Booking a Room with a View

Join me as I shuttle and shoulder through the worlds of literature, cinema, and the awards seasons attending both.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

An Explanation for the Support of Third-Party Candidates

What with all the fracas out there about "if you're a liberal and you vote third party, it's really a vote for Trump" or "if you're a conservative and you vote third-party, it's really a vote for Hillary"... That view, while understandable to those who share it, is incomprehensible to those who don't. And here is why:

If Clinton loses, the blame shall lie at her doorstep -- because she is not entitled to the liberal vote by virtue of belonging to the Democratic Party. She has to earn those votes -- not on the fly, not with a wink and a smile, but over the course of a career. If there are liberals like myself who do not vote for her, it's because we neither trust nor believe in her. (Indeed, trusting and believing in her has proven more difficult than ever this last year by virtue of her proximity to Bernie Sanders, whose positions have been consistently ethical, decisive and stalwart his entire political career.) And we should always only ever vote for politicians whom we trust and in whom we believe. It is a politician's responsibility to grind through our skepticism and earn or win our trust and belief -- to inspire our trust in them with their courage, constancy and moral resolve. We owe politicians no unconditional allegiance. If Hillary loses, it will be because she has earned the votes of too few liberals. It will be her fault alone. My vote for Jill Stein or my write-in for Bernie Sanders will not be a vote for Trump because it will be a vote for either Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders.

An analogy:

If America were attacked and war were imminent, and we were told by the powers-that-be that to engage in said war would likely mean the averting of a larger scale, even nuclear, war -- I would still not support the war. I wouldn't because war has not earned my belief in it, has not demonstrated to me its viability as a solution to problems or as a vessel in which to move humanity forward. However "just" its proponents claim it to be in certain circumstances, it is not entitled to my support.

War has itself to blame for this.

Politicians have themselves to blame for failing to convince even those who share broad ideological views with them to believe in -- and hence vote for -- them. For all the talk of a vote for Bernie or Jill Stein being a vote for Trump, how can a vote for someone in whom we believe be even effectively a vote for someone in whom we don't? 1 = 1, not 2. As I see it, for me, a vote for Hillary is effectively a vote for Trump, because while I think him less intelligent than her, more unstable than her -- I believe in her as little as I believe in him. She has given me reason to. And I will never again vote for a candidate who has not given me reason enough to believe in him or her.

No one should. And the sooner we all realize that, the better.

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