout. I would kill to have a voter turnout above 70% let alone 88%.
     
    Two points. One, I think it should be noted that there should be a distinction between national, state and local politics. Third parties have had a degree of success at the state and local levels but it hasn't translated much for national elections.

    Name one 3rd party president in American history.....I'll save everyone the time....there's never been one, unless you want to count John Q. Adams as a 3rd party, but if you do a deep dive in the 1824 election, there was still an bifurcated ideological difference between all of the candidates.

    The latest incarnation of "vote 3rd party" reeks of the "BoTh SiDeS" narrative. Now, when the R Party was sane and offered candidates not batshirt crazy, I can see maybe a "protest" vote, but when American democracy is at stake, there's only one party I'm voting for all national positions until I see real evidence that the R Party is ready to purge itself of this latest version of toxic populism. The people who stormed the capitol on January 6th would probably turn me into a bar of soap if they get in complete control of this country by the simple fact that I'm not conservative and am a college professor. They're really not in touch with any sense of reality, or their values are so far different from mine that I would no longer really "fit" to be a citizen with full and equal rights (and I'm a older white dude, lol).

    So yes, I think if you vote 3rd party, you might well be spitting in the wind at the hope of affecting real change. The real issue is the EC and the constitutionally-mandated method of how presidents are elected.

    For a 3rd party to win the presidency, something catastrophic has to happen or have Constitutional change.

    Otherwise, hemming and hawing about the need for another 3rd party or voting 3rd party in a national election is pointless, because if it the American people really wanted a third party option, we wouldn't have a two-party system. Understandably, my position is pragmatic, but it's also based on American history.
     
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    Seems like the 40% are showing their disapproval for the system the best way they know how.

    In reviewing Hitlers 33’ election win, Germany had a 88% voter turnout. I would kill to have a voter turnout above 70% let alone 88%.

    This thread is weird to me. We don't have mandatory voting for a reason.

    Also, this entire thread seems circumvent a major issue. Does your vote, or opinion effect public policy?

    That topic has been researched, and debated amongst the public, and academically for a while now.

    There is a myriad of topics in this country with 70-80% approval ratings that may never become law.

    Lastly, people on this board seem to regularly fall into the ditch of blaming the voting base for the failures of the party/candidate.

    I got news for you. HRC losing in 2016 wasn't the fault of Bernie or Bust. It was her fault. She CHOSE to not campaign in the midwest. She CHOSE to take legal bribes right up till her campaign announcement. She CHOSE Donald Trump as her opponent.

    Yet, you get these braindead takes that it was 3rd party voters fault. REEEEEEEEEEE
     
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    Perhaps everyone talking down the idea of a 3rd party candidate has something to do with why more folks don’t vote 3rd party. I don’t know.

    If someone keeps telling me that doing something will result in a negative outcome, then I probably won’t do it. However if people are indifferent or even positive about what I am going to do, then I will most likely do it.
    This thread is weird to me. We don't have mandatory voting for a reason.

    Also, this entire thread seems circumvent a major issue. Does your vote, or opinion effect public policy?

    That topic has been researched, and debated amongst the public, and academically for a while now.

    There is a myriad of topics in this country with 70-80% approval ratings that may never become law.

    Lastly, people on this board seem to regularly fall into the ditch of blaming the voting base for the failures of the party/candidate.

    I got news for you. HRC losing in 2016 wasn't the fault of Bernie or Bust. It was her fault. She CHOSE to not campaign in the midwest. She CHOSE to take legal bribes right up till her campaign announcement. She CHOSE Donald Trump as her opponent.

    Yet, you get these braindead takes that it was 3rd party voters fault. REEEEEEEEEEE
    Agreed. The reason a candidate loses isn’t because of a 3rd, 4th, or 50th party. The reason they lose is because their message doesn’t resonate.

    In reviewing the original PDB thread, I can only hope that this thread can become so comical.
     
    This thread is weird to me. We don't have mandatory voting for a reason.

    Also, this entire thread seems circumvent a major issue. Does your vote, or opinion effect public policy?

    That topic has been researched, and debated amongst the public, and academically for a while now.

    There is a myriad of topics in this country with 70-80% approval ratings that may never become law.

    Lastly, people on this board seem to regularly fall into the ditch of blaming the voting base for the failures of the party/candidate.

    I got news for you. HRC losing in 2016 wasn't the fault of Bernie or Bust. It was her fault. She CHOSE to not campaign in the midwest. She CHOSE to take legal bribes right up till her campaign announcement. She CHOSE Donald Trump as her opponent.

    Yet, you get these braindead takes that it was 3rd party voters fault. REEEEEEEEEEE
    I would posit that HRC's campaigning was at fault. I would also posit that Russian troll farms contributed, the 24 hour coverage afforded to Trump while never actually questioning him contributed ( remember Les Moonves' comment?) as well. As for "legal" bribes? I personally think that speaker's fees, donations to foundations, PACs, Superpacs and direct donations to candidates (unless less than $100 per candidate and the information as to who donated open to the public) should be illegal. The Robert's court's decision re: Citizens United is the height of naivete. Of course there is a quid pro quo. Is it always a direct action taken on behalf of a donor? Of course not. We know proving intent is virtually impossible unless there is direct evidence , Politician, you do this for me because here is "X" number of dollars, it is unlikely that we can know for sure meaning provable in court.

    I suggest Bad Stories by Steven Almond. One of the bad stories that circulated is so-called economic uncertainty cause many to vote for Trump. This has been shown to be inaccurate. Racism, misogyny, xenophobia were far more useful as predictors of votes cast for Trump.
     
    Perhaps everyone talking down the idea of a 3rd party candidate has something to do with why more folks don’t vote 3rd party. I don’t know.

    If someone keeps telling me that doing something will result in a negative outcome, then I probably won’t do it. However if people are indifferent or even positive about what I am going to do, then I will most likely do it.

    Agreed. The reason a candidate loses isn’t because of a 3rd, 4th, or 50th party. The reason they lose is because their message doesn’t resonate.

    In reviewing the original PDB thread, I can only hope that this thread can become so comical.
    One reason I think that third party candidates don't work on a federal level is because the organizations are far too hard to finance. In addition, imo, too often third party candidates are either unfocused or focused on 1 or maybe two issues and there is always something going on in a nation state this large that will take away from third party success.

    That being said the very nature of the system and the immediate growth of factions (read: parties) that Madison railed against contribute to the inability of a third party to exist in a really meaningful way. Yes, third parties can be important for exposing issues. They become more successful in a parliamentary type of government. We see that very often in such situations parties must make coalitions to govern. Our system basically makes that impossible. Ranked choice voting might help but unless there is a nationwide functioning third party such candidates will get shoved into the corner. No, a rebuild is the only real way to get multiple parties that mean anything.
     

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