Tag Archives: Green Party

Why a Third Party Vote is Not a Wasted Vote

By JOE McMAHON

The United States is one of the most diverse countries in the world. This “nation of immigrants” has people of all different religions, ethnicities, cultures and ideologies co-existing in the melting pot we call home. And yet, with all this variety, the United States is still one of the few developed countries in the world with only two major political parties to represent such a broad array of people.

With significantly more differing viewpoints and ideologies than there are parties, people have been told for decades not to pick the candidate who represents their views the best, but to vote against the candidate that represents their views the least. If you’re a far left liberal who only agrees with half the platform of the moderate Democrat who’s running for office, you’re told to suck it up and vote for him/her anyway because at least it’s not as bad as the Republican option. If you’re a fiscal conservative who believes in limited government but is appalled by socially conservative views of the religious right, it doesn’t matter. You have to vote for the Republican anyway because the Democrat is even worse. In a system where two parties have to try and represent vastly more ideological viewpoints, a large number of people are forced to compromise on their values to support the candidate they dislike least.

Never has this been more apparent than in this election cycle. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have two of the highest disapproval ratings for presidential nominees in American history and, because of this, they have spent more time arguing against their opponents than arguing for themselves. This is why the major theme of the Republican National Convention was not “Donald Trump will fix this country” although that message was half-heartedly touched on. The major themes were “Crooked Hillary” and “Lock her up.”  The Trump campaign correctly realized that the best way to win the presidency was not to convince the American people that their candidate was the best man for the job but to convince them that Democratic nominee was even less fit to be president.

This strategy is a depressing reflection of how far our political system has fallen, but it’s also a strategy that has a good chance of working. All you need to do is read the comments section of any political story that mentions third party candidates and you’ll find a litany of comments arguing that a vote for a third party candidate is a wasted vote and that the country needs to do whatever it can to keep Trump/Hillary out of office.

We can’t have a political system where people are discouraged from voting their conscious out of fear. We can’t have a democracy where we tell large groups of people to suck it up and vote for a candidate that they don’t believe in because the single alternative offered is terrifying. We need to have a system where there is a large enough number of viable candidates that Americans can go to the polls and cast their vote for a candidate they believe in. And the options are out there. For those far left progressives who feel that Hillary is too moderate of a candidate, Jill Stein’s Green Party is a competent alternative. And for fiscal conservatives who are more socially progressive than mainstream Republicans, look no further than Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party for a candidate who more closely represents your views.

Whatever you, as an individual, happen to believe in, the goal of a democracy should be to make sure that you have representation in government. And to do that, there needs to be an adequate number of parties to represent the vast number of ideologies and beliefs that the people of this country have. No more can we endure what we’ve seen over and over again in this election, where members of the two political parties try to scare people who don’t believe in their platforms into supporting them by demonizing their opponents. We can’t call this a strong, representative democracy if large numbers of voters are going to their polls with the mindset that they need to vote against a certain candidate rather than for one. We need to change the mindset in this country that settling and compromising on our values out of fear is acceptable. We need to stop trying to convince the far left that they are betraying Democratic principles by refusing to fall in line behind Hillary Clinton. We need to tell Republican voters that it’s okay to be appalled by the hateful rhetoric of Donald Trump and want to look for another option. First and foremost, we need to make sure that every American can go to the polls in November and vote their conscience; that they can vote for a person who they think represents them. We need to make sure that no one is bringing fear to the ballot box.

Because if we, as a nation, send the statement that it doesn’t matter who the major parties pick as their standard bearer, then it’ll just get worse. If we tell the Democrats and Republicans that all they have to do is terrify us and we’ll vote for whomever they want us to, the American people lose their power to ensure that competent candidates lead their parties into November. 2016 brings us a unique opportunity to show the two major parties that our loyalty is dependent on nominees that reflect the values of the parties they’re supposed to represent. If we don’t now, when will we?

For all those undecided voters trying to figure out for whom to cast your ballot this fall, don’t let anyone tell you that a vote for a fringe candidate is a wasted vote. To summarize Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, the only wasted vote is a vote for a candidate you don’t believe in. Vote your conscience this November; vote for the candidate you think will be the best for America and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe one of the fringe candidates will be competitive. Maybe they won’t. But at the very least, the major parties will know that our support has to be earned. And that’s a victory in and of itself.

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The Nightmare of Hillary Clinton

By PATRICK WOOD

Hillary Clinton is a nightmare for American leftists.

How many Sanders supporters and peaceniks happily hopped, skipped, and jumped over to the Clinton campaign when it become apparent Bernie Sanders was not going to win the Democratic nomination? Surely not as many as had serious reservations, flat-out refused to support Clinton, or only made the switch because of the grotesque spectre of a Trump presidency.

This is partly because Clinton doesn’t have nor does she deserve the same reputation for honesty and political integrity that Sanders does. Clinton’s statement that she “never received nor sent any material that was marked classified” on her private e-mail server while she was Secretary of State was not true and her recounting of landing under sniper fire in Bosnia was either a sign of a very faulty memory or a straight-up fib.

Mostly, however, it’s because Clinton has embraced policy positions that most progressives in 2016 do not support. Clinton has rejected the idea of pursuing single-payer healthcare, instead she wants to work to improve the ObamaCare system. Clinton has refused to encourage a ban on fracking or an end to the Drug War. Wall Street banks like Citi Group and Goldman Sachs liter her list of top contributors over her political career. Her foreign policy views have been labeled “hawkish” and include a threat to go to war with Iran if it breaches the nuclear agreement and a promise to immediately attempt to remove the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad from power.

Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine as her running mate will do little to herd in fleeing progressives. Kaine is a boring centrist, with a lackluster record on reproductive rights and staunchly pro-Israel foreign policy views. To his credit, Kaine is surprisingly progressive on gun control for a Virginia senator, and that is perhaps the one issue where this ticket presents any hope for progressive change.

The progressive vote is going to be divided in many ways this November, but most progressive voters will fall into one of four categories: voting for Clinton, writing-in Bernie Sanders, voting for Jill Stein, or staying home because they are disillusioned with the two major party candidates.

Jill Stein, who barely cracked 0.3% of the vote last election, is poised to have a much, much bigger year. In her, progressives see an opportunity to vote for an agenda they agree with that doesn’t exist with Hillary, and they don’t have to forgo voting for a female candidate for President of the United States.

Of course, this presents the same old bitter debate over third party candidates. Many, like George Takei, are encouraging former Sanders supporters and progressives to “vote blue no matter who,” deeply concerned about what a Trump presidency would mean for the United States. These are the voices that especially in this election view a vote for Jill Stein or another third party candidate as a wasted vote, or worse yet “a vote for Trump.”

IT’S A TRAP.

The Democratic Party has produced one of the most disfavored nominees in the party’s history. If all of America’s progressives fall in line to support Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party has no incentive to cease running hawkish centrists with honesty problems, corporate backing, and mediocre records on the environment and fighting poverty. Unless the Democratic Party begins losing a little support on the left, they will feel free to continue this drift to the right. Already they have come up with a ticket other countries would likely view as more conservative. American progressives deserve a better choice, one that aligns with their views and values. That is why I offer a battlecry intended to counter “Vote Blue No Matter Who”, with all due respect to the magnificent George Takei, and that is “Have A Spine, Vote for Stein.”