The Lesser of Two Evils = Vote Third Party

Brandon Ferdig writes:

President Obama is easily the most likeable president I’ve been alive to see. His leadership capabilities range from inspiring to heart-warming. He’s charismatic and has a great family.

But in areas of national defense and drug policy President Obama has been a disappointment. In fact, he’s been indefensibly terrible. In these days when his supporters are finding it tougher than ever to criticize the President for fear of him losing the election, it makes these realizations all the more important to bear in mind—so that you’re not caught up in election fever and vote for someone enforcing lethal policy. (And this includes Romney, because he’ll declare the same policies.)

The War on Drugs

Yes, law enforcement seizes a bunch of narcotics each year. They take their picture in front of a mountain of drugs and state how kids now aren’t going to get high on the stuff. But we could say the same thing if we captured a Coca-Cola truck every now and again. Never mind that while you’re posing with the seized cargo, twenty other trucks have driven by in the background. That it’s useless, though, is actually one of the more polite things one can say about the Drug War.

The federal government drops a cool $20 billion/yr trying to stop people from getting high. This sounds like just another big number coming from D.C., but when broken down per deed and per person hired: officers, surveillance equipment, crop-dusting cocaine fields in Colombia, judges, prosecutors, and building and running the jails, we see that each is money not spent on something helpful to our world. Oh, it’s also about $600 every second.

And if drugs are the disease and the Drug War the medicine, it’s the side effects of the treatment that are worse yet.

With no courts to resolve street conflict, things are settled by violence—wherever, by whoever and to whoever that may be, resulting in murder, innocent bystanders, and dangerous people willing to take the opportunity provided by the lucrative trade. Maybe if I provided a story of a single innocent person whose house was wrongly raided or a child who was shot by a stray bullet, this might make more of an impact. Just know that this stuff happens.

And if it’s hard to be cognizant of the harm caused domestically because of the War on Drugs, it’ll be tougher for us yet to care for the death in other countries. But this is something I’m challenging you to do—because deep down, we know that a life lost in Guatemala is as tragic as a life list in Any City, U.S, and this geographically extended War has been erupting in Mexico and Central America for years.

In the list of the world’s top ten most dangerous countries, six are Latin American, each fueled for competition for the demand and market of American drug users. It’s led to news such as this: “Twenty-seven farm labourers were decapitated and had their heads strewn across a field one recent night.” read the The Guardian’s website on June 28th, 2011.

This is one of many, many examples.

The White House isn’t the pulling the triggers, beheading the victims, or slaughtering the civilians down there, but as a nation supposedly empathetic to the suffering of others (that’s why we were told we got Saddam and Ghadaffi), we continue to instill policy that leads indirectly to these atrocities. And of course, this policy leads directly to the first problems mentioned above.

All this harm and death could be reduced almost immediately with decriminalization, a policy shift endorsed from writers and media across the political spectrum. (Even Pat Robertson said we should decriminalize marijuana!)

Knowing that the president knows all this, and assuming—which I do—that he personally advocates legalization himself, what’s left are two possibilities as to why he continues the bad fight. And it’s in these that we reveal some big problems: either he’s let advisors pull him away from good policy, or he doesn’t dare come across as being “soft” on the Drug War at the expense of losing public support. The former reveals a lack of strength to do what’s right; the latter that he’s putting re-election ahead of preventing deaths—a lack of something more crucial.

Read more here.

49 Comments on "The Lesser of Two Evils = Vote Third Party"

  1. He looks like Robamney 

  2. REPUBLICANS: I think we ought to stock the house with guns and gold coins, and put iron bars on the windows.

    DEMOCRATS: I think we ought to make the kitchen and living room more cozy.

    Meantime, they both ignore the fact that the “house” is falling apart from termite damage, infrastructure defects, vandalism, and years of neglect.

    Oh: also, a bunch of rich guys bought the place and are going to salvage what little they can before demolishing it completely.

    Vote for whichever interior decorator you want. Me, I don’t think it makes a shit.

  3. Apathesis | Sep 9, 2012 at 11:59 am |

    I’m voting third party.  Republicans and Democrats are hypocritical scum.

  4. You can't beat arithmetic | Sep 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

    As much as I hate it, in our system, a third party vote is at best a wasted vote. At worst, it’s a vote that gets the candidate you hate the most elected.'s_law 

    There is nothing in the Constitution or case law preventing us from changing to a preference/ranked system. Check out IRV or Condorcet method and try and fix it:

  5. Gary Johnson has my vote.

  6. PossiblyMaybe | Sep 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |

    There are three fantastic alternatives to voting for either Oh-Bomb-Ya or Romnoid: Jill Stein of the Green Party; Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party; and Rosanne Barr of the Peace and Freedom Party. I did not take Rosanne seriously until this past week when I read a fantastic op-ed which she (or someone working for her) wrote about Citizen’s United. She also picked Cindy Sheehan – the Original Occupier – as her running mate, which is almost enough to make me want to volunteer for their campaign! Still deciding who I will ultimately vote for but there is one thing which all three of these individuals have in common: integrity. 

    Unfortunately, the likelihood of any of them winning is slim to none. In order for a third party candidate to have a realistic shot at winning, two things have to happen: Citizen’s United must be overturned and the Electoral College must be eliminated. It would also be nice if we switched over to Compulsory Voting. There are currently twenty-three countries which utilize CV, though sadly, only ten enforce it. If everyone had to vote (even if you only check off the box marked “abstain”); and if every vote actually counted; and if individuals were not allowed to bribe politicians via unlimited contributions, then it would completely alter our current political landscape… 

    • Jin The Ninja | Sep 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm |

      i agree with you on everything up to compulsory voting. nothing says democracy quite like state coersion…

      • David Howe | Sep 10, 2012 at 6:43 am |

        Yeah.  We can’t have laws or anything.  That’s unamerican.

        • Jin The Ninja | Sep 10, 2012 at 11:40 am |

          not a nationalist, nor an ‘american.’
          you cannot ‘reform’ liberal western representative ‘democracy’ with forced participation. you must reform the culture of civic values. promote education of why and for what (notice not whom) we vote. you cannot just have an mtv psa w/ sean combs self-promoting followed by re-runs of whatever moronic reality show is newest, you must give people a purpose and incentive to vote. not in the way of penalty, but in the way of education. dismantling the electoral college system would be a first step in the way to a true democracy.
          democracy is a voluntary system of ‘governance’ either you have it or you don’t.

          • David Howe | Sep 11, 2012 at 8:11 am |

            and how do we acheive this?  without force?  lol

          • Jin The Ninja | Sep 11, 2012 at 11:30 am |

            uh no genius through democracy. it’s not supposed to be a weapon, it’s a tool. at its alchemically basal form it can be a potent socially transformative and transcendant tool. and any first year criminology student can tell you laws don’t deter bad deeds, they simply institutionalise punishment.

      • PossiblyMaybe | Sep 10, 2012 at 10:34 am |

        Yet I am assuming that you pay your taxes…?

        • Jin The Ninja | Sep 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm |

          and i’m assuming you know what democracy means deriving from the greek root.

          • PossiblyMaybe | Sep 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

            I do agree that education should be paramount. And “abolishing media monopolies” is also a great idea. But I do not understand your opposition to making voting compulsory? Taxes are compulsory and enforceable. So are most of the other rules which we – as citizens – agree to abide by. At least if voting were mandatory, everyone’s individual vote would actually count. Don’t see a party which represents your ideals/values? Then start one of your own! And if nothing else, at least everyone would still have the choice to check off the box marked “abstain”. I am also particularly fond of  Hadrian’s idea concerning “no confidence”. But everyone needs to participate. Make Voting Day a holiday and everyone gets off work. Fines for those who do not show up. What is so unreasonable about that?   

    • Hadrian999 | Sep 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm |

      i’d prefer a no confidence box, say if 20% vote for it every incumbent is barred from office for 4 years and and we have an do over election for all offices

  7. New Electoral System: We run the normal ellection with the only options being 1) Democrats, 2) Republicans, 3) 3rd party.

    if “3rd Party” wins,  a second election is held where the democratic and republican candidates are dropped altogether.

    Alternative option? Everyone gets 2 votes, so the issue of “Wasting your vote” is less important

  8. nobody fro president
    everybody for vice
    is the best Puppet Prez Psyop antidote yet

  9. Its irrational to vote, why are you people bothering. Satoshi Kanazawa debunked it as a decision based on a logical fallacy.

    Vote for the Prophet if you have to vote for anyone.

  10. The Republican and Democratic parties are preventing us from changing to a preference/ranked system.  

  11. Auto5734955 | Sep 10, 2012 at 8:23 am |

    The Brandon in the last paragraph has overlooked the other reason and that is the sales by the military industrial complex of the equipment used in these “Drug Wars”, it is these same companies that sell the US it’s war machines for use in world domination efforts.  Just look at the facts, the drug cartels in Mexico weren’t buying enough weapons so our government made the purchases for them, now they will still give profit to the war monger corporations by buying ammunition for said weapons.  These leaches on civilization are not willing to lose even one cent, and that means the drugs laws and wars will continue in force until, we the people, take our country back from the corporations. 

  12. Gregory Wyrdmaven | Sep 10, 2012 at 10:28 am |

    This whole Obama-bashing thing is mind-boggling. 

    It is an indictment of progressives/liberals/far left wingnuts that they thought Obama was going to just be able to wave his black magic wand and make everyday Xmas for them.

    No, he hasnt:  legalized your droogs.  Dismantled our Roman Empire 2.0 military. (Why is the US Navy a  GLOBAL Force For Good?  Discuss)  Made same sex marriage legal.  Ended all the wars.  Given everyone free health care.  Made it illegal for Adam Sandler to be within 500 yards of a video camera.  He didn’t put Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, etc on trial for their War Crimes.  He hasn’t fixed the bad bridges.  He hasn’t yadda yadda yadda. 

    If you think any one man should have been able to fix issues with America that have been decades and decades and decades in the making, then please don’t vote.   Ever again.  Please.

    Bashing Obama is like writing a letter to your Homeowner’s Association about the dog that keeps barking down the street while your next door neighbor’s dog is ripping at your achilles tendon.

    Please stop.  And please grow up about how bad our problems are and how they can’t be changed in one term.  We’ll be very fortunate if they can be changed in this generation.  We are in a country that never recovered from the Civil War.  The term “United States” is a laugh.  America is a failed experiment that has been hi-jacked by warmongers, religious nuts and greed.  We have to stick with anyone in government that still has a conscience and has read the goddamn Constitution and Obama is one of those people.

    Fiat lux

    • Request denied.

    • Political Idiots | Sep 10, 2012 at 11:53 am |

      You’re hopelessly lost. 

      “We have to stick with anyone in government that still has a conscience and has read the goddamn Constitution and Obama is one of those people.” 

      The only reason Obama read the constitution is to understand how to destroy it faster. 

      Romnoid is no better either. 

    • My God the stupidity in your statement is overwhelming.  He has trashed the constitution.  He IS in the process of downsizing America to make her pay for her colonialst sins.  He blatantly plays the race card and panders to every possible source of campaign contributions.  He has done nothing to fulfill his promises and his presidency is merely a continuation of the Bush years, without the prosperity.  Pull yer head outta yer ass.

      • Jin The Ninja | Sep 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |

        “He IS in the process of downsizing America to make her pay for her colonialst sins.  He blatantly plays the race card|”

        as soon as you engaged in derivative neo-conservative anti- post colonial nationalism and republican race baiting you lost all credibility in your argument. and in fact what you said, may have been even stupider than what the OP wrote.

        • Hadrian999 | Sep 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm |

          its funny how so many people can’t figure out that the downsizing of america was inevitable, the conditions that existed following ww2 that created the american huge boom in america were artificial and temporary.

          • Jin The Ninja | Sep 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm |

            there is a definite glorification of the post-war period in contemporary culture. right up to and including the yacht and ivy league collegiate wear popular with hipsters at the moment.

          • MoralDrift | Sep 11, 2012 at 10:04 am |

            too bad we couldnt just acknowledge that and move on towards a halfway decent future

        • Read his book.  I’ll bet lots of you bought it, but never read it.  Just like lots of Germans had Mein Kampf on their bookshelves.  They didnt read theirs until too late either. 

          My statement was paraphrasing statements out of his book dumbass.

    • PossiblyMaybe | Sep 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm |


    • CosmicAmazing | Sep 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

      Were you the guy in the mall I saw yesterday? He had a shirt on that said “Paint Chips Make Me Thirsty”. You know the shirt is a joke, right, you really shouldn’t eat those.

    • Jin The Ninja | Sep 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

       anyone ‘far left’ is anti-capitalist and non statist, as well as anti-fascist and anti racist. meaning plainly, that any far leftist who votes would harbour little to no delusions of the true nature of representative politics.

  13. charlieprimero | Sep 10, 2012 at 10:40 am |

    Voting is the evil.   Stop it.  Please.

  14. Bravo!!

    I agree, as a christian I never understood the lesser of two evils paradigm.  Christ explicitly tells us in the Bible over and over not to sacrifice our integrity in the name of expediency.

  15. You’re right. Just go back to the 2000 election; as close as it was, third party votes for Nader that would have otherwise most likely gone to Gore (according to exit polls), which could have swung the election — and eight years of unnecessary war and trillions of dollars lost may have been a different story.

    Australia’s system is interesting (aside from the compulsive voting), where the candidates are ranked in order of preference. The way it would have worked in 2000 would be if Gore got more votes than Nader, all of the ballots that had Nader as a first choice and Gore as a second choice would go to Gore. That would ensure no wasted vote, and Gore would have walked away with the election. (However, that kind of system would also work better in a parliamentary system, where proportional representation stands instead of winner-take-all.)

    But none of this chin-wagging takes into account the singular achievement of the current congress — a record-breaking number of filibusters or filibuster threats, the only aim of which was to stymie any legislative attempts by the president or congressional Democrats in an attempt to forge a self-fulfilling prophecy of a failed term. Congressional Republicans even repeatedly voted against legislation they crafted after it was accepted by the President, like Bob Dole’s health care plan. (It’s like Bartleby the Scrivener — “I prefer not.”) 

    It’s easy but nearsighted to blame everything you don’t like about government on the president alone. If you want a strong president who wields a near-monarchical power to over-step congress as a check on power, we had that already. Congressional Democrats were weak in their opposition, and too often chose traditional decorum over common sense (how the hell do you let yourself get locked out of meetings?) Now the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, where a congressional minority (basically Tea Party conservatives) are the tail wagging the legislative dog. Does Obama bear some blame for that? Sure — he could be more forceful (look at Bush’s record number of signing statements for an example). But don’t expect a constitutional law professor to overrun the balance of powers when he recognizes the necessity to right that balance.

    • WTFMFWOMG | Sep 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |

      22 million Democrats chose Bush over Gore. Also, not one Democrat Senator stood up to question the shenanigans that went on in Florida that year.

      I like the idea of compulsory voting. You can’t have “government by the people” if they don’t bother to participate. Rights come with duties attached. Send all the non-voters to Somalia (LOL).

  16. Inspiring to heartwarming leadership?  On what fucking planet do you live?  It sure as hell aint earth. 

  17. Lesser of two evils is still evil.

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