The Lesser Evil is the Enemy of the Greater Good: Support for an Independent Alternative to the Evil that is Democratic-Republican Party Government

In a piece offering "some thoughts on "lesser of two evils" voting" at Docudharma, cassiodurus considers the "rationality" of lesser evilism and strategic voting:
"Lesser of two evils" voting offers a rational model: you vote for the lesser of two evils to avoid the greater catastrophe . . . The problem with "lesser of two evils" voting is that it cedes the high ground . . . All the "lesser of two evils" really has to do is to be less evil -- actually doing good does not have to be a prerequisite for obtaining (or maintaining) political office. If you vote "lesser of two evils," then, your politicians are beholden to you for nothing.

Paradoxically, however, the author contrasts lesser evilism with "voting your own interests":

Optimistic voters would contrast "lesser of two evils" voting with the idea of "voting your own interests." Their theory is as follows: you vote for whomever is the best candidate, regardless of her or his chances to win. The only way you're going to get what you want from government is if you continue to demand it in election after election regardless of the consequences. This is often a strategy adopted by third-party candidates.

The paradox should be readily apparent: the "rationality" of lesser evilism is irrational insofar as it specifically precludes "voting your own interests." Cassiodorus fails to note the doubly negative character of lesser-evil voting: the vote in favor of the perceived lesser evil is, first and foremost, a vote against the perceived greater evil. It is for this reason that the politics of Democratic-Republican Party government are almost wholly reactionary in both theory and practice. This may well also go some way toward accounting for chronically low voter turnout in the United States: the moral and ethical obscenity of perpetuating a system which only offers the individual a choice between two evils likely figures in the rationale of many non-voters. Unfortunately, this is difficult to quantify, as media and polling organizations generally tend to obscure the crisis of democracy represented by the majority's consistent refusal to actively support the reproduction of Democratic-Republican Party government. Though it specifically tracks opinion relative to the 2012 presidential election, a new poll by the Clarus Research Group, however, finds that a large majority of Americans are willing to consider independent alternatives to the stooges of the Democratic and Republican Parties. Via TPID:

Twenty-five percent of the nation's electorate said they would "definitely" consider voting for "an independent candidate with moderate views on most issues" in the 2012 presidential race, and an additional 42 percent said they would "probably" consider doing so. Twenty-eight percent said they would "definitely" or "probably" not consider voting for an independent candidate.

"This poll shows that a serious independent candidate would have a shot at 25 percent of the vote, maybe more," said Faucheux. "This is 6 points higher than the 19 percent independent Ross Perot received in 1992. Of course, it ultimately depends upon the qualifications and appeal of the actual, flesh-and-blood candidate and whether he or she has the resources to mount a full-fledged nationwide campaign."


Trevor Drown (I) Arkansas for US Senate said...

Your efforts on this poll to replace Blanche Lincoln have been amazing!
Thank you

Trevor Drown (I) for US Senate

d.eris said...

Thanks Trevor!