Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Third Party Vote is Not Wasted

This article was originally published at on Sept. 26th, 2008

Recently, I wrote an article explaining my views on why Ron Paul was able to gain so much support from the common man and raise the kind of money he did while Bob Barr was not. I half expected to get some emails from Bob Barr supporters telling me I was wrong, but that never happened. Instead, I got a few messages from Chuck Baldwin supporters who took issue with the one sentence I wrote about him. In the interest of fairness and to further clarify my point of view for some of my readers who may be seeking the best alternative for this most confusing election cycle, I thought I´d offer up a bit more analysis of the third party candidates.

First, let me make it clear that my basic views on voting haven´t changed. I still believe that most third parties are significantly better (at least in some respects) than either the Democrats or the Republicans. It´s sad to think that a hundred million or more votes are going to be wasted on men like Barack Obama and John McCain who obviously couldn´t care less about the foundations this country was built upon. It´s insanity to keep electing these same party politicians over and over again and expect to get different results. I say the big government statists have had their opportunities and they´ve led this nation down the path to becoming a nightmarish mix of police, nanny, and surveillance states that even George Orwell would have had problems imagining. It is well past time the stranglehold this duopoly has on the nation was broken and someone else got the opportunity to lead. The change that this nation needs will not come from the establishment candidates who simply pay lip service to the concept of change. Perhaps the change needs to come from the people. We must be the change we seek. To help accomplish this, we need to change the types of people we vote into office. Unfortunately, I don´t foresee the vast majority of Americans suddenly becoming enlightened.

There are, indeed, a couple of very important issues that all the third party candidates agree on, and their points of view are in opposition to the establishment candidates´. War is a big issue where the third parties disagree with the Republicans and the Democrats. I know that Democrats will say that their man wants to end the war in Iraq, but we are involved in more countries than Iraq and the Democrats will carry on with occupying those and they certainly don´t want out of Iraq soon enough. While third party candidates are calling for immediate withdrawal of troops, Mr. McCain wants war with no end and I can´t be certain what Mr. Obama wants. If one wishes to vote on this issue alone, then any of the third party candidates would be a better choice than the two the establishment hopes you´ll vote for.

The other issue I think the third party candidates agree on is the issue of cleaning up the corruption in the federal government. This corruption runs deep and it stems, in my opinion, from the stranglehold on power the two establishment parties have enjoyed for far too long. I have believed this to be true for most of my life and I have voted accordingly. This year, for the first time since Ross Perot ran, I believe I saw a breath of life in the struggle to take the power of the establishment back from the elite and return it to the people. It would give this journalist great hope to see just ten percent or so of the electorate voting third party, if for no other reason than to send a message to the establishment that we grow weary of their failed policies and are looking for a genuine shift in direction. If twenty percent of the people were to do so it would be fantastic, the politicians would take notice, and I would be exuberant. The more people that can be convinced to vote third party, any third party, the better in my opinion, and that works for anyone who wants to send a message by writing in any candidate who advocates freedom or even writing in a "none of the above" vote.

That said, I believe that certain third party candidates are better choices than others. Bob Barr still hasn´t earned my trust, despite the fact that he´s joined the Libertarian Party and says he will abide by their principles. Merely stating something doesn´t make it so. Yes, I do believe he is a smaller government type of guy, but he still seems like the kind of person who is simply interested in gaining power, and the more the better. How am I to believe someone who has made a career out of equivocating and pandering? Perhaps he has changed and he is sincere, but I just don´t feel comfortable supporting him. He still strikes me as a big government politician, albeit one who has decided to call himself a Libertarian. Perhaps in a few years if he has the chance to prove himself I would support him, but not right now. In spite of all that, he is a much better pick than either the Republican or the Democrat candidates and I don´t begrudge his supporters when they decide to vote for him. At least they are sending a message to the establishment that they don´t feel represented by either of those parties.

Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader are also candidates that have their faults, in my opinion, but either one of them would be a better choice than Obama or McCain. Both those third party candidates have very good intentions, I´ve no doubt of their sincerity in their desire to help people and I am sympathetic to that, but using the power of the state to achieve such ends is nothing more than forced wealth redistribution. If they were to start a private charity I would certainly be willing to donate what I could afford, but forcing people to donate is morally objectionable. Both these candidates feel that government is the answer to too many of our problems, most of which are government created, where I feel that the private sector could do a better, more efficient job. They do, however, at least seem to have their hearts in the right place and I must commend them for that. They are also seemingly more honest and forthright than the average politician. At least they don´t try to hide their socialist tendencies and will not waffle or flip flop on issues. This, again, puts them one step above most politicians. Again, I would not fault anyone who decided to support either McKinney or Nader. Certainly there are many former Democrats who are fed up with their party cozying up to the Republicans who would prefer to see either one of these people in office than the Democrats´ candidate. I say, go ahead and vote that way, if that is your wish, and don´t waste your vote on Obama. It´s time to send the establishment a message.

This brings me to Chuck Baldwin. I have a lot to say about him, enough that I think he deserves an article dedicated to him. When I wrote a couple of weeks back – in an article which was supposed to be about Bob Barr´s failure to raise money – a simple sentence: "Chuck Baldwin is also a man of good intentions who claims to be a strict constitutionalist, and yet he wants to maintain a government presence in certain areas of one´s personal life where government presence does not belong." I was sent a few emails from a couple of Mr. Baldwin´s supporters questioning the meaning of that statement. I wrote that sentence because that was the genuine impression that I had of his campaign from looking at his website, looking at the Constitution Party´s platform, and listening to the opinions of some of those whose opinions I respect. I reported my objections to Mr. Baldwin´s stances on some of the issues and I was shown that my impressions were most likely wrong. Looking more deeply into the man´s political beliefs, reading his words in interviews and listening and watching some of his Youtube videos has caused me to reconsider his candidacy. Even before I did this I felt that if I was going to vote for someone other than a write in, it would most likely be him. Now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the best third party candidate out there for someone concerned about smaller government and personal liberty.

I will go into more detail explaining why I felt as I did and why I´ve changed my mind in another article. For now, I will conclude by saying Chuck Baldwin is not the perfect candidate for president, but neither was Ron Paul. There are some things I disagree with both these candidates on, but these are relatively minor issues when compared to the bigger issues of ending all foreign wars, bringing all our troops home, guarding our own borders, repealing unconstitutional laws, restoring lost civil liberties, returning to a constitutional monetary system and shearing down the federal government to a constitutional size. In these and other areas, Chuck Baldwin´s stances mirror Ron Paul´s policies. He is on the ballot in 37 states and available as a write-in in 10 more. They are still trying to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania. Citizens of Oklahoma and North Carolina will not be able to legally vote for him if he is their choice, to the shame of those two states. I certainly can understand why anyone would support this man and he seems an excellent choice to spend your vote on.

Voting is a very personal thing. What is right for me may not be right for you. It is something that we should all use our best judgment when doing. But it seems to me to be a waste to vote for a Republican or a Democrat and then expect anything to change for the better. There is an old adage that says something to the effect of if you keep trying the same failed solution to the same problem, you´ll get the same results. In fact, doing that is one definition of crazy. The time has come to shake up the establishment. A vote for a third, forth, fifth or sixth party candidate is not a wasted vote. I believe the majority of Americans in their hearts know this to be true, they just don´t seem to be able to let their brains act upon it. Hopefully, this can change.

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