November 16th, 2016


On Third Parties

I was a paid staffer for Phillies 2008, a Libertarian Party Presidential Campaign. By then, I was already identifying as a Small Government Socialist, so I got an inside view into the Party with an outsider's perspective. George had no intention of winning the election. He had no intention of getting the 5% of votes necessary to win Federal Funding for future Libertarian Presidential candidates. His one and only goal was to spread the message of Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty. He didn't get the nomination.

See, the problem with Third Parties in America is that they've watched too many underdog movies. They remember that Lincoln was the first Republican President, but they ignore they course of events that led to that Presidency. The Whig Party had coalesced in the early 19th Century in opposition to Andrew Jackson's platform of expansionism and genocide, with the explicit goals of protecting American businesses and empowering the Legislative Branch to limit the power of the Executive. It broke up in the 1850s over the question of Abolition. Most of the members of the Radical Republicans were former Whigs. When Abraham Lincoln joined the Republican Party, most of the Governors of the Northern States were already Republicans.  And when he won the White House, he brought with him Majority Control of both houses of Congress. Contrast with the Libertarian Party, which has never won a single seat in Congress. Or the Green Party, which has never won a single seat in Congress.

Now I know I'm very very angry at those voters in swing states that voted for Johnson (I'm also angry at those voters in swing states that voted for Stein or really anyone other than Clinton, but those numbers are less impressive). I know I bitterly and angrily told friends both here in MA and further afield to not risk Human Civilization to vote Third Party, but some did it anyway. Why? Because it feels good. And if the stakes are this high, we have to find a way to get people to come together and do what is right and feel good about it. And if they didn't feel good voting for Clinton, then we needed to reframe the proposition so that they got to do what feels good and help Clinton get elected. We did not get enough people to feel good about voting for Clinton, and at the end of the day, that's why she lost.

I propose a new system. The stick did not work, so let's try the carrot. I take as given that anyone reading this will accept that electing a Democrat in 2020 is better for the country than electing a Republican. Add in the alternatives and we have:

Vote Democrat >> Vote Third Party >> No Vote >> Vote Republican

If we default the Opposition to Trumpery to the Vote Democrat state, in order for you, gentle reader, to move Right, you need to get five people to move Left. Why five? Sampling error, for one. You may think you've moved someone left when they really were voting left anyway. You may think you've moved someone left when it was really a team effort and multiple people earned the "reward" of being able to vote Third Party. You may think you've moved someone left but they're really just going to vote Republican anyway. You may think you've moved someone left who's no longer able to successfully cast a ballot due to Voter Suppression schemes. So that's the deal. Make plans with your Conservative-leaning and Far-Left-leaning friends to go out and vote. Work out the plans of when and how and for whom you're going to vote. Hold them to their word that they'll vote to oppose Trumpery in all its forms. Vote for whoever you damn well please, but only as long as you can point to five people who are going to Move Left.