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June 05, 2011


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Nice post but, of course, I have to spread out a blanket and have a nitpick...

and no real alternative outside the Big Two.

This is only true if one needs immediate gratification for his/her vote. Voting outside of either legacy party is a viable option if one's goal is to grow those numbers, however slowly it may take or however futile it may seem. The 2 legacy parties depend on that false sense of futility more than anything for their success. I believe The Simpsons covered this in 1996. ; )

I wouldn't try to dissuade anyone from voting, or for voting for an alternative outside the two legacy parties; I believe strongly in the importance of voting. Myself, I'm still not sure how I will vote in 2012, and I could, easily find myself unwilling to pick Obama after a lackluster campaign, and I don't vote Republican... so I know I'm keeping my own options open, too.

That said, I don't think there's been less momentum towards third party alternatives in the last 10-12 years then there is going into 2012. There's really no energy towards Green Party, or a Perot/Bloomberg type of well meaning oligarch... and certainly no grass roots movement based momentum to speak of. I've said this a good bit, and I think it's depressingly true that Progressives in the wake of dismay with Obama seem to simply have given up. Nor does the Tea Party energy of the right seem to have produced any kind of longer lasting momentum (which isn't surprising, but still). Which is why, though I'm sympathetic to your arguing against creating a "false sense of futility"... it might not be false. At the very least, I think one has to admit that, for 2012, It's Obama, or a Republican will wind up with, and for the moment, very likely more Obama.

At the very least, I think one has to admit that, for 2012, It's Obama, or a Republican will wind up with, and for the moment, very likely more Obama

That you keep coming back to this tells me you keep missing my point...the conclusion of the 2012 presidential election could not be more irrelevant to my point of view; and also that you are unwittingly (hopefully ; )) contributing to the false sense of futility I mentioned.

I get your (rather obvious) point that a decision to vote third party in 2012 can be a vote that thinks the ultimate result is irrelevant. I don't think that's entirely true - I think some alternatives to Obama would be spectacularly worse - but more to my point... you, too, are evading my response. I would feel better about the "pox on both their houses" approach if I thought there was a serious effort to develop an actual, viable alternative; that doesn't mean a movement that can spring fully formed for 2012... but we lack even the general outlines of a meaningful third party choice that would ever amount to more than air. I think we need an alternative, desperately, and it's frustrating, to me, that the people I agree with most - other frsustrated progressives - seem to have just given up. Here in New York, I voted for Mr. "Rent Is Too Damn High" rather than Andy Cuomo, and I don't regret it for a minute. But even that lone, on the edge guy offers more (amd more that's progressive) in the way of coherent alternatives than any Presidential third party challenger right now.

Again, I think a third party vote is a fine way to go... as long as one goes into it understanding that it, too, is a choice and has meaning. And that meaning may, yes, in the long run be be futile. Nothing false about it.

The Long Run is unknowable, both for the two legacy parties and for third party candidates. Who knows what will happen after we're gone?

I do know however, that Obama and the Democratic leadership keep moving us right, if only a little more slowly than the R's, and in the short term, I can't in good conscience vote that way.

Again, it's only when one needs immediate gratification for one's vote that it seems futile.

I'm at peace with only delivering a "none of the above" message if I've no one to support; I don't have grander hopes for the impact of my vote I guess. That hardly makes it futile though.

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