Every four years
. . . we’re advised to, at least, refrain from competing for votes in the swing states.
Some Greens agree with the idea, but not many. Most recognize that the threat of “spoiling” is our only leverage to force changes in the electoral laws.
Recently, in The New Yorker, Bill McKibben wrote: “Green enthusiasts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania could skip Presidential campaigning and, instead, push their legislatures hard to put R.C.V. on the agenda.”
But he should know better. We’ve been “pushing hard” for RCV for twenty years and the only time the Democrats listen to us is after an election they think we spoiled.
Our efforts are slowly getting some results. A bunch of cities now use RCV and in the coming election the whole state of Maine will use it. Bill McKibben wishes it had been implemented long ago. Well, he wasn’t pushing for it, we were, and it’s pretty clear that no attention is paid unless there’s some pain.
Voting Democrat has no nuance, it simply sends a message of support for the Democrats and for the system in general. The Dems get millions and millions of messages of support (votes). Why should I add to those millions? Voting Green sends a message that I support an alternative program and a better electoral system.
I don’t say there’s no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. It’s all a question of priorities. Maybe you care a lot about the difference. Fine. I care more about systemic change.
The editorial below probably would not have been written if we had kept Jill Stein off the ballot in swing states. The writer says: “If they had RCV in those states, the ‘second choice’ votes would move into Clinton’s column, and history changes.” Having been advocating that all along, the Greens could say to him: “Glad you’re listening now.”
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There’s a difference of opinion about how horrible a Republican administration is relative to a Democratic administration. Some on the left said Nixon was leading to fascism or tyranny so in 1972 we had to vote for the Democrat. With hindsight we can see that it was an over-reaction. It’s too bad more energy didn’t go into supporting an independent progressive at the time.
Some on the left said Reagan was leading to fascism or tyranny so in 1984 we had to vote for the Democrat. With hindsight we can see that it was an over-reaction. It’s too bad more energy didn’t go into supporting an independent progressive at the time. Ditto for Bush in 2004.
2020 . . . some say, “Well, this time . . .” it’s really or especially dire. But I have to say I think I’ve heard that before.
Annoying is when we’re told: “If you would have worked harder to open up the political system decades ago maybe now it would be viable to run.” But some of us have been working hard for decades, just to keep getting sloughed off with: “Not this time, the greater evil is just too great this time.”
To tell you the truth, although I never vote for a Democrat I always do hope the Democrat wins. Because after the inevitable disappointment with a Democratic administration the left is more willing to support an independent progressive candidate.
The unfortunate other inevitability is that with a Nixon or Reagan or Bush or Trump in office we who are alternative-minded have to put up with: “Don’t run this time.”