I’ve been watching some of the national parties’ respective conventions. In case you have missed them, conventions involve a lot of speeches and imagery. The purpose of each party’s convention is to rally the faithful and create a contrast with the opposition, as if the latter were necessary. This is done through words and symbols, mostly videos and signs sported by the assembled delegates.
Also, in case you haven’t noticed, there is a huge difference between the presidential candidates, pun intended. I, for one, believe that a Trump presidency would be a disaster in so many ways, not the least of which in defining who or what this country is all about. His election would demonstrate that America is essentially a political and cultural cesspool, even should the electoral votes be close. We are, after all, a country determined by majority rule, as followers of Supreme Court decisions know all too well.
I proudly confess to being a Bernie Sanders supporter. His views, in particular his judgments on economic inequality, ring truer than those of his primary opponent. I felt the Bern, and will continue to do so.
However, and this is most important in the political calculus, I cannot and will not vote for a third-party candidate nor write in Sanders’s name on my November ballot.
My argument is a simple one. Given our electoral system, with winner-take-all elections and the presidential structure itself, casting a vote for someone or some party sure to lose at the polls does indeed constitute a wasted choice. But it’s much worse.
If enough people vote for a third-party candidate, say the Green Party’s Jill Stein, and the numbers represent the margin of victory for Donald Trump, then they will have delivered the worst possible outcome, if we assume further that Clinton would have been the second preference to Stein.
In other words, lesser evil voting (LEV), is morally compelled for those who give a damn about what happens to the environment, women’s rights, international relations, and economic security—to name a few issues.
I admit to being pleasantly surprised to read Noam Chomsky’s essay on lesser evil voting. I commend the entire piece, which is not all that long. I quote his conclusion:
…by dismissing a “lesser evil” electoral logic and thereby increasing the potential for Clinton’s defeat the left will undermine what should be at the core of what it claims to be attempting to achieve.