Spoiling for a Fight

In article for OpEd News, Jeff Rock argues that "spoiler theory spoils democracy" and makes a strong case for liberals and progressives to support third party and independent candidates for office:
Progressives are told every election they must vote for the Democrat, regardless of what policies that Democrat supports. We are lectured, we are cajoled and we are scolded if we entertain the idea of voting for a third party candidate . . . The Green Party that has consistently promoted sustainable technologies and the preservation of our environment, two cornerstones of progressive thinking, is also considered a spoiler. However, there is another truism that trumps the fallacious spoiler theory. It goes, “the definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result.” If progressives want fundamental change, they must consider making fundamental changes themselves. And the ‘spoiler theory' is the first myth that must be changed . . . No longer able to use the excuse of being the minority party in Congress they invented new reasons to explain their spineless appearance. Suddenly bipartisanship became the Democratic talking point du jour . . .

Fear causes progressives to repeat the same actions each election cycle while hoping for a different result. It is a recipe for utter failure and decades of neo-conservative legislation are the evidence . . . The direction of the Democratic Party is no different than the Republican Party, it is only a matter of degree. Can we honestly say that voting for a third party progressive candidate would really spoil anything? . . . we need to overcome the fear instilled by the notion that if we stand up for our beliefs and vote for progressive candidates that we are somehow playing into the hands of the Republicans. We need to bury the fallacious and self-destructive spoiler theory once and for all.

3 comments:

Samuel Wilson said...

As I've said before, the "spoiler theory" will only fail when liberals, progressives, leftists, etc., stop fearing the Republican party, or at least stop thinking that intervals of Republican government are intolerable. For the moment, Democrats probably think that all they need to do is yell, "George W. Bush!" to get all of the above on their side, but a resolution on the "right" to put aside fear of Democrats and liberals in favor of their own principles might reinforce similar resolutions on the "left" by breaking up the monolithic menace that Democrats exploit.

d.eris said...

I think that's right. In fact, I just made a very similar point in the most recent post.

Ross said...

But there is truth in the ability of a third party candidate to change an election. It's often misunderstood and overstated, but it's there nonetheless. Plurality elections are so limited that if there are more than two candidates, the results reflect reality significantly less than normal (even though plurality elections never entirely represent reality).

 
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