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A “Guess I’ll Vote Green” Rebuttal

22nd Jul 2016
berniegreen

Artist unknown.

From what I can glean, there are about 100 Green Party members serving in elected office, almost all of them in California with a few in Arkansas(?!) and none of them in Congress or as governor.

I think it’d be swell to have more than a two-party system, but I’m cool with the option before me this election. If you are not, and you genuinely give a crap about making a valid and valuable third party happen at the presidential level, you’d have been working consistently from the grassroots level up the chain. If you do and did, this is not directed at you and good for you and power to you. But it’s more probable that you don’t give that much of a crap and you probably won’t work for your citizenship any harder than standing in a line once every 4 years then asking for a sticker so your “I Voted!” status on Facebook can be accompanied by a picture.

You “Oh well, Guess I’ll vote Green”-ers only really care about making some sort of grand dramatic gesture when you “suddenly discover” that, woe is you, the two major party candidates don’t 100% agree with every nuance of your intermittent political interests (run for office if that’s what you want) and/or you didn’t get your way in the primary. Just backing some random alternative every four or eight years who draws votes away from one of the two major party nominees is not “voting your conscience.” It’s throwing away a vote for some (and more likely most) of the policies you believe in and handing lifetime Supreme Court appointments over to someone who will not uphold the laws you probably consider important.

Voting for policies rather than the candidates, this year at least, is voting your true conscience. So, with that said, if you dislike minorities, women and folks in the LGBTQ community enough that you don’t mind risking having the laws protecting them reversed and you don’t mind a president who supports kicking natural-born American citizens out with their immigrant families, extreme torture, war crimes, punishing women for having abortions, and blaming China for a “global warming hoax,” go ahead and vote Green in November, because you are, for all intents and purposes, voting Republican.

Otherwise, consider choosing the candidate that will at the very least uphold the status quo (but more likely will move your progressive ideals at least slightly forward). Meanwhile you can use those four oh-so-stagnant and bitter years to become a more involved citizen by actually participating in your government to make it what you want it to be, rather than pissing and moaning four months before a presidential election that you didn’t have the choices you wanted fall into your entitled lap.”

An addendum for those who claim that third parties Don’t impact the major party candidates:

Candidates2016

All photos © Reuters

The practical fact is that this presidential election is a binary outcome situation. We are (unfortunately) not in a place where a third-party candidate has a realistic chance of winning the presidency. I hope we are sooner than later, but in four months, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to be named the winner. With that premise in mind, to reiterate and expand, try to think of this not as voting for a person, but voting for policies — after all, a former Bernie supporter might, by policy, align more with Johnson than Stein. No assumptions about the candidates are being made here, just which of the two major candidates are for which policies.

If you are for state’s rights, smaller federal government, reversing the LGBTQ marriage rights, supporting the right to refuse service based on religious beliefs, stopping tax dollars from being spent on abortions, and appointing conservative justices to the Supreme Court, voting Libertarian is, practically speaking, weakening Trump’s final vote count.

If you are for LGBTQ, minority and women’s rights, strengthening federal public programs like universal healthcare, environmental protection and education, appointing liberal justices to the Supreme Court and believe that immigration reform does not necessitate the building of a giant wall, then voting Green is, practically speaking, taking votes away from Hillary.

Again, your policies may differ from the examples I gave. Your big issue may be being staunchly pro-Israel or pro- or anti-fracking, etc. The point is that casting your vote for the third party candidate, any third party candidate, does take a vote away from the major party candidate who would have best aligned with the policies you prioritize.

The question of Nader’s roll when George W. Bush won the election against Al Gore will probably never be definitively decided, but Gallup’s results show a meaningful, semi-scientific shot at understanding what the impact of a third party on the Democratic Party outcome was. If it came down to one state (Florida) and that state’s numbers were within hundreds and you add in Nader’s votes (or even significantly less to account for the Green Party folks who might have for some reason voted for Bush or who wouldn’t have voted at all), Gore either won that state or had a stronger case for a genuine recount. It can be fairly concluded that Nader cost Gore Florida and therefore the presidency.

An addendum for those who claim “I survived 8 years of Bush, I could Survive Trump”:

Things were a lot different then. And this is most often an answer borne of privilege. What’s at stake now, according to the official Republican Party platform, includes a massive attack on immigrants, minorities, women and LGBQT, not to mention millions of people who now have insurance under the Affordable Health Care Act. Here are a few excerpts that illustrate what would be (not could be) destroyed.

Defending Marriage Against an Activist Judiciary (p11)

Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values. We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a “judicial Putsch” — full of “silly extravagances” — that reduced “the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie.” In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This Act would protect the non-profit tax status of faith-based adoption agencies, the accreditation of religious educational institutions, the grants and contracts of faith-based charities and small businesses, and the licensing of religious professions — all of which are under assault by elements of the Democratic Party. We encourage every state to pass similar legislation.

Marriage, Family, and Society (p32)
For that reason, as explained elsewhere in this platform, we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states. We oppose government discrimination against businesses or entities which decline to sell items or services to individuals for activities that go against their religious views about such activities.

The Judiciary (p10)
Only such appointments will enable courts to begin to reverse the long line of activist decisions — including Roe, Obergefell, and the Obamacare cases — that have usurped Congress’s and states’ lawmaking authority, undermined constitutional protections, expanded the power of the judiciary at the expense of the people and their elected representatives, and stripped the people of their power to govern themselves.

Marriage, Family, and Society (p31)
All of which give us these truths about traditional marriage: Children raised in a two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage.

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