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A minor


Friday, October 29, 2004

More Boring Politics
In a comment below, Patrick asked a good, honest question:

What do you find objectionable about some of the 'other' parties, such as the Libertarian or Constitution parties? I know the argument is 'why vote for someone who can't win' but I feel that a vote for a third party is at least a vote against the two party system which we're so entrenched in. It may take a long time for people to recognize them as legitmate, but Rome wasn't built in a day.
Since I'm not yet registered to vote in Louisiana, it's really a moot point for me this time around, but I'll take a stab at answering anyway. I think the platform of the Libertarian Party tends to be only one step removed from anarchy - not that that's necessarily or always a bad thing* - but the anarchist tendencies of the party are enough to keep me from, say, registering Libertarian (if that were even an option, which I don't think it is in Louisiana) or voting consistently Libertarian. And while I agree with much of the platform of the Constitution Party, there are other parts of it that I find incredibly idealistic and insupportable (e.g. the whole notion of restoring America's pure and perfect Christian foundations, as bequeathed to us once and for all in the infallible and inerrant U.S. Constitution**).

This isn't really an answer to your question, but overall I find the platforms of both the Libertarian and Constitution parties to be about as objectionable as the Republican or Democratic platforms. And, I should add that in principle I have no problem with voting third-party. (By the way, the VotePact strategy looks interesting.) But I will say this: I recently watched a PBS documentary on 2004's third-party frontrunners, and I would vote for Badnarik (Libertarian) or Nader (Independent/Reform) before Peroutka (Constitution), just given my impression of their levels of competence. Maybe the filmmaker spun Peroutka in a subtly negative way or something (although the presentation appeared rather objective), but Peroutka struck me as completely inadequate for the office of President. Suffice it to say that if by some divine joke he won, he would be impeached his second day in office. And honestly, the same might well be true of Nader. Badnarik on the other hand - he seemed like a pretty capable yet humble man who'd be up to the task (although, of course, he'll never win).

I hate our two-party system, and I'm always tempted to vote third-party just to be a statistic. But I'd like to be able to oppose the two-party system in another, more radical way. I'd like to see a "none of the above" or "abstain" vote as an option on the ballot. I'd much prefer to be one of those statistics than to [a] vote for an unconscionable Republican or Democratic candidate or [b] vote for some idealist with too much time on his hands who wants me to help fund his vain project.

But maybe I'm the idealist. I'm certainly a perfectionist, imperfect as I am.***

* See e.g. this site or this page, although I just found the latter via Google and thought the page title looked interesting; I haven't read it yet, so can't vouch for its quality.
** Cf. Google's cache of this recent post by Jeff Meyers, "The Myth of Our Christian Constitution," which favorably links a piece by Gary North (after the usual qualifications).
*** One of these days someone (like maybe Alastair) needs to teach me how to create linked endnotes.

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