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Vote With Your Heart--But Vote Smart

Updated on October 3, 2012

Sending A Message

On October 2nd, I attended a debate at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, PA. The topic was whether progressives should support Obama or vote for a third party candidate from the Green or Justice party. As a progressive who supported Obama, but now am disappointed at how much ground he gave up to the reactionaries of the GOP and "Tea Party", I was interested to hear what both points of view had to say.

I have to give the win to the argument for the third party route. The point that I think clinched his case was when he argued that 3rd parties have managed to influence the major parties. The Prohibitionist Party, despite not winning any major elected office, were able to ammend the Constitution! The Socialist Party was able to get labor laws passed. It could be argued that the DixieCrats were crucial in getting the Republicans to shift to the right.

Could a strong run by the Green or Justice candidate send a message to Obama to get back to the Democratic Base? On the other hand, could a strong run by the Libertarian candidate shift the Republicans closer towards the party of, by, and for the "%1" they are becoming?

But would I, or could I, back the Green or Justice party? It may depend. If the election in Pennsylvania is close, and the national election is close, I may once again need to "hold my nose" and vote for the lesser of the two evils; as I could see a Romney regime as putting America on a path that may have on one endpoint. But what if Obama has a lead in both polls? A protest vote may not hurt at all, it may help send the message that a return to the ideals of people like Paul Wellstone, Dennis Kucinich and Bernie Saunders is what I will take to bring people like me back into the fold.

A conservative or reactionary may wish to do the same when considering to vote for Gary Johnson, etc?

Finally, a progressive Democrat in Alabama or South Carolina, or a conservative in Vermont, could also wonder if a protest vote would really hurt that much along the same lines of thought.

A few more political parties in the United States would not be a bad thing. It's a matter of intelligently expanding the debate.


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    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 5 years ago from Citra Florida

      My heart is with a third party by my head stays with Obama. I live in Florida and we already gave the world President Bush. I can only hope that we do not repeat that performance.

      Also, I think we could use a third party planted squarely in the rational middle. I think that a party like that would quickly overwhelm both current parties. At the moment, rational Moderates have nowhere to go.

      In last night's debate, Romney was debating his own positions, he wants to keep parts of Obamacare and repeal all of Obamacare.

      He supports a 20% tax reduction but denies the numbers needed to make it work. In short, if you are uninformed, Romney is your guy.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

      I think at this point all we can hope is that Romney will blow it during these debates. I stand by the statement I've made over and over again that he doesn't think on his feet very well. His brain is often disengaged from his mouth. I hope he is true to form in these debates so that America can really see what their asking for. This is not the man I want negotiating with world powers. I think he so accustomed to being a bully in the boardroom that I don't think he knows how to be a diplomat.

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image

      TeaPartyCrasher 5 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      That was a point that the 3rd party speaker made as well.

      As for the "Nightmare Scenario" of a Romney win. "The Nation" did an article along those lines, and I think more than a few progressives would like to see it come to pass. They don't realize what the end result would be--or do they?

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

      I have long been a upporter of a third party but have seen the effect of those votes causing the best candidate of a two party system to lose. It's a genuine risk. At this point, I will have to vote for Obama, I think. Romney is not an option for me. This may be the worst election for choice of my lifetime and it is downright frightening. Great hub! Voted up.

    • junkseller profile image

      junkseller 5 years ago from Michigan

      My personal view is that both main candidates are sinking ships. Romney would just sink a bit faster. I don't want to be on either so am bailing out and voting for Jill Stein. I wrote a pretty lengthy hub on her which includes a lot of videos of her actually speaking if you'd like to check it out.

      A part of me almost wouldn't mind Romney winning. I mean if we're going down either way, we might as well get it over with quickly.