Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Strategic Voting

Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat, has a great post that needs reading. It really talks about the big picture. I applaud him.

He says:
When I was 25, I probably would have felt the same way. Voting was a personal thing, and my vote was for the candidate about whom I felt most strongly. Now, at the end of almost six decades of hard experience, I pursue voting as a strategic matter, and my vote is determined almost entirely by what I perceive to be the larger outcome, the consequences of the election in the broader context. If that vote happens to coincide with my personal preference for a candidate, that's nice... but my personal preference is not the determining factor in my vote. And I will argue that your personal preference should not be dispositive of your vote, either. Voting is, first and foremost, a civic duty, not a vehicle for personal satisfaction.


I cannot agree more. My first choice for a Democratic Candidate was Dennis Kuchinich. He dropped out, I moved on to John Edwards. He dropped out, and I moved on to Barack Obama. And if Hillary Clinton had become the nominee, I would have moved on to her. Voting is a resposibility, not a popularity contest. It is about a bigger picture. So to those people who say "Clinton lost, I'm not voting", I congratulate you in advance for helping hand the election to McCain. To those who intend to vote for a 3rd Party candidate, someone as unviable as Ralph Nadar or Ron Paul, again, this is a wasted vote. It is NOT making a statement. If you want to change the system, do it from within. It is possible.

Go read Steve Bates' full post. The Diva has spoken.

13 comments:

D.K. Raed said...

wow Diva we followed almost the same path. I cried when Kucinich formally dropped out; I was stunned when Edwards did so poorly in NV because I knew he'd be dropping out soon (it being a strong union state, he should've done much better). I will be proud to cast my vote for Obama, but would also have voted for Hillary if she had won the nomination. I do think I still vote my conscience, but it is tempered by broader analysis. McCain will only be elected by democratic voter apathy or protest bitterness, and that I think qualifies as a sin.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

The simple fact of the matter is, if you vote any way other than for the front runner of your party, you handed your vote to the other party.

Now if we could have just a teeny more say in who the front runners are.....

Ingrid said...

I did support Ralph Nader at 2004 but now I don't. I'm really an Independent and this two party ping pong system drives me batty. people accept the status quo knowing it's not good but during election time.. they still go according to the big picture. That said, and since I'm a poli sci major, I do agree with that on the one hand. I also think that if the Libertarians got their heads out of their collective you know whatsies, and worked together with independents, they could actually become a great voting block on the state level and make some good electoral changes. To me, in this country, it's not about federal that gives people true voting power, but state politics does.
THAT said, I wished I could vote because i can't; I'm not American but I told my Dem friends that if Obama became President, I'd apply for citizenship. Then there will be some hope for this country and mankind too!
You are right though, making a statement is one thing, having your vote count is another..
there has got to be better ways to make a statement.. (like Kommandos Project; http://kommandos.blogspot.com/ )

Ingrid

Frederick said...

I simply have to disagree with your assessment of third parties. I'm convinced Barack will win, he is the better candidate, thusly I'd rather help a third party try to meet the threshhold.

Dusty said...

Excellent points..I am crossposting this at Sirens Diva. :)

DivaJood said...

DK, we might be twins separated at birth, except I was not a twin. I do think I still vote my conscience, but it is tempered by broader analysis. What a great way to put it. And what I've come to really respect about Obama is that this is exactly how he works. He is quite good at bringing people together to build for the greater good.

TUA, we have tremendous say in who the front runners are. Unfortunately, the majority of people are apathetic and don't bother to vote. They don't bother to read. And not to decide is a decision.

Ingrid, thanks for coming by. Again, I think it is more about voter apathy and the American prediliction to not pay attention to anything thoughtful. The majority of Americans really define the lowest common denominator. I would urge you to apply for citizenship regardless of who wins, because I believe that every thoughtful voice counts.

Frederick, this is exactly why I said that while I disagree with you, and you with me, I do respect your choice. However, in my opinion, the best way to pursue real independence is to work within the system to change it. So if that means creating a viable third party, I would go for it. But in my experience, all third party candidates I have seen so far have been pretty marginal and unacceptible choices. Ron Paul? He's very right wing, with only his anti-war position going for him.

Dusty, thank you! I always forget. You should send me a daily kick in the pants saying "Sirens. Post at Sirens."

robin andrea said...

Excellent and logical, just the way I like a good point made.

DivaJood said...

Robin, thank you. I rarely follow logic, so that's a real compliment.

Steve Bates said...

Thank you, Diva Jood, for spreading a much-needed conversation to a wider variety of participants. Thanks to you, Frederick and Fallenmonk, I've seen discussions of approaches to voting on several blogs now. That has to be a good thing!

D.K. Raed said...

Diva, we "might be twins separated at birth" except I am not blond, nor do I have orgasmic lips! OK, sorry to diverge from the discussion, I just couldn't resist.

And thanks for the link to Steve Bates' excellent post! I can't believe it would lose him any friends. A no vote is a vote for McCain, just the same as the most rabid irrational replicant republican who automatically touches anything on the voting screen with an (R) after its name.

If a viable 3rd party were going to make a run at the presidency this year, they would've already emerged & be fronting candidates & getting on each state's ballots. My everlasting thanks to Ross Perot for keeping H.W. from a 2nd term aside, I think the last 3rd party challenge with any chance of success was Teddy R with his Bullmoose Party and even that failed. Still, if the past is any indication of the future, we will get a viable 3rd party one day -- otherwise we'd still be voting for whigs & tories.

DivaJood said...

Steve, your post was the most sensible argument for not voting 3rd party or sitting it out that I've ever read. So of course I wanted to link it and refer people to you.

DK, I might not be blond anymore either, but only my hairdresser knows. Yes, a viable 3rd party will eventually evolve - it has to - but frankly, over the years all we've been offered are marginal candidates and a guy with Dumbo ears (yes, Perot kept GHW Bush from a second term, but still.)(Several years ago, I was visiting a friend in Dallas who took me past Perot's house - the gates had the letters RP in gold but the way they were written mimicked his ears. We also drove past Mary Kay's house, which was pink.)

Fran said...

Hmmmm what can I say here that has not already been said? How could a dem vote for McCain? A war monger? Seriously?

DivaJood said...

Fran, extremely prejudiced people will not vote for him.