I’d rather not write about anything political or current news, but what’s going on in DC and with our current political parties is a big part of the reason we’re currently living in “interesting” times and since this blog is an attempt at figuring how to live well during interesting times here we go.
Howard Shultz’s announcement about maybe running for president as an independent has got much of the left raising a hullabaloo about vote siphoning. While I’m a member of the left, and I do worry about independents and 3rd parties,I don’t believe in vote siphoning.
There’s a couple things going on with the idea of siphoning votes. The first issue I have is that the idea of siphoning seems to say that an individuals vote is not their own, that it rightfully belongs to one of the two major parties and that someone else asking for a person’s vote or a person voting for someone other than the D’s or R’s is doing something untoward. The second issue is the assumption that if that person hadn’t voted for independent or 3rd party that vote would have gone to a D or and R.
The reality is that your vote is yours, not the parties. Not the media’s. It’s yours and you can vote for whomever you damn well please. And there’s nothing wrong, nothing untoward, about someone running for a political office outside of the party structures. This is America do what you want.
I’ve talked to quite a few people over the years that voted third party for president, almost every one of them said that that without the 3rd party candidate they wouldn’t have bothered to vote for president. So much for siphoning.
Another issue I’ve run into is that many states are reliably Democratic or Republican and the electoral college is all or nothing so people vote for someone that more closely matches their views than the D’s & R’s or might vote 3rd party to help push their state party of choice in one direction or another (I don’t think this works). But, again, siphoning is a non-issue as that state was going to be a D or R regardless.
Lastly, my own observation is that when 3rd parties have been an issue, the candidates themselves have been weak and have run terrible campaigns. Ralph Nader gets a lot of flack for screwing up the 2000 election. But, in 2000 the country was on Clinton/Gore burnout and Gore ran a really weak campaign.
Seems to me the lesson here is: if you don’t want 3rd parties and independents to be an issue, don’t suck. Third parties and independents don’t siphon votes. Vote siphoning is a lame excuse for a party that can’t be bothered to run good candidates or good campaigns.