“You’re just taking a vote away from (preferred candidate) and helping to elect (undesirable candidate).”
“You’re wasting your vote if you vote for him.”
If you’ve ever voted 3rd party in America, you’ve probably heard one or more of these bromides. I’ve been hearing them, from people I like & respect, ever since I cast my first vote for president for H. Ross Perot in 1992. One former coworker told me that I “basically helped to elect (Bill) Clinton.” Why do some folks say such things?
Any implication that Mr. Perot had ‘no chance to win’ was mathematically untrue since he was on the ballot in all 50 states. Regardless, when did voting for president become akin to going to the racetrack to pick a winner?? Your vote is an expression of your beliefs. The collective will of all who vote for the same person could influence public policy. Look at the effect socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had on the democratic platform. The only wasted vote is for someone not seeking the office.
My friend likely knew about Perot’s ballot presence. I believe he was coming from the ‘herding the sheep’ point-of-view. When I started paying more attention to politics years later, the caricature of a politician started becoming clearer to me: kissing babies, photo-ops of feeding the homeless, speaking from an aircraft carrier, etc. These are public relations efforts to present themselves in the best possible light to voters who pay the least possible attention to politics. Sheep.
Some sheep feed you the ‘wasted vote’ drivel themselves. That could emanate from their insecurity, since you’ve likely given it comparatively more thought, and your principles are probably more firm. You know what republicans & democrats working to “get things done” means; $19,000,000,000,000.00 in debt, 10s of 1000s of pages of onerous regulations, compromised freedoms, excessive foreign intervention, etc. A sense of inadequacy overcomes them and they get defensive.
The ultimate peddlers of the ‘wasted vote’ silliness are those who derive their power from the status quo. It’s the politicians, like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who recently bent reality when he said “you don’t get a third option.” It’s the ‘party strategists’ who flow seamlessly from campaigns to cable news. It’s the favor-seeking lobbyists, “80% of whom would get pink slips” if former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson could “wave a magic wand” and institute the Fair Tax.
My friend is a party guy, once a delegate to a national GOP convention. He’s currently a local elected official here in Texas. In recent years however, he’s credited me for his move in a more libertarian direction, going so far as to possibly voting for that party’s nominee this year, Governor Johnson.
When you stick to your guns, and can civilly back up your position with more than mere talking points, you’ll get people’s attention. I’m not even 100% comfortable with the label ‘libertarian’. All I’m doing is voting based on the principles of our founding, as I understand them: freedom, liberty & the constitution. Those values are simple to understand & maintain. The constitution itself is only 21 pages long. Add a little humility regarding issues you know less about and reasonable people will listen.
If you encounter such an opportunity, here are a few questions to put to them:
Why do some on the left think I should be forced to serve someone? According to the 1st amendment, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble”. If I refused service to someone based on her ethnicity or sexual orientation, how long would it take to be publicized? Only as long as it takes to post on social media. There is no better way to succeed in a free society than to treat others fairly. Why do we need Big Brother to enforce that upon us??
Why do some on the left think the government knows best how to allocate charitable giving? According to one of their ads I saw recently, HEB grocery donated enough food in 2015 to feed 21,000 people three squares a day. If the 16 bigger, Texas-based public companies made commensurate charitable donations, 1.2 million more Texans would be equally fed. If all the time & monetary donations of every company & household in Texas is taken into account, is it much of a stretch to think that all those who truly need help could get it??
Recently, a young, homeless black man was found by police under a tent he pitched in the bushes of the college in Georgia where he was waiting for his dorm to open. Instead of arresting him, they put him up in a hotel for two nights. The rest community paid to keep him there until the dorm opened, also donating tens of $1000s to help him out. And, a local pizzeria gave him a job. He knew none of them had to help him, and that they were taking some measure of risk in doing so. Isn’t that the kind of thing tightly-woven communities are made out of, rather than a faceless government bureaucracy?
Why do some on the right feel the need to regulate what goes on in my house if no one gets hurt? If a man & woman want to marry, one stay at home with their kids, eschew every drug right down to caffeine, great! Not everyone chooses the same path, though. Some may choose a partner of the same sex. Some may choose daycare. Some may not want kids. Some may choose to drink coffee, or ingest other drugs. Some may divorce. If the kids are well-cared for, going to school, and not running afoul of the law, why is THEIR business any of YOUR business, or that of your neighbor, or someone 5 states away??
Why do some on the left feel a higher rate of taxation is in order the more I earn? When Adam Smith said we should “contribute towards the support of the government … in proportion to … the revenue which (we) respectively enjoy under the protection of the state”, he didn’t mean increasing proportion.
Only ignorance or envy could explain that. At first glance, it’s understandably counterintuitive that tax revenues rise when taxes are cut or streamlined. Yet that has always been the result. We don’t live in a static society. Private funds freed up for productive endeavors create more taxable activities. Once that’s learned, we’re left with envy. How else to explain the forfeiture of adequate tax revenues to fund the social programs the left so cherishes?
I was fortunate to grow up with people who make productive contributions to society. They help people rehabilitate their bodies. They ship goods across the country. They keep us up to speed technologically. They make our downtowns sparkle. They keep our neighborhoods aesthetically pleasing. They’ve defended our country. They promote healthy & sustainable living. They give to charity. They adopt orphans. Must have been something in the water down in Victoria, Texas …
They shouldn’t have to hassle with regulation borne of laziness, willful ignorance & bruised feelings. They shouldn’t have to spend countless hours & resources to learn how much they have to fork over to Uncle Sam. Insult, meet injury. In economics, we call this deadweight loss. Moreover, we have whole industries, run by good & decent people, built to help companies deal with such hindrances. Tax preparers/departments, expanded audit outfits, compliance professionals/lawyers, etc. They’re like barnacles attached to the freighters of commerce.
Why do some on the right feel the government should be run by God’s will? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” Yet some folks vote republican because it’s the “party of god”, or protector of religious liberty. The latter has some relevance since the left seems uptight about religious public displays, or prayer in public school, etc. I’m no expert on first amendment court cases, but the text is pretty clear. We neither need the government to promote God, nor to protect our delicate sensibilities.
Why do some on the right feel they need to control the art I enjoy? Fortunately, my parents never came down too hard on me as my musical tastes progressed from Hall & Oates to Slayer. I check out the music my girls want to buy. That’s my job as their parent. What’s troublesome are the groups of moralists like those in the Kevin Bacon movie “Footloose”. Gene Simmons of KISS once hit the nail on the head when he said “If you don’t like what you’re hearing, change the channel.”
Why does the left fail to comprehend the logic of human nature?
- Low skilled workers earn low wages. If wages are artificially propped up by government, such folks are less likely to find jobs;
- If someone wanting to do harm knows a place is ‘weapon-free’, she knows she’ll face little-to-no resistance. If private citizens can carry a concealed weapon, such an attack is less likely;
- If a person can pull more from unemployment, ‘disability’ or some other form of public assistance than he would earn from a job, he’s less likely to take a job.
Why do some on the right feel the need to meddle in the affairs of other countries? Since World War II, we’ve established hundreds of military bases around the world in an effort to contain the Soviet Union and secure a reliable supply of oil. Today, the U.S.S.R. is gone, and American ingenuity has produced so much oil that the world price recently cratered by 3/4! So why can’t the defense budget be trimmed? Is there some unwritten rule that we have to spend more than other countries, while they maintain their social welfare states (nevermind that ours is on track to cripple us)? Why do we need to maintain such a permanent global footprint? Moreover, why do we remain so involved in a region so steeped in internal strife, switching sides depending on the decade? Why, when many of them have values so different than ours?
I count as friends almost a dozen former military folks, as well as an active-duty colonel. A majority of them are supporting Governor Johnson for president, while a couple more say they might, too. One of them tells me that “a majority” of the soldiers with whom his daughter serves are also pro-Johnson. This is borne out in a recent poll of active duty military that finds Governor Johnson leading businessman Donald Trump & former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 39 to 31 & 14, respectively. Maybe a more authentic way of ‘supporting the troops’ is giving some respect to these figures, rather than reflexively supporting more funding for military operations about which their preferred candidate is skeptical.
I was a sheep when I voted for Perot back in 1992. When I asked that future colonel who he was voting for, he replied “I dunno, probably that billionaire.” Based on some polling, young voters today indicate they’ll vote for Governor Johnson over Mr. Trump. And that figure will probably grow now that the support they gave to Senator Sanders is unlikely to shift en masse to Mrs. Clinton.
We do a disservice to those younger folks if we allow ourselves to become so jaded that we vocally ‘choose between the lesser of two evils’. I wonder how many of those folks tell pollsters that America is on the “wrong track”, or that they expect future generations to be worse off. How hypocritical to then so disparagingly dismiss a more reputable 3rd option.
What’s more ‘evil’ than such prophetically self-fulfilling behavior?