A Vote for Nobody Because It Won't Matter
I have read with great interest the case for Libertarian candidate Badnarik by both Roderick Long (thanks for the plug, too!) and Keith Halderman, and the case for John Kerry by Arthur Silber, and I respect all these perspectives, especially because we are all similarly critical of the current political trends.
For the first time in my life, however, I'm profoundly unenthused and/or fully disgusted by the choices. I have voted for major party candidates in previous elections, and am not opposed to it in principle. And I have also voted for the Libertarian Party candidates, at times, just to register my protest, but the Two-Party system is so entrenched that the prospect of even a symbolic third-party challenge is virtually nil. In any event, after reading Bill Bradford's take on the LP convention and Badnarik, I just get the shivers seeing so many libertarians acting like politicians.
I must confess that my mind shifts among various levels of perversity: A part of me feels that George Bush deserves to be re-elected, only because his administration, more than any other current crop of politicians, ought to stick around and be held fully accountable for the disastrous policies they've instituted, though clearly we will all be paying the price for that. Another part of me feels that if Bush wins (as I predicted back in May 2004), it better be by a slim margin, and not anything approaching a"mandate." Lord help us.
On the other hand, if Kerry wins, I am not at all hopeful. U.S. policies in Iraq have now been institutionalized. Kerry gives no indication that he will change anything fundamentally, except, perhaps, his views, depending on which way the political wind blows. Granted, under these circumstances, it might be better to have somebody who is willing to change in the face of changing circumstances. But Kerry may be in the process of changing into a Neocon Newbie; in the end, he might also be positively Nixonian in his approach to the war, as I have argued.
Still, if current trends continue, Bush might very well lose this race. I've joked about pundits who fall back on soothsaying to predict the winner, but with the Red Sox winning for the first time in 86 years, and with the Redskins losing their last home game before the Election (a Redskins win/loss correlates with an incumbent's win/loss in every Presidential election since 1936), soothsaying is about as accurate at predicting a winner as is informed analysis.
Here in New York, of course, a Blue State by Definition that Kerry will Carry, my vote won't count one way or the other. I will go into the voting booth, vote defensively on a few local races and on various bond issues, and proudly walk out without having cast a single vote for President. As the old adage goes: It only encourages them.
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Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 11/2/2004
Thanks John. I agree that the split is more desirable, and I sometimes actually vote defensively like that. And in many swing states, there are a number of propositions on such issues as gay marriage, that will have the effect of bringing out the religious conservative voting bloc in a way that I, personally, would seek to check.
Tonight shall be a very interesting thing to watch...
John Arthur Shaffer - 11/2/2004
But living in a swing state I must vote against Bush for two reasons. First and foremost, he's dangerous - from his going into a preemptive war based on "his gut" and his rejection of reason or second guessing. Second, the theory of second best applies - better to have the monstrous federal government divided between two competing and heavily partisan interests.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 11/1/2004
Matt, I agree with what you say. I do not believe that Bush will change any of his own policies fundamentally, and I have argued here that the constellation of neoconservative and pietist ideologies in this administration is poisonous. As I said in my current post, the part of me that thinks Bush "deserves" a victory is completely perverse. It's just a part of me that doesn't want to see this crop of ideologues shift the blame for "failure" to anybody else. I have this thing about "sowing" and "reaping" that resonates with me.
As I suggested, I'm perverse that way. :)
Matt Barganier - 11/1/2004
"I must confess that my mind shifts among various levels of perversity: A part of me feels that George Bush deserves to be re-elected, only because his administration, more than any other current crop of politicians, ought to stick around and be held fully accountable for the disastrous policies they've instituted, though clearly we will all being paying the price for that. Another part of me feels that if Bush wins (as I predicted back in May 2004), it better be by a slim margin, and not anything approaching a 'mandate.' Lord help us."
Pat Buchanan said more or less the same thing. My case against it: http://antiwar.com/barganier/?articleid=3878