Left In Alabama   Follow leftinbama on Twitter

To My Friends Who Are Planning To Vote Third Party Tomorrow

by: mooncat

Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 22:05:44 PM CST

This is what I've been wanting to say to you, but I could never quite get it put together.  Fortunately, Erik Loomis says it better than I ever would have.

I would like to think that we on the left actually do understand history. We do not. There is a clear path to change. Conservatives understand this. You take over the party structure. That’s what they did in the 1950s and 1960s when they were disgusted by the moderate Republicanism of Dwight Eisenhower, Earl Warren, and Nelson Rockefeller. They took over party structures and local offices and turned them into bastions of energized conservatism. Note that conservatives basically don’t run 3rd party campaigns. Libertarians might talk about doing this–but they almost all vote Republican in the end because they know that they are moving their agenda forward by doing so.

Any reading of history shows that change within the American political system does not come through third party campaigns. It comes through the hard work of organizing our communities to demand change.


At times, a 3rd party could theoretically make sense. The last one that made any difference was the Populists.

If Teddy Roosevelt couldn't build a lasting 3rd party, none of the people running today can possibly accomplish it.  Organizing is hard work.  If you're unhappy with the way Obama is governing, or the way both parties are funded, you need to do the hard work of organizing a movement that cannot be ignored by politicians.  And you need to gain control of one of the already existing parties -- which enjoy huge structural advantages over third, fourth or fifth parties in terms of elections.  That's the way the extreme conservatives took over the party of Eisenhower and Reagan and it's the only way that's been shown to work in American politics for the last 150 years or so.

I'm sorry, but this is the reality of history. 

It may feel good to vote for a near perfect candidate with no chance of ever winning, but it is a very counterproductive way to achieve the change you want.  And I hope you'll give this another consideration before casting your vote, because I want the same change you do, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt we will be light years closer to the country we want with 4 more years of Barack Obama than with 4 years of Mitt Romney.

mooncat :: To My Friends Who Are Planning To Vote Third Party Tomorrow
Tags: , , (All Tags)
Print Friendly View Send As Email
Share |

That's Defeatism (2.67 / 3)

It's like saying, "If you want to do something about the Mafia, join the Mafia".

The two-party duopoly has been entrenched for decades. Both of the major parties have built mechanisms to protect and self-perpetuate. Both rely upon favoritism, payola, and party loyalty above all. 

Aren't you tired of voting for "least worst"? We've done that in recent years, election after election after election. That's courtesy of the duopoly.

 After generations of accepting the duopoly as the norm, the idea of voting for a 3rd party candidate is simply unfathomable to some. But some are increasingly disenchanted with the political two-party status quo and refuse to play the "least worst" voting game any longer.

I'm among them. I'm voting for Jill Stein. Romney is out of the question, and I refuse to reward Obama for his failures.

If enough people decide they're not going to continue to vote for "least worst" and vote for a third-party candidate who represents their views, it will send a message to the duopoly that we're fed up.

Attempting to effect change in a cancer infecting the body politic is naive, and benign resignation and acceptance of the status quo will never induce change.  

 "It will never work" is defeatist and defeatism will never promote change.

Any ancient Greek historian would have told you that if you sailed far enough, you would fall off the edge of the flat earth. 

Any reading of history, prior to 1869 would have told you women will never vote, because they never had.

History is just that: The past.

Hopefully, the future will afford us options to the corrupt corporatocracy which owns both of the two major parties. But the only way that future can ever exist is if we refuse to accept that "history" is inviolable. 

As for me, well, I'll feel good about having voted for a candidate of my choice, rather than feeling I was forced to choose from two undesirables. 




"Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule."
Friedrich Nietzsche

What I'm saying is it never has worked (4.00 / 1)

Someone please explain to me how/why a third party will work now?

From where I stand, it looks hopeless at best.  At worst, it's a deliberate distraction encouraged by those who want to keep people who are dissatisfied with both major parties from getting seriously involved with changing them.  It sidelines/sidetracks the people who are often the most committed to change or reform.

On the other hand, we know that hijacking a political party works, because there is the very recent example of what has happened to the Republican Party since 1964.  It takes time, hard work, perseverence and money.

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
joining the mafia? (4.00 / 2)
mooncat is right. incidentally, some of the worst damage done to the mafia was performed by the guy who "joined" the mafia. he wrote a book, a movie was made. third parties don't produce but they can damage. in close states libertarians might make it a loss for romney. nader killed gore's election. so mooncat is right. mostly though, third party voting, is, as the country boys say, as effective as "farting in the wilderness."

The Propaganda Works (2.00 / 2)

Something I've observed during this election cycle: As the election approaches, the political partisans become ever more animated and vocal.  It's attributable to the political propaganda and efforts by the hacks to manipulate people, as well as a tendency to align oneself with a team, and an inate desire to be on a "winning team".

In earlier years (the late 19th/early 20th century), the duopoly didn't have a death grip on politics. Politicians were elected from parties such as the Populists, the Labor Party, the Progressive Party, the Silver Party, the Populist Party. 


People then had REAL CHOICES, and there was REAL DEBATE. People today are increasingly yearning for REAL CHOICES. 

There ARE third-party officeholders in a number of local and state offices. It's only a matter of time until that number increases and third-party candidates successfully percolate up to higher offices. 

Unfortunately, the duopoly has successfully brainwashed the masses into believing only two parties can offer political candidates.

That's changing, as people tire of being screwed by the two corrupt major parties. Interest in third-party candidates is increasing, and, increasingly, voters are calling themselves "independent", refusing to be aligned with either the Dems or the Repubs.

As for writing a book about the Mafia, well, it didn't accomplish much. The Mafia is still alive and well. And it could be considered to be expanding (ref. Mexican drug lords).

As I mentioned elsewhere, when I voted this morning, I noticed that of 22 offices listed on my ballot ONLY THREE WERE CONTESTED! All the rest had ONE candidate listed -- a Republican!

Dismiss the meaningfulness, and need, for third party candidates? Ha!

In Alabama, where the Democratic Party has all but left the state?

Something's wrong with this picture. 


"Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule."
Friedrich Nietzsche

[ Parent ]
Once upon a time... (4.00 / 2)

Long, long ago...I was this crazy idealistic kid.  I thought that the Democratic Party was just as corrupt and flawed as the Republican Party, I honestly believed that there was no difference between a D and an R.  I became the Campus President for my school's College Greens organization and made my way into the local Green Party establishment, even working on the Green candidate for AG campaign and helping to bring Nader to our campus to speak.

This was 2000, Ralph Nader was our candidate and I thought that we could change the world.  But I was wrong, we played spoiler in more than one race state and nationwide.  I came to realize that I changed nothing, at least for the positive, mine and others blind obstinence handed the Presidential and a number of races to the Republican Party.  

I learned that you can't change the machine from the outside.  If you want to affect real change, if you want to BE the change you want to see, you have to work within the current structure.  Our system as it currently stands, is gamed against third parties.  There is no way that a serious Third party can become a permanent electoral force.  For one, electoral laws in a number of states force a steep climb towards ballot access for Third parties.  Secondly, getting on and staying on the ballot are two different things, most states have a threshold, from about 2.5-5% of the vote required to maintain ballot status.  Even if you manage, as a Third party candidate to get on the ballot, you still have an uphill climb because if you dont reach that threshold, then next election you have to start the process all over again.

Im gonna be blunt here.  If you as a "liberal" or "progressive" plan on "sitting out", then you lose your right to bitch and complain about the sorry state of affairs we may find ourselves in, you're going to get what you deserve.  You dont want politicians to continue telling your mom, sister, daughter, nieces etc. what they can and can't do medically with their bodies? You better vote Obama.  You want any hope of relief from the $50K in student loans you racked up in college? You better vote Obama.  Are you tired of working 3-4 jobs to make ends meet?  You better vote Obama.  You want any hope that you'll be able to take bong hits in your parents basement for your "glaucoma" and "chronic pain' without reprisal?  You better vote Obama.

Yeah, it sucks to be a progressive in Alabama, but you know what, it could be a hell of a lot worse.  Don't act like a petulant child, do the right thing and go out and vote for the guy you know isn't going to make your life any more difficult than it already is.  Because if Romney is elected, its gonna get worse.

9.13, 4.82, Just left of Gandhi.



blog advertising is good for you


Be part of the state's largest & fastest growing Democratic grassroots organization. To receive our newsletter, text OTMDEMS to 22828. Follow us on Facebook.



Advanced Search

A community blog for progressive politics, ideas and current events in Alabama. Register now to join the conversation.

Friend and Follow Left In Alabama:

Join LIA's Facebook Page Go To LIA's Twitter Page Go To LIA's Flickr Photo Album Go To LIA's YouTube channel

- Mobile

Make a New Account



Forget your username or password?

LiA Contributors
- Admin
- Admin
- Economics & Aeronautics
- National Political Issues
- Political Strategy & Messaging
- Health Care
- Education in the Black Belt
- ADP Watch
- Climate & Alternative Energy
- Labor
- Alabama Legal Issues
- From the Center
- Equal Rights & GLBT Issues
- Roving Reporter

Please take our Blog Reader Project survey.

Support Left in Alabama with a Donation!

Your Amazon purchases can help fund this blog:
Support Left in Alabama
Buy Phones & More at Amazon Wireless


T.H.E. Social Work Agency
Adoption home studies & care management services in the North Alabama area.
Licensed, certified, caring social workers.

blog advertising is good for you

Bessemer Opinions
Birmingham Blues
Birmingham Science Examiner
Greg Varner's Blog
The Haze Filter
Hard Boiled Dreams of the World
King Cockfight
Legal Schnauzer
Loretta Nall
Peace Takes Courage
Pippa Abston's Blog
TJ Beitel
Thoughts & Rants of an Independent
Time is Spherical, Not Linear
WriteChic Press

ACLU of Alabama
Alabama Arise
Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform
Alabama Conservationist
Alabama Democratic Conference
Alabama Democratic Party
Alabama Legislature
Alabama Poverty Project
Alabama Secretary of State's Office
Encyclopedia of Alabama
Equality Alabama
Greater Birmingham Ministries
League of Women Voters of Alabama
Madison County Democrats
Marshall County Democrats
Over the Mountain Democrats
Alabama Political Reporter

Blog for Democracy
Blue Oklahoma
Burnt Orange Report
Daily Kingfish
Facing South
The Old Black Church
West Virginia Blue
Juanita Jean - Texas

Anzalone Liszt Research
Center for American Progress
FEC Electronic Report Retrieval
Follow the Money
In Their Boots
New Organizing Institute
Pew Research Center
Progressive States Network
The Contributor


 Subscribe in a reader

Add to My AOL

Powered by FeedBurner

Powered by: SoapBlox