This is the U.S. Senate we’re talking about. How difficult is it to see the common interest — among Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens, Purples, Chartreuses, Socialists, Libertarians, and everyone but George Allen — in preventing a racist wingnut Bush apologist like George Allen from representing Virginia in the U.S. Senate? “Not-George-Allen” leads George Allen 50.7% to 49.3%, a margin that would not trigger a recount; but we’re going to get one, and only because the “Not-George-Allen” vote is split.
The Democratic party in Vermont, with the shoe on the other foot, understands this. They endorsed Bernie Sanders (I) instead of fielding a separate candidate. As a Virginia voter, you owe it to your fellow citizens in Virginia and in the whole country to look at the biggest picture possible, given the reality of how things are right now, not the way we wish they would be.
The reality is that — hopefully not forever, but for now — it’s a binary operation. Walk up to a light switch and make a choice: On or Off. You can’t always predict for a given race whether the third-party vote will be a “message” or or a shot into your own foot, and until there’s instant runoff voting or something like it, the latter possiblity will always exist.
I already know the psychobabble that’s coming…“But you can’t say that all those IG votes, or even a majority, would go to the Democrat if the IG candidate weren’t running? And anyway, the Democrats and Republicans are exactly the same.” I’m sorry, but frankly, now that the evidence is actually in, that is some seriously tired s–t. Bottom line, at the end of the day, how have Greens and Independents and Independent Greens (don’t get them mixed up, OK? Puh-leeze!) been doing since 90,000 Floridians voted Green in 2000? How are we doing on the environment? Public Transportation? Foreign Policy? If anyone really believes we aren’t worse off now by some incredible multiple than we would have been with Al Gore as president — and even worse, believe that Nader’s candidacy had nothing to do with the six years of needless death, negligence, fear-mongering, and despair that we got — well, that kind of denial is pathological.
Third parties need to put their energies into building a power base, by running candidates for state and local government, by advocating for real campaign finance and election reform, and by voting with the national party (guess which one) that is most likely to support those.
And yes, I’m glad I finally got that off my chest.