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Vote With Your Heart--But Vote Smart
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.