The Wasted Vote is the One You Don’t Believe in
by Jody Weitzman
Don’t Waste Your Vote: Vote for Gary Johnson (or any third party you favor).
This is not for people who honestly like their choice of Obama or Romney. If you truly love war, truly enjoy bigger more intrusive government, by all means, vote your heart.
However, if you are disappointed with Mr. Obama, and don’t like Romney, there are better, more wise choices for you. Everything I am saying works for the more progressive (Rocky Anderson, Jill Stein and the socialist parties), and the more conservative (Virgil Goode), but this little piece will be from a libertarian perspective.
Whenever one speaks of third parties in America, the first response, like a gag reflex, is “don’t waste your vote!” This assumes that there really is a “lesser of evils” between the two candidates, and even if there is, what has that accomplished? each year, people pick the lesser of evils, and each time, the president fails the people, and then what happens? We switch parties.
Then what happens? Matters get worse. I could go back to the Civil War with this, but let’s go back to Carter. Carter was, shall we say, considered not the best president. What did this do? It empowered the right to put in Ronald Reagan.
Now, conservatives may have loved the man, but what did he do? Massively increased government spending, raised payroll taxes, and increased government regulations. However, he left town with a pretty good economy so George H.W. Bush was elected in that wake, and what did he do? Started a war! He also massively increased spending, increased government regulations, and raised taxes. That ended it for him, after all, it was he who had said “read my lips: NO NEW TAXES!”
So conservatives didn’t come out for him, and Ross Perot rose up to show us the “spoiler effect.” Many conservatives, angry with Bush, voted for Perot. Democrats who were more united in opposition, nominated Clinton who went on to two terms. What did he do? Well, just what the others did: raised taxes, increased government spending, increased government regulations (although yes he repealed a few as well), and yes, started a war. However, since he was fortunate enough to have divided government, and like Reagan, he wasn’t totally incompetent, he managed to preside over a rising economy, had his two terms, and who followed him?
W. What did W do? Well now he did cut some taxes, but he also massively increased government spending, added more regulations than any of the others, and, due to 9-11, started not one, but two overt wars and several covert military operations. He brought back torture and made it cool, calling it enhanced interrogation, and, presided over first a recession when he came in, mostly caused by the dot com bubble, and then, with the help of Mr. Greenspan, proceeded to create a real estate bubble, which led to a financial crash.
However, he got his two terms so what did he care? Just before he left he gave us TARP. More government spending run amok. Oh and of course, we got the usual statist response: it would have been WORSE. Fear is your friend in politics.
Next up: Obama.
Obama rode this crash and won by a large margin, running against McCain by running against Bush. Now, what has Mr. Obama done?
Well, other than the stimulus, he has been unable to increase spending all that much, due to the recession and then the extremely anemic recovery. However, he managed to pass the ACA, which, if you are a libertarian or a conservative, or a fiscally conscious liberal, is a monstrosity.
What we see here is a toxic pattern. It’s not working. However, alongside this darkness, something has been happening in America, and it is happening due to Third Parties.
Libertarianism and environmentalism are growing in BOTH parties, and it seems to be correlating with the rise of the Green and Libertarian Parties.
This is a quiet revolution fed by the internet and the cutting edge on the left and the right. What is the result? The left is now paying strong lip service to the Green movement and has for sometime; the right is now paying a great deal of attention to libertarian thought.
This is how the two parties change — by being influenced through minority opposition within them, and on the fringes.
Thus, if one is voting tactically — which any “lesser of evil” argument entails, then this tactic goes for any non-swing state. If one lives in a red or blue state, any vote for either major candidate is a wasted vote. Thus, if all votes are wasted votes, the least wasted vote is the one that actually influences change within the major parties. That would be a third party. Thus, if you live in a state where the election results are not going to be changed by your vote, the wasted vote is the one you don’t believe in.
Jody Weitzman is a writer living in CT and hosts a Political Discussion Group on Facebook.