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Old Yesterday, 02:18 PM
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Medium article: neither the D's nor R's are entitled to third-party votes


This Medium article helped express something I've been trying to articulate for a while:

There is this persistent attitude by D's and R's alike that everyone ought to vote D or R as the default, that they are somehow entitled to third-party votes, and that people who vote third party have somehow denied the D's/R's a vote that "rightfully" should have gone to them (this attitude is usually particularly prevalent among the side that just lost an election - for instance, the YouTube video in November 2016 where a Hillary supporter ranted, "Fuck you, third party voters! This was not the time to pull this sort of shit!")

Per the article, neither the Democratic nor Republican Party has any sort of entitled right to a vote that goes to a third-party candidate. You can argue that third-party voters should have voted (D) or (R,) due to the practical benefits of tactical voting, but too often the criticism of them goes beyond merely that, and it becomes instead that voting for D or R ought to be the default vote and that somehow third-party voters have wronged the nation, and have to supply some sort of explanation to justify straying from the default.
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Old Yesterday, 02:40 PM
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Voting for the only chance to defeat bigotry, hatred, and misogyny should be the default, and it's perfectly reasonable to criticize voters who choose not to do this, either to vote third party or not to vote at all (or, obviously, those who vote for the bigotry/hatred/misogyny). And some of this criticism, when paired with all kinds of other rhetorical strategies (i.e. gentle discussion, robust argument, and even satire and mockery) can be effective in swaying these voters.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; Yesterday at 02:41 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 02:46 PM
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Are third party voters from 2016 content that they have put their principles above the mundane concern of kids in cages? Do third party voters from 2000 sleep easier at night knowing that they didn't have to compromise at all, for all that happened was a disastrous war based on lies that has cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lifves?

Nothing in that article convinces me that I can't criticize them for making the wrong choice in either year.

This isn't about what a particular American owes to a political party. It's about what Americans owe to the country, to either make good choices on leaders or to just avoid making really, really bad choices on them.
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Old Yesterday, 02:47 PM
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Where I'm a little confused is in the thought process for someone who deliberately votes third-party in a two-party first-past-the-post system. At worst, it's a wasted vote, and at best, it's a sort of signal to the dominant parties about what you believe in. But even as a signal it's pretty weak, in that the third party voters are typically so few that it doesn't cause any change in either party.

So there's a perception on the part of the public at large that third party voters are "wasting" their votes, and that those votes could have been cast in a much more productive way, almost always by the losing party.

I agree that voters don't OWE the big two parties their votes, but I can also see where the outrage comes from as well.

Last edited by bump; Yesterday at 02:48 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
Voting for the only chance to defeat bigotry, hatred, and misogyny should be the default, and it's perfectly reasonable to criticize voters who choose not to do this
But again - you are only seeing this from your perspective. Trump voters also criticize third-party voters the exact same way, but just with a few keywords substituted in - maybe swap in "killing fetuses/babies" for "bigotry", etc.

The rhetoric that you provide here is a perfect example of exactly the kind of attitude the Medium article was referring to.

Last edited by Velocity; Yesterday at 03:01 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 03:04 PM
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Are third party voters from 2016 content that they have put their principles above the mundane concern of kids in cages?
A significant number of Gary Johnson voters were conservative Republican votes. If it weren't for Johnson's' candidacy, Trump might have gotten even more votes than he did.
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Old Yesterday, 03:05 PM
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But again - you are only seeing this from your perspective. Trump voters also criticize third-party voters the exact same way, but just with a few keywords substituted in - maybe swap in "killing fetuses/babies" for "bigotry", etc.
Of course they do, just like George Wallace's supporters criticized those who supported others as unAmerican and communists (among other things). They were wrong, as are Trump's supporters.

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The rhetoric that you provide here is a perfect example of exactly the kind of attitude the Medium article was referring to.
Sometimes one side is right and the other side is wrong.

What's your point?
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Old Yesterday, 03:09 PM
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"Entitlement" has about as much to do with voting strategy as "deep fat frying" or "bordered in tatted lace." It's a fundamentally flawed way to look at the situation.

When you're trying to figure out which way to push the trolley, do you talk about the trolley being entitled to your push? When you're trying to figure out whether to buy a sandwich or a bottle of rat poison for the starving kid, do you ask whether the restaurant is entitled to your money? Hell no.

Virtually all candidates, Sanders and Warren included, are basically megalomaniacs who have no business near the seats of power, IMO. I have no interest in giving them trophies or snuggles or high fives or votes. It ain't about rewarding them or punishing them. Their self-esteem is immaterial to my decision.

Instead, I get to make a decision, and my decision on how to vote may push society in one direction or another. If I vote for someone who has a chance of winning and who will be less bad than someone else who has a chance of winning, I push society in a slightly less bad direction.

If I vote third party, or if I vote Vermin Supreme, or if I vote for myself, or if I stay home and don't vote, in all cases I've done the same thing: I've neglected to give society a nudge in the right direction.

Seriously, the idea of "entitlement" can go jump in a lake.
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Old Yesterday, 03:10 PM
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So I should vote for a candidate I do not believe in because the other one is worse? And there is another (THIRD) candidate I do believe in, but I'm not supposed to vote for them? Because "one side is right and the other side is wrong"? Hey, what if both sides are wrong?
  #10  
Old Yesterday, 03:20 PM
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So I should vote for a candidate I do not believe in because the other one is worse? And there is another (THIRD) candidate I do believe in, but I'm not supposed to vote for them? Because "one side is right and the other side is wrong"? Hey, what if both sides are wrong?
I'm not talking every situation, just Trump vs X (X being any of a number of Democrats). I didn't say the same thing about Romney and McCain, but it really is different with Trump.
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Old Yesterday, 03:24 PM
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A significant number of Gary Johnson voters were conservative Republican votes. If it weren't for Johnson's' candidacy, Trump might have gotten even more votes than he did.
You think Gary Johnson voters would be cheering concentration camps?

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But again - you are only seeing this from your perspective.
This is where the article by this sci-fi writer really falls apart. He digresses into how various presidential candidates were criticized by the other side. Well, whoop-dee-doo. I have my perspective that racist policies are wrong, and just because others see it differently, doesn't actually contradict the fact that I am right and they are wrong.
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Old Yesterday, 03:26 PM
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So I should vote for a candidate I do not believe in because the other one is worse? And there is another (THIRD) candidate I do believe in, but I'm not supposed to vote for them? Because "one side is right and the other side is wrong"? Hey, what if both sides are wrong?
Sure, roll the dice and see how the country turns out. Just remember that there are 320 million Americans whose lives are riding on some voters' inability to choose a lesser evil.
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Old Yesterday, 03:42 PM
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So I should vote for a candidate I do not believe in because the other one is worse? And there is another (THIRD) candidate I do believe in, but I'm not supposed to vote for them? Because "one side is right and the other side is wrong"? Hey, what if both sides are wrong?
"Supposed to" is also a silly way of looking at it.

An ethical person considers the likely outcomes of their decisions and then makes decisions accordingly.

If you really like Vermin Supreme (and I confess that he's my favorite third party candidate), that's spiffy. If you vote for him, how will the world be appreciably different than if you'd not voted at all, or if you'd voted for Jill Stein or David Duke or for yourself or stayed home?

Of course "both sides" are terrible. That's the world we live in. You're either gonna eat some moldy baloney, or you're gonna eat an ebola-scab-and-arsenic sandwich. You don't get to refuse to eat; one of those meals is on the menu.

You appear to be making the mistake of thinking of your vote as a reward for one side. It ain't. It's a way to stanch the bleeding, no more.
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Old Yesterday, 03:48 PM
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"Supposed to" is also a silly way of looking at it.

An ethical person considers the likely outcomes of their decisions and then makes decisions accordingly.

If you really like Vermin Supreme (and I confess that he's my favorite third party candidate), that's spiffy. If you vote for him, how will the world be appreciably different than if you'd not voted at all, or if you'd voted for Jill Stein or David Duke or for yourself or stayed home?

Of course "both sides" are terrible. That's the world we live in. You're either gonna eat some moldy baloney, or you're gonna eat an ebola-scab-and-arsenic sandwich. You don't get to refuse to eat; one of those meals is on the menu.

You appear to be making the mistake of thinking of your vote as a reward for one side. It ain't. It's a way to stanch the bleeding, no more.

To a Libertarian voter (and I'm not Libertarian, but I'll use them as an example since they're the biggest third party) - voting Libertarian is their way of "getting an outcome." By pushing their party up in the vote count as prominently as possible (there's a big meaningful difference between, say, getting only 2% and getting 6% in the nationwide vote, even if none lead to a Libertarian getting elected outright). The higher the Libertarian vote outcome, the more the nation and its politicians have to take Libertarians seriously as a political faction.

Finally, people can vote according to what feels best to their political innards, regardless of policy outcome. Just like how a baseball fan who lives in New York or New England is by no means obligated to support the Yankees or Red Sox, even though those are by far the two most predominant teams in the region. He can support the Padres, Rangers, Twins or whichever team feels best to him.

Last edited by Velocity; Yesterday at 03:50 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 04:02 PM
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To a Libertarian voter (and I'm not Libertarian, but I'll use them as an example since they're the biggest third party) - voting Libertarian is their way of "getting an outcome." By pushing their party up in the vote count as prominently as possible (there's a big meaningful difference between, say, getting only 2% and getting 6% in the nationwide vote, even if none lead to a Libertarian getting elected outright). The higher the Libertarian vote outcome, the more the nation and its politicians have to take Libertarians seriously as a political faction.
That's the strategy I used in 1996 and 2000, when I voted Green. You wanna ask me how that worked out for me?

It's a very commonly-mentioned reason for voting third party. It doesn't work. Libertarians have been using this strategy for decades. How many elected libertarians are in the federal government, again?

Here's my 10-20-30 plan for third parties (and remember, I am not exactly a cheerleader for the parties we have now):

Run candidates only at the local level, until you have at least 10% of the seats in a local government.

Once you have at least 10% of the seats locally, start running for legislative seats on a state level. Keep doing that until you have 20% of the legislative seats.

Start running for state executive seats, and federal legislative seats, until you have 30% of the state government.

Once you control 30% of a state government, you're a goddamn force to be reckoned with. If you run a presidential candidate at the point, people will take you seriously.

But third parties over and over and over and over decide that they're gonna skip building a local base, and they're gonna go straight to running for the big sexy visible offices. AT BEST, all you can do this way is to help the party that you think is worse of the two major parties.

Granted, I'm a big fan of Libertarians doing this, because they tend to convince disaffected Republicans to vote Libertarian instead of sticking with the Republican party. I'd much rather folks vote Libertarian than Green, because I think it makes the world better.

But it doesn't help them get the world they want.
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Old Yesterday, 04:09 PM
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A voter who thinks the Ds and Rs are about equally bad should vote for a 3rd-party. That's the way to get value for his vote: even knowing the 3rd-party candidate has no chance, running up his vote total sends a message to the Ds and Rs that they're leaving voters dissatisfied.

But that's speaking abstractly. Let's focus on the real world. Where OP fails is in imagining that Ds and Rs today could possibly be perceived as equally bad by an intelligent informed voter.

A voter who would otherwise vote for an R should be applauded for voting 3rd-party. A voter who would otherwise vote for a D should be ashamed.
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Old Yesterday, 04:27 PM
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To a Libertarian voter (and I'm not Libertarian, but I'll use them as an example since they're the biggest third party) - voting Libertarian is their way of "getting an outcome." By pushing their party up in the vote count as prominently as possible (there's a big meaningful difference between, say, getting only 2% and getting 6% in the nationwide vote, even if none lead to a Libertarian getting elected outright). The higher the Libertarian vote outcome, the more the nation and its politicians have to take Libertarians seriously as a political faction.
Gary Johnson got something like 4% of the votes and the country ended up with the least libertarian President in generations.
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Old Yesterday, 04:47 PM
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Are third party voters from 2016 content that they have put their principles above the mundane concern of kids in cages? Do third party voters from 2000 sleep easier at night knowing that they didn't have to compromise at all, for all that happened was a disastrous war based on lies that has cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lifves?
I voted third party in 2000 (Nader) and and 2016 (Johnson). I don't regret it. If I could travel back in time and cast a new vote, I would make the same choices.

Firstly, I have only one vote to cast, which never is and never will be sufficient to sway a presidential election. Nothing that I could ever have done would have changed who was in power in any way.

Secondly, the subsequent votes cast by Democrats and Republicans show clearly that there is little difference between them. You mention the Iraq War. How did prominent Democrats like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Joe Biden vote on the Iraq War resolution? How many countries did Obama send troops to while he was President? There is simply no reason to view the Democrats as an anti-war party when they actually are a pro-war party whenever they're in power. And the whole "kids in cages" thing? Shall we discuss the Democrats' history on that issue too?
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Old Yesterday, 05:17 PM
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All this is why I strongly favor ranked choice voting. Of course, nothing would help for a voter why believed that withholding a vote from Clinton is more important than beating Trump. I would vote for a stinking pile of dung over Trump.
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Old Yesterday, 07:43 PM
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Yeah, I actually think full preferential voting (Aussie style IRV where you *must* rank all of the candidates from 1st to last preference) is great because it forces you to actually endorse someone other than your special little snowflake chosen principles. If you can't do that, your vote doesn't count. I think forcing people to rank them 1 to n, actually to a small degree helps build a more sane and moderate political system because people actually are forced to make a decision about which alternative to their preference is actually better or worse.

In any case, neither the D's nor R's are entitled to third-party votes: but third party voters are neither entitled to or deserving of the respect of rational voters. You can vote for whomever you wish or refrain from voting at all, but you're not entitled to applause or respect, or shielded from opprobrium. No one is really saying the two major parties are entitled to your choice, they're saying you (and I mean this non-specifically) are basically stupid for having voted third party. This strawman that third party absolutists like the sci-fi writer who wrote this article prop up is hiding that it's not his "right" to vote third party that is under fire, it's his right to do so and not be made fun of for the fool that he is.
  #21  
Old Yesterday, 08:42 PM
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Generally, third parties that act as spoilers can have an effect in the long-term. As an example, a lot of Republicans were up in arms at George H.W. Bush after his broken "read my lips; no new taxes" promise as well as his support for NAFTA and voted for Perot. This essentially handed the election to Clinton, who raised taxes to higher than Bush had raised them and signed NAFTA. In the short-term Perot voters completely sabotaged their own goals and (since presumably most were aligned with Bush on other issues) hurt the GOP position on most everything else. However, since that election, no Republican on the national level has dared to even suggest raising taxes. The NAFTA thing is more complex and the GOP continued to be pro-free trade until Trump, but IMO Perot laid the seeds for Trump's protectionism at least.

I do agree that this election is a terrible time for left wing voters to try to send a message to Democrats though, the stakes with Trump are just too high.

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  #22  
Old Yesterday, 08:43 PM
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I voted third party in 2000 (Nader) and and 2016 (Johnson). I don't regret it. If I could travel back in time and cast a new vote, I would make the same choices.
Fair enough. Bush and Trump voters liked those elections, so it isnít like you are alone.
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Old Yesterday, 08:52 PM
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Finally, people can vote according to what feels best to their political innards, regardless of policy outcome. Just like how a baseball fan who lives in New York or New England is by no means obligated to support the Yankees or Red Sox, even though those are by far the two most predominant teams in the region. He can support the Padres, Rangers, Twins or whichever team feels best to him.
You really think that comparing support for baseball teams is a good analogy to deciding who gets to have his finger on the Button?
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Old Today, 12:12 AM
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... You mention the Iraq War. How did prominent Democrats like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Joe Biden vote on the Iraq War resolution? How many countries did Obama send troops to while he was President? There is simply no reason to view the Democrats as an anti-war party when they actually are a pro-war party whenever they're in power....
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. WRONG!

I'm tired of hand-holding. Start a Pit thread if you need me to give you a cite.
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Old Today, 08:09 AM
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Voting for the only chance to defeat bigotry, hatred, and misogyny should be the default, and it's perfectly reasonable to criticize voters who choose not to do this, either to vote third party or not to vote at all (or, obviously, those who vote for the bigotry/hatred/misogyny). And some of this criticism, when paired with all kinds of other rhetorical strategies (i.e. gentle discussion, robust argument, and even satire and mockery) can be effective in swaying these voters.
No, it isn't. And no, it isn't.
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Old Today, 08:19 AM
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No, it isn't. And no, it isn't.
Wrong, and wrong!

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Old Today, 09:44 AM
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I do agree that this election is a terrible time for left wing voters to try to send a message to Democrats though, the stakes with Trump are just too high.
That's really the issue at hand here; it's a matter of priority- is it more important to send your message to the Democratic party that you REALLY are concerned about climate change and the environment by voting Green, or is it more important that you put one more vote in the tally against Trump and the GOP, knowing that the race will be close?

Ranked choice voting would allow for both, but we currently don't do that. So the real question is whether your message sending is more or less important than opposing the GOP.

I mean, if it was a more normal situation, in terms of having relatively sane Republican candidates who haven't gone off the deep end, versus centrist Democrats, then sending a message is probably admirable- you're getting a variation on the same theme, either way you vote with the major parties in that case.

But this isn't one of those cases- your option is the dumpster fire that is the Trump administration, versus something more sane. Sending a message by voting third party is a tacit vote for the GOP this time around. That's what third party voters are missing in this particular election.
  #28  
Old Today, 01:00 PM
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The only instance of a third party candidate who did not "take" votes from the other two parties was Perot in 1992. Turnout was so high that year, as compared to a typical election, that it is easily argued that Perot brought voters to the polls.

(This is borne out by analysis of down-ballot drop-off because you had a lot of people who came to vote for Perot and did so, essentially walking away from the rest of the ballot.)
  #29  
Old Today, 01:22 PM
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It's not that the Democrats and the Republicans are entitled to all the votes. It's that the Democrats and Republicans are the only parties that matter in American politics. Suck it up, third party supporters, it's true.

So the only way your vote matters is if you vote for a Democrat or a Republican. If you vote for some third party, you're just talking about politics without doing anything.

If you have a political issue that you think is important, you need to make a decision. Do you want to just complain about it or do you want to do something about it? If you want to do something about it, you need to join one of the two real political parties. They're the ones who are going to get elected and actually change things.

If you think you're "sending a message" by voting for a third party, you are. But the message you're sending is "You can ignore me and the issues I care about."
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