Why Voting Third Party Is Crucial This Year

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.

In response to something I had posted about voting for Jill Stein in an effort to defeat the two-party corporate cabal that has taken over the country, a friend wrote this:

“Fair enough, but then you may have to live with the greater evil, which in this case is very great. Interestingly, Stein is polling less than 1 percent in Florida, where the same political puritanism elected George W. Bush (Bush beat Al Gore by only 543 votes in Florida. Gore needed Florida’s electoral votes in order to win the presidency) and helped create the world we live in today. I definitely understand and sympathize with your position, but at what point do you become pragmatic, if not with Trump? Sarah Palin? David Duke? Marine Le Pen? Mussolini? Hitler?”

First of all, let’s clear up a widespread misconception. Gore did not lose to Bush because of Ralph Nader. He lost for three reasons: he could not win his own home state; over 300,000 Democrats in Florida voted for Bush; and, ultimately, it was the Supreme Court who decided the presidency. Nader received the same amount of votes (about 1%) from both Democrats and Republicans, so he really made no impact whatsoever on the outcome. Gore’s loss was his own doing; it had nothing to do with people voting for a third party candidate.

Trump could be considered a multi-millionaire version of Nigel Farage, Marine le Pen, or Geert Wilders. But even those vile far-right-wing populists can at least put two coherent sentences together and have some idea of how a government works. Trump doesn’t have the first clue. In the unlikely event (given his ever-increasing self-destruction) he wins the presidency, and assuming he wouldn’t resign as soon as he is sworn in (at which he has hinted), he would just be a bumbling, ineffectual figurehead of a president while Congress continues to do its job. Any crazy ideas he tried to implement would be blocked by Congress, particularly if people elect better congressional candidates.

Would you rather have a president who says evil things or who does evil things? Hillary Clinton is actually the greater evil, given her track record. Trump’s speech is abhorrent; but Clinton is far more dangerous, with a history of implementing actions and policies that have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands. And her far greater experience in government will be effectively used to promote more wars around the world. It’s good for business.

Clinton’s intervention in Libya, for example, in which 80,000 people were killed or wounded, has been a significant factor in the destabilization of the Middle East — the very destabilization that has given birth to ISIS and increased acts of terrorism worldwide. This is a woman skilled at working a corrupt political system, who has proudly called war criminal Henry Kissinger her friend.

In Honduras, U.S. support of the military coup there when Clinton was Secretary of State has brought nothing but chaos and death, including the murder of Berta Cáceres, an environmental activist opposed to her government’s raping and pillaging of their land.

According to the NGO, International Rivers, “We must note that during the 2009 military coup in Honduras, the US government, with Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, worked behind the scenes to keep Honduras’ elected government from being reinstated. Additionally, the US government continues to fund the Honduran military, despite the sharp rise in the homicide rate, political repression, and the murders of political opposition and peasant activists.” It leads one to wonder how badly Clinton would treat U.S. activists driven to protest.

According to an article by David Sirota and Andrew Perez, “under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation.” This includes the sale of arms to the Saudis — a country that is not exactly the paragon of human rights.

A vote for Clinton is essentially putting a stamp of approval on all the above. Trump is the symptom, not the disease. Voting for Clinton will only ensure a continuation of the conditions that created Trump in the first place. Trump is the result you get when the corporate-owned government policies entrenched in our two-party political system rob the citizenry of the wealth their labor has produced, and to which they are entitled.

The neoliberalism Clinton espouses is the very ideology that has created massive wealth inequality, environmental destruction, and a loss of democracy. Chris Hedges noted that “fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the ‘losers’ who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment.” And thus, the rise of Trump.

Candidates like Trump will keep popping up in future elections if we keep voting for the status quo. If we do not abolish this corrupt two-party system by voting for third party candidates, our choices will only get progressively worse. It’s at this point that my friend’s fears will be proven: Clinton or another neoliberal candidate will be run against the likes of a Sarah Palin, a David Duke, or eventually someone possibly approaching the evil of Hitler.

Next time, the Republican candidate might be someone like Cruz — a far more dangerous candidate than Trump because Cruz (or any other neoconservative) not only promotes the twisted right-wing rhetoric that would return America to the dark ages, he has the political and intellectual capacity to enact his policies. Trump doesn’t. Trump has little support even from his own party.

It is not “political puritanism” to want the candidate you vote for to truly represent your interests. Why should we vote for one of the two vile candidates chosen for us when we have other choices? — other choices the two major parties don’t want you to know more about. The mass media will never give exposure to those third parties because the media is part of the corporate system.

Jill Stein is a voice of reason in a field of impossible candidates. We need a president and Congress that are not part of the corporate-owned establishment. Stein’s views match my own. She is calling for a halt to costly military intervention, advocates universal health care (seriously, who doesn’t want that?), free public universities (just as in other developed nations around the world), the establishment of racial justice, and most importantly, the protection of our fragile environment. I truly can’t understand why anyone who cares about the future of their children would not want those things.

A vote for Stein is a powerful voice saying you will not be strong-armed into voting for someone who is beholden only to the highest bidder. You are standing tall for the right of you and your children to live in a world with less armed conflict, where healthcare and education are a human right. A world in which we can work together to bring the earth back from the brink of ecological disaster.

Or not. Your choice.