Mining for a Heart of Gold: My third party vote

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30 Responses

  1. Wardsmith says:

    Are you saying a vote for Johnson wasn’t a vote for “revenge” but rather “love of country”?Report

  2. Ethan Gach says:

    Do you have any breakdown on the segment of the vote he recieved?Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    Was this your first third party vote?Report

  4. Pierre Corneille says:

    I’m at work so I can’t respond to questions. But I’ll try to do so later tonight or tomorrow.Report

  5. Burt Likko says:

    One way to choose a vote is to find the candidate whose policy positions most closely mirror one’s own, but the fact that people see things differently means that unless you are the candidate, every candidate’s policies are going to be at least a little bit different from the ones you would pursue. So any vote is at best still a small compromise on one’s principles and preferences. And if elected, that candidate will take office in a power-sharing situation: in this case, a President must interact with Congress and the resulting laws will be a product of many peoples’ influence on the creation of those laws. So there’s going to be still more compromise on principles and preferences. All by design, and at least in theory, all for the good.

    I agree that Johnson was an imperfect candidate and his — and national LP — policy positions are not without concern. From my perspective, Johnson was a much closer fit to my own preferences than either Romney or Obama and in fact was a much closer fit to my own preferences than any other candidate for President I can remember having had the opportunity to vote for. The fit was still imperfect, but any candidate would be an imperfect fit.

    Nevertheless, if Johnson articulated a constellation of policy positions that more closely aligned with your own preferences than that of any of the other available candidates, then your vote was principled. A principled vote is by definition not wasted. A principled vote is the ultimate act of true citizenship. It is useful, productive, and praiseworthy, whether one’s candidate ultimately wins or loses. I remain not only unapologetic but pleased with my decision to vote for Johnson, and you should too. My only regret is that Johnson did not poll above the 5% margin necessary for inclusion with the Democrats and Republians in the 2016 round of Presidential debates.Report

    • Pierre Corneille in reply to Burt Likko says:

      There you go, using facts and logic to undermine my argument! 🙂

      But the point I was trying to make–and here I perhaps wasn’t clear enough–isn’t that my vote for Johnson wasn’t “principled.” Rather, it doesn’t exempt me from the dirtiness–or “original sinfulness”–of politics. My vote is part and parcel thereof–which is part of what you’re alluding to when you say that any candidate’s views would align at best imperfectly with my own, unless I’m the candidate (and even then, if I were the candidate, even a 3d party one, I would likely adopt certain public positions that are more postures to win votes and / or notoriety than they are my policy preferences).

      I may choose to affiliate with Johnson and (most of) his positions, but I have not thereby sorti de l’embarras.Report

  6. Nob Akimoto says:

    I always find it a little strange that people confess a discomfort with idolatry regarding the presidency, and then fall back on voting for candidates who in their own sort of way are very much symbolically idolatrous for certain stances.

    At least I sort of feel like there’s a certain cult of personality around candidates like Gary Johnson or Ron Paul. Perhaps I’m mistaken. Especially when you consider that some of their policy positions are just nutty.Report

    • Pierre Corneille in reply to Nob Akimoto says:


      I think your comment is partly what I’m getting at. But I’m also urging against the solipsistic (in the common sense of egomanic) danger inherent in the path I have chosen and the path that Jason K. (if I read his post correctly) seems to be advocating.

      This path can engender a certain idolatry of the self, as one pure and removed from the rough-and-tumble of compromised allegiances and and from the tragic fact that we must also be of the world if we are to live in it.Report

    • Roger in reply to Nob Akimoto says:


      I thought that was Obama’s appeal. I probably wouldn’t recognize Johnson if he walked by me in the street, he just matched my policy positions*. Hopefully not the nutty ones though.

      * 96% match according to the test that was being discussed in this forum earlier. Nobody else was above 50% match.Report

  7. Sierra Nevada says:

    Ima go back to my old argument ’bout third party vote. This election showed the power of organizing. Team O simply out organizes every one else, both with numbers and with brains.

    If you wanna check drone strikes and militarism, I guess a third party vote is a something. But now, today, is a maximal leverage point in DC. A deal is getting ready to get done in DC right now over the “fiscal cliff,” and right now some serious horse trading is getting ready to get done.

    At this same moment in 2010, we lib-types were unable to get the deal we wanted on extending the Bush tax cuts, because we had been out organized in the general by the tea party types. But, by pressuring Obama, we were able to end DADT because Obama could trade our support for the end of the cuts (i.e. “sell us out”) for an end to DADT. It wasn’t the victory we wanted, but it was a victory which broadened our coalition and helped us win this go around.

    Wanna get the Satrapy States of America under control? Organize, people. Starting now.Report

    • Pierre Corneille in reply to Sierra Nevada says:

      To be clear, I’m not, at least in this post, trying to make an argument about the efficacy of my vote beyond whatever personal meaning it has for me.

      I do tend to agree with those who say that in large-N elections, one’s individual vote doesn’t matter. But that’s a basket of crabs I’m ill-equipped to…err…is “eat” the word I’m looking for?Report

      • Sierra Nevada in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        And to be clear as well, I am not about to call a third party vote “wasted.” Especially one in the past, whether its two days ago, or ten years ago. I am all about leverage and outcomes right now and in the future. Past votes have exactly zero leverage.

        FWIW, I think that third party votes do matter, and in some circumstances have more leverage per vote than ones cast for establishment candidates. I just maintain that joining (or creating), and then working for, an organization that advances your political goals is a higher payoff move, by many orders of magnitude. And the very highest leverage moment for doing that, is November 7, the day AFTER the electionReport

      • Kim in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        We’ve had a good handful of ~100 vote elections this season. On the national scale (congressional), mind, not for dogcatcher.Report

  8. mark boggs says:

    Living in Utah, I could vote for some third party candidates, including Johnson, and not be too concerned that I would do anything other than tick the meter negligibly, while at the same time soothing my own conscience about the fact that, like Pierre, I have been disappointed in the president’s handling of civil liberty issues.

    The libertarian AG candidate here in Utah, Andrew McCullough, got about 4.5% of the vote. I’m hoping this is promising.Report

  9. sonmi451 says:

    Again, voting as therapy. You actually wanted Obama to win, but you don’t want to dirty your own hands, let those other poor suckers do it so you can feel pure and holier-than-thou. Actual therapists exists, guys.Report