Friday, May 6, 2016

Why You Should Vote Third-Party

So, have you read Matt Walsh’s spittle-flecked nutty in The Blaze? If not, let me give you the quick-’n-dirty on it: Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, so Walsh is quitting the party. That’s it, stripped of all the Sturm und Drang worthy of a Hollywood diva.

What a Primary Season!

I quit the Republican Party a couple decades ago. Even back then, it seemed the GOP’s sole interest was in punishing poor people and returning us to a laissez-faire economy under the guise of saving taxpayer dollars, working just hard enough for pro-life initiatives to keep the “values voters” in their camp. Despite all the press ballyhoo about the “Religious Right”, there was nothing really religious about Republicans save in their devotion to Mammon.

Nevertheless, I never predicted that the GOP, the Party of Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, and Reagan, would devolve so far as to become an inept, mindless pack of howler monkeys who couldn’t pick a suitable candidate if God Himself told them who to vote for.

Yesterday, a Republican in Indiana told the media she’s voting for Trump because he’s a “different kind of liar.” The day before, Cruz attempted to have a reasoned dialogue with a couple of Trump supporters who responded to all of the senator’s arguments by shouting slogans and pumping their fists. Trump fans perform even less admirably in cyberspace, where an impassioned collection of anti-Semites and white nationalists work tirelessly to confirm every negative and cartoonish stereotype liberals have ever concocted about Republicans.

For awhile, the Democrat primaries were actually interesting to watch. For a few months, it looked like the Dems actually had some steel in their spines and wouldn’t just lay down for Hillary Clinton to walk all over them. That is, it was interesting until it became clear even to hopelessly romantic dummies like me that the Democrat primary system was rigged from the beginning to produce a Clinton nomination. Now it’s become a dreary exercise in waiting for Bernie Sanders to throw in the towel.

Why I’m Voting, and For Whom

Let me make it clear: I will not vote for Donald Trump. I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. Your vote is your consent to have a particular person fill a particular office. I do not consent to either Trump or Clinton setting themselves forth as my Chief Executive and Head of State. Nolo consentire. Je ne consens pas. I do not consent.

However, I also object to the so-called “Amish vote”, in which one votes for local and state officials but not for national officers. Failure to vote is to consent by silence to whatever crooks and fools others vote into office. I say again, I do not consent, and I will not consent by my silence any more than I will consent with my voice or my vote.

Back in March, I wrote an article for Catholic Stand explaining why it’s not any Catholic voter’s duty to pick the “lesser of two evils”. Here it is in a nutshell: You are not responsible for who wins or loses. You are only accountable for your own vote. You are not to blame if the rest of the country picks either “a felonious hag or a fascist blowhard” (as Andrew Klavan put it). No one has the right to buffalo you into voting for anyone to whom you have reasonable objections … or even unreasonable objections. You should always vote your conscience, even if your conscience pushes you to vote for someone who has no reasonable hope of winning.

Come this November, I intend to vote for Joe Schriner. (Click here to see his positions list.) I agree with many if not most of his positions; those I disagree with, I disagree on pragmatic grounds rather than moral. I especially like his “consistent life ethic”, his distributist economic proposals, his military proposals, and his plans for making amends with African-Americans. (I’d vote for my friend, Verdel Boettcher — it would be great to have a Native American President — but I don’t know his positions.)

“But … but … you’re wasting your vote!” I hear you cry. “A vote for Joe Schriner is a vote for Hillary Trump!” No; a vote for Joe Schriner is a vote for Joe Schriner — no more, no less. In fact, it’s precisely because a vote for a third-party candidate denies a vote to both that people considering voting for one against the other should vote third-party instead.

The “Popular Mandate”

Here’s the deal: Under our electoral system, a candidate need not win a majority of the popular vote to win a majority of electoral votes. In fact, in 1992, Bill Clinton carried 32 states and DC for 370 electoral votes, but only gained 43.01% of the popular vote. Independent candidate H. Ross Perot drew votes from both Clinton and Pres. George H. W. Bush, and even led the polling for awhile; had he not dropped out of the race for several weeks, he might very well have gone on to win that election.

Why does this matter? Because politicians who win office by a majority of the popular vote — even if the majority is only 50.01% — like to claim a “mandate” for their actions. The greater the majority, the more plausible the claim; a candidate who wins more than 60% of the popular vote can damn near get away with murder (at least, in the early part of his term). A minority winner, however, starts out with no clear claim to a “popular mandate”, and therefore has to work harder and make more compromises to build popular support.

As Walsh reminds us, every poll taken to date which has pit the candidates against each other has shown Clinton beating Trump hands down. Every vote cast for Hillary Clinton “because #NeverTrump” increases the likelihood that she will win not only the majority of the electoral votes but also the majority of the popular vote. So let me ask you this: if you don’t like or trust Hillary Clinton, then why the hell would you want her to think she’s got a “popular mandate” for her shenanigans?

The same holds true for those who plan to vote for Trump “because #NeverHillary”: Trump’s candidacy from the beginning has defied all reasonable expectations and wise prognostications of his inevitable failure. It’s highly unlikely that as many people will vote for Trump against Hillary as will vote for Hillary against Trump. Nevertheless: if you don’t like or trust The Donald, why the hell would you increase the possibility of his winning, let alone (God forbid!) getting a “popular mandate” for his lunacy?

Every vote for a third-party candidate is not only a vote taken away from Trump’s possibility of winning but also a vote taken away from Clinton’s possibility of a popular mandate. The math doesn’t work the same for an “Amish vote”: if you don’t cast a vote in the presidential race, it doesn’t affect the percentages any more than if you didn’t show up to vote at all. If we have to suffer Hillary Clinton, it’s better she start out knowing she’s not trusted and not liked, and that she’ll have to work hard to gain our trust and respect.

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Finally, the whole thing about third-party candidates not winning is a self-fulfilling prophecy: they don’t win because people tell themselves they can’t win, and therefore don’t vote for them (the old rule of Chicago-style machine politics: Don’t back no losers). If people would stop thinking like that — if people would vote for the candidates they want, instead of voting for candidates they don’t want in order to “keep that other so-and-so from winning,” or because “the guy I want can’t possibly win” — third-party candidates would stand a better chance. We’re not constitutionally required to have a two-party system, nor are we morally obligated to keep the two-party hegemony alive. Remember Ross Perot, who came close to disproving the prophecy; all it takes to shake up a race is one attractive candidate who has the insight to play the game smart.

So don’t tell me I’m wasting my vote by going for Joe Schriner. Don’t tell me I’m morally obligated to vote for Trump to prevent Hillary from winning, or that I’m morally obligated to vote for Hillary to prevent Trump from winning. If you don’t really want either one of them in the White House, don’t vote for either one of them. Do not consent, with either your vote or your silence. Vote for someone else, someone you would rather trust with the most powerful office on Earth. It’s not only your right but your moral obligation.

Nolite consentire. Do not consent.