Saturday, September 27, 2008

On voting

I had originally planned to do a major screed on the philosophy of voting prior to the elections in November, but an ongoing discussion thread has convinced me that the time is now.

However you want to boil it down, there are three predominant philosophies for voting in an election where two unpalatable candidates are representing the major political parties:

  1. Boycott the election - it's futile, because the elites have stacked the deck. Major proponents: Vox Day and Nate (Der Hausfraurer).
  2. YOU HAVE TO VOTE!!!!!!! Vote the lesser of two evils! Hold your nose and vote for the guy with the 'R' or 'D' after their name, regardless of whether you like, respect, or agree with them, because this is the most importantest election ever and the future of the Supreme Court depends on it!!!!! Major proponents: Rachel Lucas and Dr. Helen.
  3. Vote for anyone BUT the major party candidates. Major proponent: the Vulture.
Each approach has its pros and cons. But only one is a winner.

Boycott the election!
The "boycott" crowd gets to stand up and say, "This government is illegitimate and I refuse to participate in its sham elections." They get to stand off to the side and (rightfully) point out that whether you vote for the guy with the 'R' after his name or the guy with the 'D' after his name, you'll get the same results, because the president isn't really "running" things, the elites are.

But this is where the "boycott" crowd has it all wrong. The elites don't give two shits whether you vote or not. In fact, the statist media will point to your non-vote as "apathy among the electorate". Your "boycott" will be viewed by the elite as a de facto acquiescence to "the system". You meant to send a message saying the process is illegitimate. The message that is received is "we don't care who's in charge". That's a very bad message, trust me.

Vote for 'our' guy
The "OMGs YOU HAFTA VOTE FOR 'OUR' GUY!!!!!!!!!" crowd is just a little too tightly wound for their own good (sorry mark and dw). I know that Limbaugh and other blatherers have you all wound up because of the Supreme Court. It's the trump card for the pro-status quo crowd. "Sure, Candidate A sucks...but at least we can count on him to appoint the right judges to the Supreme Court".

Again, wrong. Ronald Reagan, the gold standard for Republicans, appointed Sandra Day O'Connor, William Rehnquist, and Anthony Kennedy. One dud, one excellent choice, one statist/leftist. In fairness, it must be noted that Reagan also nominated Robert Bork, who was rejected by the Senate because he actually believed in the Constitution. Bush 41 appointed David Souter and Clarence Thomas. One ultra-leftist, one excellent choice. King George the Dim succeeded in getting John Roberts and Samuel Alito appointed. Both are generally conservative, sure, but both are pro-Homeland Security apparatchiks. And let's not forget that he originally nominated the gawdawful Harriett Miers before Alito. Call that three bad choices.

So the scorecard reads: 2 excellent choices (and 1 excellent choice rejected), 2 bad choices (and an additional horrendous nominee), 1 dud, and 2 leftists. And this is from the last three presidents from Team Elephant!

How'd Clinton do? He appointed Ruth Vader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer - two gawdawful ultra-leftists.

The previous Team Donkey president, the peerlessly awful Jimmy Carter, didn't have the opportunity to appoint any justices. Thank God! The way he effed up everything else, there's no telling who he would have nominated!

Aha, you say! You just made my point! No, sadly, I didn't. With Team Donkey, you know what you're getting with the Supreme Court: Ultra-leftist nominees. A Senate with any stones will REJECT those nominees; sadly, the Team Elephant-dominated Senate of the 90's approved Clinton's nominees. Aha, I say! I just made my point!

Team Elephant gets about 1 in 4 nominees right. Team Donkey gets all of theirs wrong...but it doesn't matter because Team Elephant doesn't have the spine to oppose gawdawful candidates! Voting based on who will appoint Supreme Court justices is a losing argument.

Last point: there is no such thing as voting for the lesser of two evils. Once elected, the "lesser evil" becomes "the evil". If you wouldn't have voted for candidate A in the primaries, based on their unsuitablity for the office, then don't vote for candidate A in the general election, either. Be consistent and vote your conscience, always.

Vote for anyone BUT the mainstream candidates
The Vulture's way is simple: vote contrarian. Send the elites this message: "I care enough to vote...and I reject your hand-picked BS candidates!" No ambiguity, as is the case with the boycott crowd. No "I'm perfectly fine with the elite's choices of candidates" message, as with the "VOTE OUR GUY!!!!" crowd. Just a protest vote, pure and simple.

The downside? If the Vulture goes to the polls and casts his one lonely protest vote, he's just a crank and can be easily dismissed by the elite. But if the Vulture is joined by several million of his fellow citizens? THEN the elite has to sit up and take notice! My way only works if it becomes a grass-roots movement; sadly, in 21st century America, my way isn't even on the cultural radar.

So what's a curmudgeonly avian to do? I'm voting my conscience. I voted for Ron Paul in the primaries. I'm writing in Ron Paul in the general election. He won't win. I know that. But I won't send a message of apathy to the elites, and I won't send a message of "your candidates are swell!" to them, either. It'll be one lonely vote. But it will be done with a clear conscience and without compromise to my principles.

Really, should a person ever vote any other way?