On voting for a minor party, or not voting at all

No you have been clear. But you’re taking advantage of a situation you would not allow someone else do to do, if you think it really matters. And of course no one has a crystal ball. We can’t always know when it always matters to begin with… so it always matters.

I guess I should have thought of this sooner, but why not just pull a Bernie Sanders? Be nominally independent, and run candidates in the Democratic primaries. If there is a ground swell of support for your ideas then you should see that in the polls and in the rapid adoption of your ideas by the Democratic Party. It seems like a much more practical approach than trying to start a third party, which just doesn’t mathematically work with FPTP voting, and historically has worked zero times in modern American history.

I don’t agree with this stance, but it’s hardly the worst thing a person could do.

I commend you for making your position on this known. Such a thing is not easy for a number of reasons. I don’t think you’re a monster for wanting to vote third-party, but I do think many (yet NOT ALL) who do so are wrong in their actions, just as are those who opt to sit out. I’ll try to explain my perspective as clearly as possible with as much levity as I can inject.

Consider the following scenario:
You’re locked in a room with nine other people by some movie villain who lets you all collectively choose your fate. But these aren’t normal people, and these aren’t normal fates which await you.

Choose only one, plurality wins
a) you all get haggis to eat and go free
b) everybody immediately dies
c) (write in food to receive) and go free

BUT … you live in a version of reality where you don’t really like haggis that much (I know, right?) and four people announce they want everyone to die. What?!? It’s an M. Night Shymalan film; that’s the twist! And it sucks!!!

So six hopefully-sane people to keep everyone alive along with maybe a nice treat. That’s doable, right?

Perhaps you can vote for what you really want. Let’s be honest, even in the best of circumstances, haggis is pretty bad. But a nice tiramisu will just melt in your mouth and make you think you’ve gone to heaven.

You start salivating while thinking about it and someone worryingly looks at you, afraid you may have gone round the bend and decided to vote for everyone to die because who the hell likes haggis that much. “No,” you explain, “just dreaming of the best dessert in the world: tiramisu.” The other person’s eyes open wide and they realize not only is this a choice to live, but a choice to live WELL. You’ve convinced them.

Oh, crap - you realize this just made things a little precarious. Four voting for everyone to die, two voting for tiramisu, and the other four unknown but almost assuredly not for everyone to die.

You ask, “Um … so what happens if there’s a tie?”
“Oh, I’ll let you live. Close enough,” the villain responds. Awfully generous.

Okay, so the other four just need to vote for haggis or you need to convince two more to switch to tiramisu. You think you might be able to get one, but there’s a fence rider who might prefer a good crème brûlée and you think maybe they’re just politely feigning interest.

But what the heck is this? I mean, the whole “vote for your life and food” thing is pretty @#$%ed up. You could just protest the whole bit and sit it out. I mean, there’s still five people left to outweigh the gaggle of psychos, right? They can do that, no problem.

Unless a couple of them decide to either sit out in protest or vote for tiramisu …

So the moral of the story is if you find yourself locked in such a room (or state) where the vote could possibly swing toward the GOP (Gaggle of Psychos), just eat the damn haggis.

Two things here:
First, He’s not suggesting that the parties will be destroyed, but rather he’s suggesting that Trump will destroy the very fabric of democracy in America, and you will not be allowed to vote in Fair elections again.

Second, it’s totally possible that a third party could rise to prominence and unseat one of the major parties.

But that will never happen in a presidential election, without first establishing itself at lower levels of government.

Voting for a third party, at the national level, when it has not already won some electoral victories at the state level, is simply a waste off a vote. It is equivalent to not voting at all.

If you want to support a third party, that’s fine. Vote then into office at the local and state level. After that, you can make a run for the presidency. But if you cannot even win significant numbers if elections at that level, you have literally zero chance on the national stage.

At a basic level I have no qualm with a third party vote. In fact there have been times in the past (not recent) that I have voted third party. Why? Because at state national levels my vote was never material. Illinois, mostly a foregone conclusion.

Governor and, occasionally Senator are a different story.

But voting third party for president is a luxury. And one borne out of how much I despise FPTP allocation. How it incentivizes extremism in many cases, especially when enabled by propagandistic networks.

So I can tolerate, even understand, third party voting when it is either meaningless, or possible to make a real impact. Evan McMillan in Utah I see you.

But I do not extend the same courtesy to Jill Stein or Gary Johnson voters in Michigan or Wisconsin. When there is a chance your vote can have an impact, when your state is not clearly beyond the margin of error, I find third party national votes not just irresponsible, but contemptible.

As I said, people who disliked Trump but voted third party in Pennsylvania deserve all the scorn they get.

Thanks for clarifying. Don’t disagree that local elections are much, much more important than presidential elections for a small party. But fielding a presidential candidate can marginally help increase name recognition and perceptions of legitimacy. And, again, there are other reasons, specific party aside, that registering a vote for someone other than a D or R is meaningful.

On the contrary, being nothing more than a spoiler in a presidential election will paint a third party as nothing more than a fringe vanity party, potentially harming their chances to win even local elections.

A better way to accomplish this–one that has actually worked over the last couple of decades–is to run down ticket candidates from your platform on major party seats. Whatever part of the Democrats’ agenda is progressive is because of exactly this kind of pressure. Conversely, the Tea Party was perhaps even more effective within the GOP.

The USCCB does try to skirt the line between dictating how people vote and asking people to vote their conscience. “Catholics should not be single-issue voters, but any candidate who advocates for legal abortion is anathema.” This is double-speak, and Catholic voters see through it. If you analyze a sample of all voters next to a sample of just Catholic voters, there’s no statistical difference. Despite all the hand wringing about abortion by the celebate, childless, all-male clergy lately caught covering up decades of sexual predation on children, Catholics are generally as pro-choice as everyone else.

I’d say that a protest vote is something no one notices. But Hillary Clinton lost in PA, WI, and MI by fewer votes than Jill Stein won.

Your vote NEVER has a chance of making a substantial difference in any Presidential election. Doesn’t matter which state you’re in, an election has never and will never be decided by a single vote.

I’m disappointed. Your voice, and those like yours need to be convinced, now more than ever, that this election the Republicans must be stopped. Decisively. By margins never yet seen before in elections. Only then will there be a chance they pause, reflect, and maybe alter course. I’m not holding out for that though.

The worst part about this thread is that this is my strategy this election. I asked about principled conservatives because I want to know how they think to convince them to not vote or vote third party in this election. I know I can’t convince them to vote anti-gun, or (fucking ugh on this awful framing) pro-abortion. (As an aside, we don’t call pro-lifers anti-choice for a reason, cause it’s not fair, (though it is closer to reality) and neither is pro-abortion. Basically no one is pro abortion.) So fine, you can’t vote Dem, then please just don’t vote. You can’t possibly support Trump.

Smart, principled people who know better should, more than any election in so far in our lifetimes, vote Dem in 2020. You have to. Otherwise you’re tacitly supporting the party of corrupt racist klepocrats bent on dismantling our democracy and looting its remains.

Nightgaunt, you’re smart. You should know better.

It’s a real shame you all have to have this discussion at all, it belongs in the 1800s (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting).

I don’t think for these purposes a vote for a minor party is any different than a vote for the Democrats, is it?

I can basically agree with this, but “more than ever” doesn’t equate to “absolutely must.”

I completely disagree with this. I am not supporting them at all.

Trivial point, but you’re wrong–this term is used all the time. But you’re right that I should have said something like “pro-abortion rights.” (I find both “pro-choice” and “pro-life” to be annoyingly euphemistic.)

More importantly voting pushes the parties. If all the libertarians just throw up their hands and vote for whatever nutjob the Libertarian Party poops out in a given year instead of supporting those Republicans and Democrats who are closer to their ideals… then nothing changes.

But it’s almost never about trying to get their ideals enacted in my experience. It’s to claim some sort of moral high ground because they didn’t vote for either party therefor anything that happens isn’t their fault and it’s the fault of everyone who actually tried to make a difference. But they can post their bullshit on Facebook and get some likes and that’s what really matters.

We don’t even know to what degree our next election will be meddled with. Are you so sure of the outcome of the election that the bullshit that Trump and his cronies have been attempting will have insignificant impact? Last time, it basically decided things in his favor.

I’ve never heard it used on mainstream news outlets and websites. Obviously, that doesn’t mean it is never used, but I think “all the time” is an exaggeration.

If you don’t think this election specifically is of critical importance, I don’t know what else to say. These vanity, throw-away, third party votes (and non-votes) are part of what got us into this mess in the first place. If enough people think like you and act this way, we get another 4 years of the worst President in US history.

First, let’s work on restoring the rule of law in this country. Then we can figure out election process changes to make it so that third party votes actually matter.

After the election there will be a number of people who voted for evil, and another number of those voted for the party standing against evil. Less commonly quoted would be those who stood in the sidelines of that contest, and few will care whether those independents came from swing states. It might be meaningless your impact and where you end up in that bar graph, but the bar graph itself is not meaningless.

Hey, if you want to waste your time making a vanity vote, that’s your business. Personally, I think Democracy is more important than making a vanity vote.

As for the term Pro-Abortion, well, that’s not mainstream for good reason. It isn’t accurate. I want to call Catholics “Pope Worshipers”, but that’s also not mainstream or accurate. I just would rather women weren’t resigned to the position of living incuraborators because someone guy got (un)lucky.

Trump’s Christian fundamentalists hate the Papists too. His self centred views lead to his own doom too.

To be more accurate, you’re also forced to eat the haggis every now and then and have to take the same vote every four years. At some point, you might go “fuck this”.

But really, I want to be sympathetic, but in 2020, solely for religious values of a decaying and criminal institution that ignores them (as the other policy buckets can be filled by D candidates, if you research it)? Sorry, no.

It is if the Republicans win as a result of people voting for a minor party. They lesson they will learn is we can get away with this shit.

IRV is awesome, but sadly the election form inertia is so strong that it is hard to modernize old systems, as the recent failed attempts to move to representative parliament systems in the UK and Canada showed. However, New Zealand switched from the Westminister model, so it is possible.

Systems with one representative circuits have a strong drive towards two party systems, and thus citizens who do not agree with either major party will be accused of being spoilers.

As opposed to…?