Third Party & Independents Archives

How The Lesser of Two Evils Argument Really Works

It goes without saying everyone reading this is familiar in one way or another with the lesser of two evils argument. Generally speaking this argument is mainly utilized in federal elections. There is a reason for this.

The more times you do any particular act the more familiar and comfortable you will get with it. Thus repeatedly voting for one major party, for any reason be it because of the lesser of two evils philosophy or because there are no third party options for that race, will make a voter more comfortable with that party.

Now consider that the majority of voters in the United States do not either have enough time or just don't care enough to research every single last candidate. The fact is that most people do not analyze every candidate for every office. Many offices which are seen as less important are not studied by the majority of the electorate. Thus in these cases with little or no information on the candidates in these races what happens? Well with no information on the candidates the only way to seperate them is their party affiliation and thus party loyalty becomes very important.

The races which the majority of the electorate has seen the most information on are those for high offices, particularly federal offices. Now consider that also these are the races where the lesser of two evils argument is most agressively deployed. You are left with a situation where the electorate is bombarded with the lesser of two evils argument which is supposedly supposed to dictate their voting patterns while in the lower races they are less informed and through accepting the lesser of two evils argument have become more comfortable, and possibly even attached to, one of the major parties. Thus this lesser of two evils reasoning for the higher offices works to persuade voters to keep with that major party down the ballot, now granted it does not always work but this is its intended purpose.

Posted by Richard Rhodes at December 13, 2006 2:50 AM
Comments
Comment #199038

Huh?

Posted by: womanmarine at December 13, 2006 8:54 AM
Comment #199052

Richard,

I’m not necessarily saying your argument doesn’t have some validity. I just don’t see the need to encourage eligible voters not to vote. For the most part, they don’t anyway. Even in presidential elections, it’s considered remarkable if close to 60 percent of eligible voters vote.

So if your goal is to get voters to stay at home, then “mission accomplished.”

Posted by: Trent at December 13, 2006 10:51 AM
Comment #199054
Richard Rhodes wrote: Do any of you think that the reason it would seem that the parties are so much alike, (both cancerous), is that many times one party adopts the ideas of the other for political gain, and they feed upon each other?
Yes. No doubt about it. So, in the end, on most things that really matter most (but sometimes for different reasons), there is little difference between the two main parties.
Richard Rhodes wrote: It is because no one knows what Democrats stand for that they are the ones coming out and telling us we have to vote for the lesser of two evils, because they know they need to do that to garner votes.
Precisely. But, when you look at what both main parties do (not just what they say), they are both all over the place. Republicans say they are conservative, but you couldn’t tell it from the last six years. They say they are pro-business, but they are really just FOR-SALE, and selling out Americans. They say they care about Homeland Security and illegal immigration, but the ports and borders are still wide-open. Hence, Congress is full of hypocrites. Stephen Daugherty (not that his party is the IN-Party) doesn’t like that description, but when people say one thing and do another, they are a hypocrite. If the shoe fits, wear it.

For instance, take illegal immigration.

  • Repubs want cheap labor.

  • Dems want votes.

  • Hence, the end result is Do-Nothing CONGRESS refuses to do anything about it.

  • So, once again, there is little (if any) difference in what they do, despite what they say.

    For instance, take the National Debt.

  • Both say, OH My!

  • But, both keep spending, borrowing, taxing, and printing money like crazy.

  • The IN-Party bribes the OUT-Party by allowing them some pork-barrel.

  • The OUT-Party takes advantage of it.

  • The OUT-Party blames the IN-Party for the fiscal irresponsibility, despite their own complicity.

  • The IN-Party blames the OUT-Party because they are actually the bigger pork-barrel spenders.

  • So, once again, there is little (if any) difference in what they do, despite what they say.

    For instance, take campaign finance and election reform for instance.

  • Dems get big-money from unions.

  • Repubs get big-money from corporations.

  • While they both say they denounce influence peddling, they both, endlessly, troll for it.

  • So, once again, there is little (if any) difference in what they do, despite what they say.

    And take tax reform for instance.

  • Dems like a graduated tax scale, because they harbor feelings of jealousy and envy that they try to disguise as demands for equality.

  • Repubs don’t like taxes at all.

  • Both are FOR-SALE, and pervert the tax code beyond belief.

  • The end result is a perverted tax system that essentially favors the weatlhy, since they are both FOR-SALE, and both carry the water for their big-money donors, and want some tax loop-holes for themselves too.

  • So, once again, there is little (if any) difference in what they do, despite what they say.

    The common-thread is always the same.
    A lack of morals and scrupples.
    A surrender to that one, ever-present human trait (laziness).

    The proof is in the pudding.
    The evidence is staggering.
    The two main parties are more similar than not, despite what they say.
    All you have to do is look at NOTHING being accomplished as the nation’s problems continue to grow in number and severity.

    What’s really interesting is that Democrats, now that they have their turn again being the “IN-Party”, they are already on the defensive, and already laying the ground-work for excuses and mediocrity. And, when they fail, they will blame it all on the Repubs. The “OUT-Party” then tries to sabotage whatever they are trying to accomplish, despite the fact that some of those things would be good. Both parties take turns doing this, and too many voters reward them by repeatedly re-electing them to keep doing it.

    So, once again, there’s little (if any) difference between the two main parties.
    It’s because what motivates them both is the same.
    Likewise for voters that keep rewarding them by repeatedly re-electing them.

    The only group (and there are always some, fortunately) that do not fall prey to it and reject the seductive, circular, divisive, distracting, petty, partisan warfare are those few individual independents that prefer to do their own thinking for themselves, rather than blindly, and lazily conform, and defer that important duty to THEIR party.

    I admit, when I was a Republican, to blindly pulling the party-lever (i.e. voting straight ticket).
    I wallowed in the petty partisan warfare, and demonized the Democrats.
    The funny thing is, I was demonizing the very thing that I was myself.
    But, 10 years ago, you could have NEVER convinced me of it.
    I was brainwashed.
    Some will remain that way their entire life.
    Many independents used to belong to one of the main parties, but finally realized that was NOT the solution.

    So, Richard Rhodes,
    You are absolutely 100% correct.
    That’s why, after leaving the Republican party, there was NOTHING at all that compelled me to defect to the Democrat party.

    In this, and other nations, there are a small percentage of people that get it.
    They may have even been a member of the two main parties for a while, but realized that wasn’t working, and possibly was even making things worse.

    Yes, the real independents are a minority (after excluding the truly kooky ones that are truly tiny minorities).

    Independents are a group of a few tens of millions (in the U.S.).
    Independents are naturally an independent lot that like to think for themselves.
    Independents are not blind conformists just for the sake of belonging.
    Independents serve a valuable service to the nation.
    And, even if it is not easy to mobilize and organize independents, and their numbers are small, independents are important, regardless of the two main parties that despise them.
    The fact that the two main parties feel threatened is all the proof they need that they are important.
    Those few tens of millions (maybe more) of independents are the ones that can and do decide elections.
    If it were not true, then why do the two main parties get so irritated and feel so threatened by third party and swing voters?

    The blind party loyalists of the two main parties can’t understand why independents don’t want to vote for THEIR main party.
    The blind party loyalists despise you individuality and non-conformity.
    The blind party loyalists tell you that your independent vote is a vote for the OTHER main party.
    The blind party loyalists tell you that your independent vote wasted.
    Do NOT ever believe it.

    That being the blind party loyalists best argument is very revealing in itself.

    It is actually the third party and swing voters that decide elections, so don’t despair.
    The results are sometimes unpredictable, but that disruption is a good thing in many ways.
    The independents pressure the two-main parties.
    The Republicans were very irritated by Perot, and blame him for Bush 41’s loss in year 1992, and Dole’s loss in 1996.
    The Democrats were very irritated by Ralph Nader, and blame him for Gore’s loss in year 2000 and Kerry’s loss in 2004.
    But, the blind loyalists of the two main parties don’t mind third party candidates when they help split the votes for the OTHER party.

    Again, it is actually the third party and swing voters that decide elections.
    Hurray third parties!
    Keep thinking for yourselves.
    Do NOT desspair!
    While you may not elect YOUR candidate, you ARE deciding elections.
    You ARE making a difference.
    You ARE helping to reach and wake-up the few within the main parties that are on the fence, and beginning to see what you have already discovered.

    So, all third party voters: Do NOT give up, because that will accomplish nothing.

    In a voting nation, an educated electorate is paramount, and we will get it one way or another, but sooner would be better than later.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2006 11:09 AM
    Comment #199055

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2006 11:12 AM
    Comment #199060

    So Richard, what your saying is that instead of voting for the lesser of the evils independents shouldn’t vote at all. That’s exactly what the major parties would love to see. The fewer ‘swing voters’ out there the easier their job on the campaign trail. They won’t even have to try to discuss the issues because the party faithful is going to check their box anyway.
    I have never like voting for the lesser of the evils. But if that’s what it takes to make my voice heard I’m going to do it.
    As far as feeling comfortable with the candidates for so call lesser office in the same party. If someone doesn’t like either candidate for the national offices how are they gonna like the ones for other offices? Remember you said they won’t research them.
    What I find interesting is that it’s not the independent voters that’s uninformed for the most part. It’s the party faithful that’s uninformed. And that’s most likely why the stay the party faithful. The independent voters will most likely be the ones checking out the candidates.

    Posted by: Ron Brown at December 13, 2006 11:48 AM
    Comment #199061

    d.a.n
    Your chart is right on the money.
    If more voters including the party faithful would follow it we just might see a big change in the way things are done not only in Washington but on the state and local levels too.

    Posted by: Ron Brown at December 13, 2006 11:52 AM
    Comment #199062

    Richard

    In a country as large and diverse as ours, it is unlikely that any candidate will satisfy every or even most voters in all areas. We buy a package, a compromise. It may be that nobody loves the candidate, but he is acceptable to many people.

    The analogy is American beer. American beer is not good compared to German beer. But most people can stomach most brands. The brand of German beer you like, you probably like a lot. But the kind you don’t like, you dislike with a passion. I like dark beers. Few people I know share my tastes. Maybe they like the sweet beers etc. We could never agree on them, but we can agree that Miller Draft or Coors is okay. We do not love it, but if we have to share a six pack, nobody will get up and leave.

    Posted by: Jack at December 13, 2006 11:56 AM
    Comment #199065
    We buy a package, a compromise. It may be that nobody loves the candidate, but he is acceptable to many people.
    Ahhhh … the old arguments for accepting mediocrity.

    If you have NO good choices and there is NO incumbent, don’t give your vote to anyone.

    If you have NO good choices, and there is an incumbent, don’t reward the incumbent by re-electing them, empowering them to grow more powerful, corrupt, and irresponsible.

    Don’t simply pick the lesser of two evils.
    Like Richard Rhodes aptly said, that’s like choosing between two fatal diseases.

    Sure, MANY candidates are worse than the other.
    But, that does not mean you have to give your vote to either one of them. Especially if one is an incumbent.

    Ron Brown wrote: If more voters including the party faithful would follow it we just might see a big change in the way things are done not only in Washington but on the state and local levels too
    Thanks Ron. This is something that needs to be stressed everywhere possible.

    After all, in a voting nation, an educated electorate is paramount, and we will get it one way or another, but sooner would be better than later, when it will be much more painful.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2006 12:32 PM
    Comment #199081

    Am I the only one who thinks there are good American beers? The India Pale Ale produced my favorite pub is very good. Pete’s Wicked Ale is very tasty. There are terrific microbrews all over this country. Heck, I’ve made some very good beer myself; it’s easy.

    I’ve never been to Germany so I can’t say if the microbrews around my neck of the woods are as good. But that doesn’t mean my favorite microbrews are excellent themselves.

    Posted by: Trent at December 13, 2006 3:05 PM
    Comment #199082

    Lately I seem to be clunkier with the language than usual. I meant, of course, that I think my favorite microbrews are excellent.

    Posted by: Trent at December 13, 2006 3:07 PM
    Comment #199099


    A majority of the people in this country don’t think that the Democrats represent them. They also don’t think the Republicans do either. In this past election, a majority of voters chose what they perceived to be the lesser of two evils.

    This is a cause of much frustration among those who advocate a third party solution. They see all the discontent and yet the people will not give any of them an opportunity in any meaningful way. My advice is hang in there. Don’t get frustrated. Keep honing your message and continue to get it out to as many as possible.

    If the major difference between the two parties is tax breakes vs tax hikes, the dissatisfaction will continue to grow. When the voters elected the Republicans, they were voting against tax and spend. They thought they were voting for some fiscal responsibility. What they got was borrow and spend which is even worse than tax and spend because sooner or later we will be taxed to pay for all that spending.

    Now the Democrats say they have gotten the message. They claim that they might have to raise taxes on the wealthy but they will give the middle class a break and that they are going to cut wasteful spending and get the budget under control possibly with pay as you go. We will be waiting to see.

    If the Democrats fullfill their promise in any meaniful way and show us proof that they are getting the budget under control, the Republicans and the third parties may have a long wait for another opportunity. If the Democrats don’t live up to the expectations then be prepared.

    Posted by: jlw at December 13, 2006 4:25 PM
    Comment #199100

    If it’s such a majority, they should already have the power to change things. Frankly I don’t know how you say a majority, I would like to see your numbers.

    And I don’t believe it’s because there isn’t a third party available, they just don’t like the particular person put up by thier party. Doesn’t mean they want to change parties.

    JMHO of course.

    Posted by: womanmarine at December 13, 2006 4:32 PM
    Comment #199111

    First, if you do not choose, others will. In your cynicism, you will essentially fail to choose, and that will be an evil in itself if the worse evil manages to come to pass.

    Second, if you choose the better of two evils, you have leverage to raise the office to higher standards, to push the candidates into competing to be better. If the candidates can successfully jade you into not involving yourself while their supporters do, they can essentially do their damage until it finally becomes too much for their hardcore supporters, which as we have seen can be an awful long time.

    Third, the candidates are only middlemen for what you really want. If you vote, even many of the essentially cynical politicians will feel the pressure to work in your direction. Are many of these people scuzzballs and idiots? Yes. Is there a breaking point to be had? Yes.

    But do we do ourselves much good by isolating ourselves from the process? No. Whoever these people feel they have to please (generally the folks that vote for them or threaten to vote against them), they’ll please to get re-elected, or elected in the first place. To be perfectly machiavellian about it, they don’t have to love us when we vote, but they should by God fear us.

    We can’t, however, make them fear us if we’re feeling too pure to deign to get our hands dirty. Any SOB you hand power will be tempted to use it. If they know that people like you will make election day a bad day for them if they pull any funny business, it’s a whole lot worse than if they feel they can get away with it.

    As for third party candidates, it goes a little like this: If you want them in national offices, you have to start building up a)The public sentiment to overturn restrictive laws b)a pool of candidates in local and state offices who do well and work effective policy in office, and c)a thirst for change, fed by hard fact and charismatically persuasive argument.

    People are not going to start from your logic, your sentiments. If you wish their feelings to draw closer to yours, their opinions to better resemble yours, You have to empathize with and respect others. Let the facts make the emotional point, your logic be the expression of your passion. Feelings constitute a major aspect of how people decide their choices and come to their opinions. Human beings are not entirely rational, especially not if we’re talking about any one person’s brand of rational. Thought and passion, judgment and belief are inextricably linked. That can work against you if you do not respect other’s sentiments, even in disagreement. If you do not take a forgiving attitude towards differences of opinion, then people will feel put upon by your browbeating. Those who change their opinion often feel open to criticism from their own side. Only when they feel they can safely refuse to change their minds if they don’t feel they’ve been given enough cause, will they be open enough to change their mind when you give them the appropriate cause to.

    Change does not come easily or simply in politics. This is a human factors rich environment. You either respect the fact that things are under other people’s control, or you are bound to fail.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 13, 2006 5:37 PM
    Comment #199127
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: First, if you do not choose, others will. In your cynicism, you will essentially fail to choose, and that will be an evil in itself if the worse evil manages to come to pass.
    Evil in itself? Refusing to give your valuable vote to either bad choice makes you evil ? And you talk about respecting others …
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: That can work against you if you do not respect other’s sentiments
    and then call their action evil ?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: In your cynicism, you will fail to choose, and that will be an evil in itself.

    No, that’s just one of those main-party tactics.
    It’s not that simple.

    • If all candidates are similar degress of bad, and there is an incumbent, why not vote for the least of the worst challengers, instead of rewarding the incumbent and empowering them to become more powerful and irresponsible? Voting out the incumbent will keep them from growing more powerful and irresponsible.

    • If all choices are similar degrees of bad, and there is no incumbent, it is perfectly acceptable to refuse to give any of them your vote. Like Richard Rhodes says, it’s like a choice between two fatal diseases? If a write-in name is allowed, do that instead. For instance, if my only two choices were between Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, I wouldn’t give either one my vote.

    • If there is an acceptable candidate, then vote for them. Of course, what is acceptable depends on the voter. Some may still, understandably, characterize this as the choice between two evils. For example, if my only two choices were between Hillary Clinton and John McCain, I’d vote for John McCain, because, in my opinion, he is more honest and has more integrity (even though I have seen his arrogance, disagree with his position on Iraq, illegal immigration, and a number of other things).

    But, hopefully (please, please, please) we will have more choices than that in year 2008.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Second, if you choose the better of two evils, you have leverage to raise the office to higher standards, to push the candidates into competing to be better.
    No. I think I like Richard Rhodes advice. If there are only bad choices, and no incumbent, I’m not going to give any of them my vote, even if some believe that action is evil.
    jlw wrote: My advice is hang in there. Don’t get frustrated. Keep honing your message and continue to get it out to as many as possible.
    Yes! Don’t give up. Independents serve a valuable service to the nation. Independents decide elections. And, even if it isn’t easy to mobilize and organize independents, and their numbers are small, independents are important, regardless of how much it irks and threatens the two main parties.

    The blind party loyalists despise your individuality and non-conformity, tell you that your independent vote is a vote for the OTHER main party, and tell you that your independent vote is wasted.

    Don’t believe it.

    The independents keep the much-needed pressure on the two-main parties.
    Keep thinking for yourselves.
    Do NOT desspair!
    You ARE making a difference!

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2006 7:04 PM
    Comment #199128

    Ron Brown said: “So Richard, what your saying is that instead of voting for the lesser of the evils independents shouldn’t vote at all.”

    No, this is not what I am saying. I was throwing that concept out as a mere theory in my last post, but merely as a theory. This piece does not advocate that strategy. My purpose, although it may have been hard to find because I tried to keep this piece short, was: 1. Explain the way the lesser of two evils argument works, and 2. Show people that if the third parties run a complete slate of candidates, thus giving voters a chance to vote for them down the line and also give the voters an option in the higher races, that the lesser of two evils argument could be defeated.

    Posted by: Richard Rhodes at December 13, 2006 7:08 PM
    Comment #199129

    Richard,

    I understand your ideas, however, you leave out one important fact. Inappropriate, unacceptable, or corrupt candidates are fairly quickly removed from at least one of the Parties of which you speak. However, from the other Party, individuals can be as corrupt as they wish without any fear of retribution, other than to be carted off to prison. Even then, once they are released from Federal prison, they are nominated and re-elected to office once again. The real problem with your theory arises when only one Party seems to be held accountable for anything that they do, and the other Party actually promotes those who break the law and show anti-establishment 60’s like behavior. The voters of this Party of the 60’s do not hold their Party accountable and it seems neither does the Press or third Party voters out there. When that happens, what do you expect. The rules have to be applied to both Parties, and that just isn’t the case in my opinion. Anyone involved in the election process knows which Party tends to monitor itself, (the Party with a religious conscience), and which Party tends to actually promote those known to be corrupt, (right and wrong is relative). As long as this continues, good candidates are going to be hard to find, when the other Party is forced to compete with anything goes!

    JD

    Posted by: JD at December 13, 2006 7:12 PM
    Comment #199134

    Dan-
    Let me put it another way: If you refuse to vote for the better of the two candidates, and the worse of the two wins, your failure to vote has aided that evil. We are often presented with non-ideal choices. The failure to distinguish and subsequently choose the better of the two, while appealing to political purists, is impractical in reality.

    You can call it main-party tactics. I call that response fallacy. You get into this long, involved logical conundrum about it- I think it’s simpler than that on election day. Just vote for the best candidate. You gain nothing from abstention. It’s the votes that count that matter. If people who are likeminded to you fail to voted, they are merely diminishing their influence over the results, their proportion in the mix of interests.

    However, if you want more third party, then go about the business of making that happen. Rally folks with your persuavive powers to knock down what you and him would call the duopolistic election policies. Then figure out how to get elected. Once you’re elected locally, work your way up to state using the support you got locally to ratchet things up. Repeat that for national.

    You should expect resistance. You should expect competition. Take it in stride. Be more reasonable than your opponents. Don’t stop at what convinces you. Figure out what convinces other people.

    Call me what you want: I’m just laying down the mechanics of political ascension. The trouble is that too many third parties try to hit the Jackpot, to rise up suddenly, or push a rather unpopular agenda nationally. This isn’t a sports game here, where you can win points just by being a good player. This is a game of persuasion, of millions of people making choices according to what they feel is right.

    You are dealing with a choice that is not in your hands. Do not miss the implications of that. Do not for a moment believe that you are the prime motivator. You can be the person whose shout brings the avalanche, but the force behind that critical change is not yours, any more than a shout replaces gravity and mass as the source of the surge’s energy. It belongs to the people you’re asking for a vote.

    That should be your goal. Don’t wait to be part of a change. Start working on the obstacles actively.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 13, 2006 7:54 PM
    Comment #199138

    Now you may see why some, understandably, recommend an anti-incubment policy.

    Since most (if not all) in the U.S. Congress are irresponsible, why not ?

    Personally, I recommend just voting out the irresponsible incumbent politicians.
    But, since that is most (if not all) of them in Congress, it doesn’t matter much.

    After all, after a year now, no one has yet been able to name 10, 20, 50, or even 268 (half of the 535) in Congress that are:

    • Responsible?

    • That don’t look the other way?

    • That don’t fuel the partisan warfare?

    • That don’t vote on pork-barrel, graft, and corporate welfare (while our troops risk life and limb)?

    • That don’t vote themselves cu$hy perk$ and rai$e$? (Congress has voted itself a raise 8 times between 1997 and 2006).

    • That don’t ignore our pressing problems ?

    • That don’t troll for big-money-donors to feed their campaign war chests?

    • That don’t refuse to pass any sort of campaign finance reform?

    • That don’t refuse a number of common-sense, no-brainier reforms ?

    • That don’t give pardons to convicted felons (some who even pled guilty; like the 546 criminals pardoned by Bill Clinton; 140 on his last day in office, including Dan Rostenkowski, who pleaded GUILTY)?

    • That don’t pander and make promises that are fiscally irresponsible; bribe the voters with their own money (e.g. Medicare prescription drugs)?

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2006 8:03 PM
    Comment #199142
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- Let me put it another way: If you refuse to vote for the better of the two candidates,
    Stephen, That’s not what I wrote. I wrote (above): If ALL choices are similar degrees of bad (that means all about the same), and there is no incumbent, it is perfectly acceptable to refuse to give any of them your vote. Like Richard Rhodes says, it’s like a choice between two fatal diseases? When they are all bad, it becomes nothing more than guessing, and Richard Rhodes is actually perfectly correct about that.

    Now, I agree, for most elections, there will be enough difference between the candidates to choose one.

    For me, when it comes to the federal government, there are few (if any) incumbents that I would vote for.

    Why? Because most (if not all) are irresponsible and do not deserve to be re-elected.

    So, I am very inclined to vote for non-incumbents (per step [2] of the Voting Guidelines above).

    The main-party loyalists may keep on rewarding them by repeatedly re-electing them.
    Fine. That’s their choice.
    They are the unchanging constant.
    They are the status quo.

    The third party and independent voters are the key to change.
    And their numbers are growing, as the two main parties drive the nation deeper and deeper into ruin.

    That’s why third parties and independent voters decide elections.
    Third parties may not have many candidates that win, but they still decide elections.
    The Republicans were irritated by Perot, and blamed him for Bush 41’s loss in year 1992, and Dole’s loss in 1996.
    The Democrats were irritated by Ralph Nader, and blame him for Gore’s loss in year 2000 and Kerry’s loss in 2004.

    So, the third party and independent voters play a VERY important role.
    If it weren’t so, you wouldn’t feel so threatened by them.

    So, your statement …

    d.a.n-
    If third parties can’t win offices, what good are they to the voter?

    … fails to recognize the important role that third parties have, but yet, you are irked by them.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: However, if you want more third party, then go about the business of making that happen.
    I am. We are working on that very thing. Not just a new third party, but coalitions of third parties, based on one common no-brainer, common-sense, goal … to give the voters more choices. After all, third parties and independents decide elections.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2006 8:37 PM
    Comment #199157

    d.a.n, I would probably subscribe to your argument on state legislature and local government levels. However, in a presidential election I would always vote for one or the other.

    Ultimately, I still believe that not voting is ducking responsibility.

    Posted by: Zeek at December 13, 2006 10:07 PM
    Comment #199158

    Just to clarify, I do vote in elections for National Congressional representatives.

    Posted by: Zeek at December 13, 2006 10:10 PM
    Comment #199172

    Zeek,

    Hmmmmm … read the guidelines carefully.
    We may be in agreement 100%.

    Granted, although unlikely (and I’ve only been trying to cover all possibilities; one being Richard Rhodes example), but what if ALL candidates for President are equally bad?

    Logic dictates you should vote for neither.
    But it is unlikely (as acknowledged above) that all candidates for president are equally good or bad. So, that’s a moot point.

    Now, what about step [3] ?
    If all of your choices are bad, will you vote for a challenger, instead of re-electing (rewarding) the incumbent ?

    Do you see the logic of that?
    Why allow the irresponsible incumbent to grow more powerful and irresponsible? Re-electing them just lets them believe they can get away with anything.

    Blind party loyalty and the circular, divisive, distracting, destructive, petty, partisan warfare is helping to keep incumbents in office, ensuring their cu$hy incumbencies indefinitely, and re-electing rates over 90%.

    Reaching he blind party loyalists is difficult.
    Proof of it is that I used to be one of them for 30 years.

    I admire those independent thinkers that figured it out at a much younger age.

    So, it may be possible to reach the millions of third party and independent voters.

    After all, it is the third party and independent voters (whether they realize it or not) that decide elections, because they are the largest group of voters that aren’t brainwashed to pull the party-lever (i.e. vote straight-party-ticket).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2006 11:12 PM
    Comment #199176

    d.a.n,

    “but what if ALL candidates for President are equally bad?”

    I consider that a near impossibility. There has to be some standards by which, no matter how close you consider the two to be, you can prefer one over the other. I suppose if that happened I would go with your reasoning but I would be stunned if I ever found myself in that position.

    “Do you see the logic of that?”

    Yes, as a matter of fact this is why I like your model better. At least there is a solution with a thought process behind it. But honestly, I will always vote for whom I believe to be the best choice even if it is the incumbent. Corruption of course plays a significant role in the decision making process for me, but that does not, in my mind, necessarily value the challenger over the incumbent. Especially if I find the challengers to be completely incompetent and (to put it bluntly) idiotic.

    In short, I am still voting for whomever will screw up the country the least in the long run. (Sad, is it not?)

    Posted by: Zeek at December 13, 2006 11:24 PM
    Comment #199182

    Yes, it is sad. But, we will get our education one way or another. Sooner would be better that later, because later will probably be more painful.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2006 11:49 PM
    Comment #199224

    Richard
    I reckon I missed your point. Voting for the lesser of evils doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole party ticket is being voted for. I’ve voted for the lesser of the evils for one office and then switched parties for the lesser of the evils in the next office on the ballot.
    It would be nice if every office had at least three qualified candidates running for them. The voters could come closer to finding a candidate that represents their values. I’m an independent conservative. I’ve had a very hard time finding a candidate from either major party that represents my values. I usually have to look to independents to get a candidate that comes close. But the major parties have made it almost impossible for an independent to get on the ballot in most states. Specially here in Georgia.

    Posted by: Ron Brown at December 14, 2006 11:29 AM
    Comment #199225

    Zeek
    In short, I am still voting for whomever will screw up the country the least in the long run. (Sad, is it not?)

    It’s sure a sad state of affairs when that’s the best you can hope for. That’s why voters need to start insisting that the states make it easier for third parties and independents to get on the ballot.
    We were in town yesterday and a girl came up to me wanting to know if we would sign her petition. She belongs to a group that is trying to get an initiative on the 2008 ballot that would force the state to make it easier for third parties and independents to make the ballot. Even though it might be a little early for this kind of activity my wife and I were very happy to sign it. But I noticed that most folks just ignored her. Now that’s sad.
    But there is some hope in this. When my wife asked the girl about the group she told her that the group was started by students at the local college and all 12 members are in college. Sure wish them well on this.

    Posted by: Ron Brown at December 14, 2006 11:49 AM
    Comment #199240

    d.a.n.

    “I admire those independent thinkers that figured it out at a much younger age.”

    Thank you d.a.n., that will be dually noted.


    I personally believe if there is no good choices it is best to boycott the vote for that position. That way no can say they are ‘my what-ever-they-are’.

    Yet, if you are going to vote for a bad pick of two bad options, vote out the incumbent.

    The longer they are there the more damage they are capable of.

    The averag law takes at least a couple terms to get passed.

    If it is passed in a year, it was probably a good law (or the act of a fully one side government).

    You could also choose to simply vote in favor of balance. Keep the two parties on their toes for a couple more decades until the Libertarians catch up.


    Also, for the record, the Libertarians now have the honor of equal representation with in the Political Science degree.

    We actually spent more time on them then we did on the other parties.

    They are predicted at have house majority by the next late 20s. Assuming they continue the progressive growth pattern thay have had over the last fifty years.

    Just thought that you might enjoy hearing that little tid-bit.

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at December 14, 2006 1:14 PM
    Comment #199254

    Dan-
    Your points are so generalized, I could turn around and use them myself. Truth is, I don’t disagree with most of them, but I don’t see any instant solutions. But does saying that, saying that I don’t see any panaceas, even yours as viable mean that I would just let my party be like you describe?

    Or to put it another way, do you think I actually posted so many angry blog entries over the past two or three years merely for the sake of my party?

    My disgust with those in Washington was not feigned, or strategically stage-managed. It’s real. That being the case, just how much patience do you think people like me, and myself are going to have with Democrats who pull the same shit the Republicans did?

    We can’t magically change Congress completely, but the last election was a good start. They know now that people care about corruption, and want a change. So far, they’re acknowledging that in their plans. People like me will ride their asses and remind them of their promises. If they fail to keep them in good faith, they’ll find themselves out of jobs, or at least out of the majority.

    We’re not as indulgent as the Republicans are about close relationships with business, failures of corporate reform, or about campaign finance. Whatever corruption Democrats indulged in in the past was dwarfed by the Republicans, not not just by chance: The Republican ethos which puts the profit of the individual ahead of that of others is well suited to a system where the individual is a legislator, or a lobbyist coming to complain about how regulations are bad for their business.

    As for pardons, I’ve told you this before: they are an executive power. Griping about congress regarding executive pardons is like griping to the highway department about a power outage. As for the Pardons being given to the guilty? Well, that’s practically a given. An innocent man needs no pardon.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2006 1:51 PM
    Comment #199265

    Brian AJ Kennedy stated: “They (the Libertarians) are predicted at have house majority by the next late 20s. Assuming they continue the progressive growth pattern thay have had over the last fifty years.”

    Could you please provide a link to where this prediction came from I’d like to see this.

    Posted by: Richard Rhodes at December 14, 2006 2:14 PM
    Comment #199276
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- Your points are so generalized, I could turn around and use them myself.
    AAHHHHHhhhhh … the same old, lame as ever, “generalized” argument, eh? Visit my web-site, and hundreds of pages, and reports, and calculations and tell me more about generalized. The fact is, the most generalized (and most prolificly, flowery, circular prose) statements here are your very own. In fact, I’d give you 1st place.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Truth is, I don’t disagree with most of them, but I don’t see any instant solutions.
    Is your mouse button broken or something? Click here.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: But does saying that I don’t see any panaceas, even yours as viable mean that I would just let my party be like you describe?
    Probably. Haven’t you already been laying the groundwork for excuses and reasons to accept mediocrity? Didn’t you, yourself, say:
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: But me? I know what I’m dealing with here. I’m not expecting much good. I know I have to work at it.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Or to put it another way, do you think I actually posted so many angry blog entries over the past two or three years merely for the sake of my party?
    What I’ve read was very partisan, and all over the place (contradictory). For example, you wrote:
    Stephen Daugherty writes: You don’t have to kick a person out to send a message [i.e. vote them out].
    But, then
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: These people [Congress] will reform themselves, or we will make examples of them.

    So which is it?
    Sorry if I have trouble understanding where you stand, but you’re not making it very easy.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: That being the case, just how much patience do you think people like me, and myself are going to have with Democrats who pull the same shit the Republicans did?
    A lot. But, please, prove me wrong.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: We can’t magically change Congress completely, but the last election was a good start.
    AHHhh … here we go again … laying the ground-work for excuses and mediocrity?
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: They know now that people care about corruption, and want a change.
    That is seriously doubtful.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: So far, they’re acknowledging that in their plans.
    Really? You mean that lame, mostly-symbolic-only First-100-Hour Plan?


    Stephen Daugherty wrote:
    People like me will ride their asses and remind them of their promises. If they fail to keep them in good faith, they’ll find themselves out of jobs, or at least out of the majority.

    If that were true, you would have been ridin’ their asses already, for going along with the Repubs on most everything.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: We’re not as indulgent as the Republicans are about close relationships with business, failures of corporate reform, or about campaign finance.
    Yeah, right. You conveniently left out unions? Besides, just based on track record alone, there’s no reason to believe Congress will turn over a new leaf. But, don’t worry. You can blame it on the Repubs and 3rd parties and independents (as usual).
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Whatever corruption Democrats indulged in in the past was dwarfed by the Republicans,
    No it wasn’t. They’re about the same. Remember, Dems went along. I didn’t hear much protest from the Dems along the way. They’re very much the same. They are both FOR-SALE.
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: The Republican ethos which puts the profit of the individual ahead of that of others is well suited to a system where the individual is a legislator, or a lobbyist coming to complain about how regulations are bad for their business.
    So do Dems. They are both FOR-SALE. There is one minor difference. Dems are far, far worse at votin’ on pork-barrel (source: cagw.org).
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: As for pardons, I’ve told you this before: they are an executive power. Griping about congress regarding executive pardons
    I never said Congress granted pardons. Where did you get that silly idea. The president grants pardons. Didn’t you know that? It’s the Congress that reaps the benefits of those pardons. Just ask a number of pardoned Congress persons and presidents. Just ask Dan Rostenkowski (who pleaded guilty). Just ask the 546 criminals pardoned by Bill Clinton (140 on his last day in office). Who says political crime doesn’t pay. Posted by: d.a.n at December 14, 2006 2:57 PM
    Comment #199292

    Richard Rhodes,

    It’s in my PoliSci 201 book, but will try to find it online for you.

    If not I will pull the numbers and show the math, but only if I have to (statistics is never a fun thing!). =)

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at December 14, 2006 3:49 PM
    Comment #199297

    Bryan AJ Kennedy stated: “Also, for the record, the Libertarians now have the honor of equal representation with in the Political Science degree.

    We actually spent more time on them then we did on the other parties.

    They are predicted at have house majority by the next late 20s. Assuming they continue the progressive growth pattern thay have had over the last fifty years.”

    Than later stated: “It’s in my PoliSci 201 book, but will try to find it online for you.”

    This second quote goes a far way to understanding the first. I would guess that most likely the professor teaching the class is a Libertarian, and thus the extra coverage of the Libertarian Party in the class.

    Posted by: Richard Rhodes at December 14, 2006 4:15 PM
    Comment #199310

    Richard Rhodes,

    Actually she is a super uptight right winger.

    I ahve been looking for actual vote counts, but the internet rarely provides actual numbers.

    It is more or so a source of commentary and opinion.

    This chart says it is based off total nation wide votes for all elected positions.

    It starts in 1980 with less than a thousand, then gorws at roughly 100-250% on through 2004, the year it was published.

    There is a second chart representing the number of Libertarians in elected postitions too.

    Wish I could just send you the book, but I still need it next quarter for PoliSci202.

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at December 14, 2006 5:49 PM
    Comment #199330

    DO NOT DECIDE NOT TO VOTE because you dislike all the candidates. This country’s future is not decided once the election ends. Vote for the lesser of two evils and then work to influence the politicians on a local level so an evil situation can be made better. If you truly care you will stay involved after you leave the booth. On paper the vote is the only way citizens affect the country but it’s just as important if not more so for them to get to know the elected representative. Anyone who is elected, whether you are for or against them, can be approached to some degree. Not voting in the first place in inexcusable.

    Posted by: alastors heaven at December 14, 2006 7:11 PM
    Comment #199402

    The Libertarians are the largest third party, and growing.
    I, myself, tend to lean (just slightly) libertarian (score 33 on this test).
    To score a perfect 160 (or even close to it), you have to be a out-and-out anarchist.

    What Your Score Means:

    • 0 points: You are not a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination. You are probably not even a liberal or a conservative. Just some Nazi nut, I guess.

    • 1-5 points: You have a few libertarian notions, but overall you’re a statist.

    • 6-15 points: You are starting to have libertarian leanings. Explore them.

    • 16-30 points: You are a soft-core libertarian. With effort, you may harden and become pure.

    • 31-50 points: Your libertarian credentials are obvious. Doubtlessly you will become more extreme as time goes on.

    • 51-90 points: You are a medium-core libertarian, probably self-consciously so. Your friends probably encourage you to quit talking about your views so much.

    • 91-130 points: You have entered the heady realm of hard-core libertarianism. Now doesn’t that make you feel worse that you didn’t get a perfect score?

    • 131-159 points: You are nearly a perfect libertarian, with a tiny number of blind spots. Think about them, then take the test over again. On the other hand, if you scored this high, you probably have a good libertarian objection to my suggested libertarian answer.

    • 160 points: Perfect! The world needs more like you.

    IMO, some moderation is necessary.
    Some government is necessary.
    Law enforcement is necessary.
    Those things are unlikely without some standardization. Not just within a nation, but amongst nations.
    100% Libertarians (I think) believe in privatization of just about everything (if not everything), and little (if not ZERO) government (as revealed by the questions).

    The problem, IMO with the 100% Libertarian viewpoint is that it is too pure, and sounds plausible, but fails to recognize that none of us can live in society without affecting that society and other around us. It is too individualistic. No one (person or nation) is an island. Total chaos and anarchy would most likely be the result of such a purist approach to all matters. It ignores the human factor, and need for a standardization of laws (e.g. Constitution), a standardization of law enforcement, and the dangers of pure, unfettered greed, and capitalism, with no protection government protections for consumers, and no concern for the nation as a whole.

    On the other hand, Libertarians understand better than most about the corruption that always infests all governments. They have some very good points with regard to the problems inherent in all governments. They will characterize governments’ supporters as supporters of a necessary evil. But, that over-simplification is clever, and the reality is that all it proves is that all things can stand improvement. That is not an excuse for mediocrity, but means somethings are still useful and necessary, even when they are not perfect. It doesn’t mean they are futile. However, government corruption (IMO) is a problem that can be greatly minimized by education and more consistent transparency and accountability that education can provide, and that we (voters) will get our education one way or another, but sooner is always better than later (baded on history over the millennia, it is 2.000 steps forward and 1.999 steps backward), because later will always be more painful, and there is no guarantee that the nation will survive.

    The test is interesting.
    Few will score a (so-called) perfect 160% .
    Not even those that declare themselves as true Libertarians will score a perfect 160% .

    What is somewhat revealing about my score of 33 is that it states “Doubtlessly you will become more extreme as time goes on”, as if that were a good thing. Well, I’d rather be a Centrist, and appear to be just that based on many tests. The problem with extremist positions is that that the majority will NEVER understand or agree with it. The Libertarian extreme, IMO would be a return to the way it used to be, with no standardization of laws, resulting in chaos, anarchy, fueding, and war. No nation is an island either. Whether we like it or not, we must learn to get along, and the extreme individualistic philosophies of the most extreme Libertarian (e.g. a score of 160%) is no longer possible on our shrinking planet.

    (P.S. that’s just opinion, and don’t represent the Libertarian party, but respect many of their opinions, but not to extreme).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 15, 2006 12:14 PM
    Comment #199407

    Wow,

    I didn’t realize how libertarian I actually am.

    {
    Your Libertarian Purity Score


    ————————————————————————————————————————


    Your score is…

    90
    }

    Only one point away from extremist, not sure how good that is.

    I don’t think I hold back for my friends though. I think I am just pro state control of law making, military, roads, and social security should be optional and never borrowed from.

    I wonder if there is already a Libertarian type for me?

    If not, maybe I should write a book!

    =)

    Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at December 15, 2006 1:01 PM
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