A vote for a third party or independent candidate is a vote for a third party or independent candidate.

Though he is a consistent critic of third party and independent activism, Chris Bowers at Open Left responds to a statement by a Republican congressional representative aimed at third party and independent swing voters by debunking the widespread myth that "a vote for a third party or independent candidate is a vote for the duopoly candidate you dislike more":

Statements like these, whether they are made by Republicans or by Democrats, are loathsome pieces of political arrogance.

  1. It is a lie. Voting for a conservative third party is simply not the same thing as voting for a Democrat, just as voting for progressive third party is not the same as voting for a Republican. Rather, voting for a third party has the same effect on the overall outcome as not voting (except in the unlikely event that a third-party actually has a realistic chance to win, in which case voting for a third party would be exactly like voting for a third party).

    No matter what happens, voting for a third party is never the same thing as voting for the opposing major party candidate, since a vote like that actually adds one to the column of the opposing major party. But I guess Democrats and Republicans alike think that people considering voting for third-parties are too stupid to grasp this fairly obvious fact, and so they just lie to those voters instead.

  2. People considering voting for third-parties are swing voters, too. I simply don't understand why swing voters who regularly flip between Democrats and Republicans receive fawning attention from politicians, while swing voters who regularly flip between third parties and major parties are overtly insulted by those same politicians. It's true that voters who oscillate between third parties and one major party are only half as valuable as swing voters who oscillate between the two major parties, but they are still swing voters none the less.

    Neither the liberal nor the conservative vote is static, and changes in those voters can cause candidates to win or lose elections. Fully one-quarter of the electorate thinks that either Democrats are too conservative or Republicans are too liberal, beliefs that can often cause them to stay home or vote third party. As such, politicians might actually try to win those voters over, instead of insulting them by grouping them in with their ideological antipodes.

  3. Its arrogant. The implication whenever politicians send out missives like these is that the votes of ideological die-hards are the permanent, lifelong property of one political party or the other no matter what that political party does in office. Its flagrant, anti-democratic arrogance from elected officials who are effectively telling their constituents to STFU and do as they are told. Which is, of course, the opposite of democracy.


Lee Lawless said...

School the masses, Damon! These arrogant liars can't make us feel bad about voting for what is good!

d.eris said...

No doubt. Unfortunately, my classes are still not in high demand . . . yet.