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Monday, November 7, 2016

Dear 3rd Party supporters: Your smuggery makes you look foolish, not enlightened.

This will be a bit of a rant post.  I have a few Facebook friends that are voting 3rd party.  As I've said before, I don't necessarily have a problem with people voting 3rd party as long as they are willing to own the ramifications of their decision.  I'll talk more about that further down.  However, what I don't like is the smuggery that comes from the memes that get shared.   See, I expect smuggery from liberals.  I expect them to say things that indicate a lack of critical thinking.  I expect them to ironically believe they are the smart and informed ones.  I don't expect this from people that typically reject liberal ideology and espouse more constitutionally aligned principles.  But yet, that's what I'm seeing.  Let me give you a few examples...

According to this meme, people complain but are too naive/dumb/unaware/afraid to vote for a 3rd party candidate.  According to this meme, the only option if you dislike both parties is to vote 3rd party.  I guess they're unaware of the internal struggle that has gone on in the Republican party ever since Reagan left office and even more recently the internal strife within the Democrat party this primary season.  I guess this meme didn't take into account that when someone bitches about these parties, they may indeed be bitching about certain elements within the party that they want to change.  I guess this meme has never heard of conservative vs establishment Republicans.  So in an attempt to look profound, this meme instead looks foolish for oversimplifying the social landscape each party has and the effort many people within the party go to the change their particular party for the better.

This is a great one.  Any time anyone throws out the "have you ever considered.." line, the implication is that you haven't and that they, those writing/saying the meme, have done so and are therefore more enlightened.  This meme pretty much is saying that people who are supporting Trump or Hillary are just sheeple caught up in sensationalism and celebrity worship.  The irony is by saying this, it shows how foolish this meme is because at least Trump has put out policy plans on just about everything and they appear quite good to me.  Lowering taxes for everyone? Yes.  Congressional term limits? Yes.  Taxing products of American based companies manufactured overseas? Yes.  Build the wall? Yes.  A more conservative Supreme Court bench? Yes.  Not all his policies are perfect, but they don't have to be.  They're taking the right direction and are achievable.  Naturally they can be picked apart by partisan think tanks and the like, but that doesn't immediately invalidate their worth to the point the policy is "beyond dumb".  

It also shallowly lumps all supporters as having a single sheeple mindset, ironically pointing out their own shallow regard for Trump and Hillary supporters.  And it reveals a very selective nature to Trump's history since it ignores some things he has been saying all along (like our trade deal problem, his disdain for government waste) and instead chooses to point out the history where his positions may have changed from over a decade ago.  Again there's the smuggery that people supporting him aren't aware of this when in fact many are aware, but take a more adult approach to weighing a candidate's value.

This one isn't smug really.  It's just naive.  It's quite telling when they use the definitive "Period".  In their argument.  It points to an unwillingness to consider they may be wrong and an unwillingness to defend their statement.   Because let me put this plainly:

Strictly voting for the candidate you identify most with is simplistic and naive.

It's naive because it doesn't take the consequences and ramifications of one's vote account.  And as an adult, is it ever wise to make an important decision without first considering the consequences of that decision?   For example, even if you desperately need a car, do you just go out and buy the first one that meets your needs?  Do you not consider if you can actually afford the car? Do you not consider how it will handle in the winter?  Do you not consider how dependable it is? Do you not consider its safety rating? If it's been in any accidents?  How much the insurance will cost?  Of course you do all (or most) of those things.  Why? Because the choice of a new vehicle is going to impact your financial situation for the next few years and you want to make the choice that will be the most favorable.  All of these factors apply a certain level of tension and weight when deciding on the car to buy.

That's an aspect to voting this meme doesn't cover and that most people "dispelling the fiction" don't seem to get.  Voting, just like choosing a car, has consequences and that the factors in choosing how to vote are many and not as simple as pick the one you like the most.  So let's break down the ramifications of a 3rd party vote.  First off, let's establish one fact:  The 3rd party candidate isn't going to win.  So your vote will be going to a losing candidate.  One of the two major party candidates will win.

After that, we need to say which state a 3rd party voter lives in.  If it's not a "battleground" state, meaning the state is overwhelmingly going to vote one way or another, then voting 3rd party has the same effect as voting for the Republican or Democrat nominee that's going to get trounced in that state.  In other words, no real meaningful effect at all.  In this case, there's no direct ramifications.  The 3rd party vote isn't going to siphon enough votes from the losing candidate to make a difference in outcome.

However, if you live in a battleground state (also called a swing state) where the race is close according to polls, your vote could indeed help one candidate win by not supporting that candidate's opposition.  This part is well known.  There's plenty of  you must vote Trump to stop Hillary or you must vote Hillary to stop Trump.  I don't think I need to cover that.  But what may not be expressed is the ramifications behind the decision to vote 3rd party in a highly contested race.  And that boils down to whether or not you're OK with both candidates becoming president.  Because you know your candidate is going to lose.  Therefore, knowing this, and still choosing to vote for them, means you're fine with either Hillary or Trump being in the White House.  

What this means is you're fine with the most corrupt and publicly exposed politician in history becoming president.  You're fine with the Democrat party hiring out people to incite violence at Trump rallies.  You're fine with a media actively helping one candidate by providing them cover and thoroughly trashing the other candidate.  You're fine with the collusion between the current president's administration of the same party abusing their executive power to avoid subjecting said corrupt politician candidate to the same justice system you and I are bound to.  You're fine with a president that deliberately used a private email server to hide her ongoing dealings with the Clinton Foundation, which is under FBI investigation for corruption, because she had to promise to discontinue her dealings with the Clinton Foundation before being confirmed as Secretary of State.  You're fine with a president that has enriched themselves through this foundation and has offered special state department access to those that donate to the Clinton Foundation.   You're fine with a president that took millions of dollars of Clinton Foundation donations to approve the sale of 20% of our nation's uranium supply; a deal that can only be approved by the secretary of state.  You're fine with a candidate that visited billionaire convicted sex offender Jeffry Epstein's "sex slave island" 6 times while her husband visited it dozens of times himself.  

So you're fine with all this if you still vote 3rd party in a highly contested state.  The timing on all this information gives the voter a once in a life time opportunity to reject that corruption by voting for the candidate with the best chance to win...but instead you're going to naively vote for your 3rd party candidate.  Are you sure you're weighing the ramifications of such a vote?  Yes, you may also not be fine with a Trump administration (though I think a lot of that is overblown by fearmongering liberals).  But not liking both doesn't mean you shouldn't attempt to stop the greater evil.  

This is also where the whole whining about the lesser of two evils is naive and/or lacks maturity.  The  "but both are still evil so I'm not gonna vote for them!" doesn't really think critically.  Because by doing so, you're choosing not to oppose the greater evil.  And by choosing not to oppose the greater evil, you are in fact tacitly supporting the greater evil by giving your vote to a candidate that has no chance in opposing the greater evil.  And it's true, you may also believe the greater evil isn't that much greater than the lesser evil.   And if that's the case, then you're again fine with a Hillary administration.  But by believing so, you're not only ignoring the 2nd to previous paragraph, you're ignoring a candidate that:
  • Is under FBI investigation 
  • Has a campaign that illegally coordinates with pacs
  • Has been exposed by unconventional means (wiki leaks and project veritas) because the conventional means (the media) are instead doing their best to protect her
  • Has too many real scandals over the decades to count
  • Has enriched herself through the Clinton Foundation (how does someone go from being "broke" out of the White House to being worth hundreds of millions of dollars without running or owning a private business?)  in exchange for giving special state department favors
And still believing they "won't be that bad".  That's about as naive as it gets.

This meme's also naive because it makes the childish assumption that capturing a small minority of the popular vote is going to "send a message".   The only message that will ever be heard loud and clear in Washington is the message that directly threatens their corrupt way of life on Capitol Hill.  No one's going to go "Oh man, Gary Johnson got 10% of the vote!  We should really pay attention to those Libertarians!"  Because then they'll see there's no Libertarians in Congress.  There's no Libertarian governors.  There's no libertarians in state legislative bodies and realize there's no meaningful impact to that vote.  They'll see it for the lazy, bumper sticker activism it is and continue on their way.

In a perfect voting world, we'd have preferential candidate voting (and if you're a 3rd party supporter who doesn't know what this is, then you are indeed naive) where you can vote for your ideologically aligned candidate and still have your vote make an effective impact on the election.  But unfortunately, that's not the case.  And because of that, voting for a candidate polling sub 10% (maybe sub 15%) is effectively wasted.  You can go "lalalalala no it's not! lalalala" all day long, but the bottom is yes, it's wasted.  And worst, it could have an impact you did not want.

And lastly, let's talk about "sending a message" about the status quo.  If you really want to do that, then you should be all about 3rd party candidates all year long every year.  If you want to send a message, help drive a political movement that can get some libertarians elected in state and federal offices.  That will send the message and build momentum.  Just showing up every 4 years and posting smug memes about voting 3rd party will never do anything and just make you look foolish.  If you're all about 3rd party candidates, prop them up during mid terms.  Help build the political base. 

 Otherwise, just being smug about it, like these memes, just makes you look naive and foolish.