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I fought the urge to rant and rave.

Ok the hutch news today had a opinion piece on how we should all cast our vote for Ron Paul for President. I had the urge to blast Ron Paul and to blast the idea of soliciting people to vote for him and this stage in the election process. I decided that was stupid. I am not even going to link to it.

Here is the route I decided to go...
When do you give up? If Ron Paul is your guy do you keep campaigning and putting time and dollars towards a losing cause? When is it actually officially a losing cause? Why the hell does anyone back Ralph Nader ever? Does Nader hurt the democratic party? Do all the less known candidates serve a purpose in the system or are they seriously a big waste of time?

The question is this:
If the guy you are 100% behind, doesn't have a chance in Hell of getting elected... Do you still vote for him/her or do you vote for someone who you "pretty much" agree with that has a chance to win.

I am counting on a few regular commenters to take this and run.

I have an opinion! I want to see some discussion before I launch into a big diatribe about it. Did I just use diatribe properly??
Cody Heitschmidt
From my BlackBerry


  1. Well, we're still in primary mode here, and I'm not sure you guys are. It's a little different for primary vs general, I think.

    If I were a huge Ron Paul supporter, I would vote for him in the primary. If he doesn't win the primary, I give up on him and vote for someone else in the general election. Under no circumstance do I write in anyone in a general election, especially a candidate from the republican or democrat party who already lost.

    However, I think Ralph Nader is a different animal. I am most definitely one of the people who thinks a third party would benefit the way our government works. I don't know all the details, but I know that if Nader gets x% of the popular vote, the Green Party is on the ballot next year nationwide, and they get financial support from the FEC. Nader is not going to win in 2008, but a vote for him might give someone else a chance to win 40 or 60 years down the road.

    Having said that, I would only make that vote in a situation where there was no viable candidate that I like. The next president is going to be one of three obvious people, and if you like one of them, you need to vote for that person.

    Here in Indiana, McCain will win. No democrat has carried the state since like LBJ or something, and only two or three have won since 1900. It's a good place to throw some popular vote at the third party candidate. If McCain wins 75-20-5 instead of 80-20, it doesn't change a lot, but might give that third candidate a chunk of votes that help. Problem is, a lot of states don't have that luxury, and this election is going to be much too close for any third party to get their x%.

    So the answer to your question is: Under the right circumstances, the lesser candidates can serve a purpose. But... I don't think Ron Paul serves a purpose as a republican or as an independent. He would need to be a member of some side party.

    (I hope the opinion piece in the paper was a letter to the editor and not the opinion of a journalist. That's a worse endorsement than voting for Hillary because she's being discriminated against.)

  2. Scott,

    I think I am in agreement with you. There is definitely some benefit to challenging the system and I also agree that a third party kinda stirring the pot could "SOMEDAY" kinda force evolution on our political process. I guess in back of my mind I a trying to tie this into a meet in the middle type deal.

    I wish people would at least explore, in any and all circumstances, the idea that there doesn't always have to be a completely right or a completely wrong. Sometimes jumping behind an idea that isn't EXACTLY what you want is not always a cop out, or a bad choice. Sometimes meeting in the middle for a greater common good is the way to go.

    This idea and my exact opinion is still formulating in my head. Thanks for the comment Scott, you are one that I knew I would get feedback from on this one.

    Anymore takers?

  3. People will always make the 'Don't back the sure loser' argument. For people who believe in absolutes, many won't vote for 'the lesser of two evils' when November comes around and they can't agree completely with McCain or (insert Dem Here).

    I don't quite agree with scott that Paul doesn't serve a purpose in the Republican party. There are conservative voters who aren't for war. The Republican party needs to know that. McCain is the clear winner in the primaries, but voting for Paul says 'I know you're going to win, but you need to know that xx% of us feel like this'

  4. Cody, nice use of the word diatribe.

    Scott, you made some good points. While I respect and admire Nader, I wasn't about to cast my vote with him in 2000. I can't say I was fervent about Gore, but I was fervent in my dislike for W. I'm still convinced that if Nader hadn't been on the ticket, the last eight years would have been vastly different.

    I voted defensively in the last election, too. I wasn't hot for Kerry, that's for sure, but once again, I cast my vote with the lesser of two evils, for lack of a better cliche.

    This time around, I'm a little less certain. The primaries were a tough call for me. I hope the general election is an easier call. Once again, I'm not in love with any of the candidates, but I can honestly say I won't feel the need to cast a defensive vote, which makes this election yeah a much more enjoyable process.

    I certainly don't think more parties would be a bad thing for our country in a hypothetical sense. But in a case where it would be a close call, like in the 2000 election, there is no way in hell I would support an underdog on principle when every vote matters. In an election year like this one, though, where I'm not convinced that any of the candidates would be the best OR the worst for the office, I can get behind what Scott said:

    Nader is not going to win in 2008, but a vote for him might give someone else a chance to win 40 or 60 years down the road.

  5. I think, even if you feel that your candidate doesn't have a chance to win the election, you should go ahead and vote for him/her so long as they're running.

    If you don't, it goes against all the "your vote makes a difference" crap they cram down your throat in school.

    That's really all I have to say about that.

    Oh! Except that I feel sorry for Ron Paul because the majority of his out-spoken supporters are fucking lunatics, and he isn't really that bad. I also feel bad for Nader, because the only reason anybody votes for him is because they want legal pot, and I don't think he could pull that off even if he were in office.

    Seacrest out

  6. Ok so all the comments aren't exactly in line with each other but close.

    Looks like Issac is a little more in favor of the vote for your guy to "Stick it to the man" idea. To me that seems like wasting your vote, but no big deal, your choice and really I see the symbolic protest there... Just not a symbolic protest kinda guy.

    I think I am completely inline with Nora in the sense that...
    Perfect world = a legitimate third party that forces the 2 big dogs to straighten up, but... not wasting my vote/time/$$$ on a losing cause until that third party gets big enough to make a difference.

    Great comments.

  7. ok then Mitchell jumps in with the argument that I wanted someone to throw in because I think it is crazy.

    Voting (or campaigning or contributing $$$)for someone who has no chance, goes against the whole "Every vote counts". Every vote counts as long as it is cast for someone who is a legitimate candidate.

    If you put your time and money into backing a guy on a horse competing in the Indy 500, it doesn't matter what your reasons are, you are wasting your efforts, right??? It's not a noble symbolic protest, it's a silly lunatic gesture.

    What if I voted for the Presidential Candidate that LogicMaze built the website for, does that make my vote or did I just completely piss my vote away.

    That's an extreme example I know but somewhat of decent point.

    Mitchell, I am with ya on the Ron Paul thing. He actually seems decent but he somehow manage to get morons-r-us to be his most vocal supporters.

  8. Ok, let's look at this from the Utopian, votes actually matter perspective (which is obviously not the case, considering the last 7 years).

    If nobody voted for a candidate just because they didn't think that candidate would win, there that's why he/she won't win.

    Also, if you don't support your candidate, then they're less likely to run again for the next term (sorry, Republicans, McCain will probably be dead).

  9. Where do I begin?

    Cody, elections are not just about voting for the person who will win. It’s not like gambling on the horse in the Indy 500. There is a lot more at stake than your $20 bet and bragging rights for picking a winner. If US citizens, the small percentage who actually vote, only voted for the candidate likely to win we would still have segregation or slavery, unequal pay for equal work, and women would be disenfranchised. Elections are not popularity contests.

    Scott, I react at a base level when people just give up their votes because their city, county, state, etc. has a voting history that aligns with one political party or another. My proud home state of Georgia has its first Republican Governor since the Civil War. That flew in the face of 130 plus years of voting history and was a sad day for Yellow Dog Democrats. Just because there has been a trend to vote one way does not mean that is what always will be - especially with less than 30% of the population voting.

    Michelle, fellow citizens voted for Nader for much more articulate reasons than legalizing pot. Nader represented a much larger and much needed conversation about the current two party system. I do not consider Nader an election spoiler for 2 reasons – one there were tons of illegal activities going on with both parties and if more than 30% of the population would vote we wouldn’t have such narrow election margins. (Are you guys sensing a theme to my comments yet?)

    We should of course pay a little homage to Ross Perrot for really pushing the 3 party situation years ago.

    If a certain candidate doesn’t light your fire, just encourage people to register to vote. Encourage your friends and family to vote, volunteer to work at the voting precincts. I honestly don’t care who you vote for – I just want more people to vote for the president than vote for American Idol.

    So, yes, Cody, there is a Santa Claus and you vote with your gut (with an offensive or a defensive vote) and not to necessarily win the race. The percentage of voters who turn out to represent “outsider” candidates does shape the national landscape on issues and paves the way for a future multi-party system.

    To wax a little patriotic, I vote for exactly who I want to because a hell of a lot of people have given their lives over the course of history just so we can vote for whoever we chose.

  10. Dang, Cody! Lay off my homeboy! Just kidding--I hear your argument, but I also understand where Mitchell is coming from. If the 2000 election hadn't been so close between Bush and Gore, I TOTALLY would have voted for Nader. I actually agree with Mitchell, unless it's a close call and I feel I have to vote strategically. And I think that's part of the reason our two party system is such a quagmire; I really think a lot of voters in general vote strictly according to party, regardless of their feelings about their party's candidate. Or they feel forced into voting defensively or don't vote at all because it doesn't seem like their vote counts for anything, anyway.

    I really wonder what would happen if every eligible citizen voted for the candidate they really liked and believed in rather than the one they was thought was better than the other guy, or the one "their" party offered up.

    I was born into a heavy-duty unionized family, and for that reason primarily, am inclined toward the Dem ticket. But this is the first time I can remember not being sure about their offerings. I'm not saying for sure that I'd vote for McCain, but I AM saying I never thought I'd even consider the possibility of aligning myself with the GOP in ANY case. That's why I'm enjoying this election year so much. I feel like I actually have choices, which is nice. For the first time that I can remember, this is a real presidential race.

    The fun is going to be when I'm deliberating in the voting booth in November. I'm just glad I don't have to deal with the sickening feeling of impending doom I did with the last two elections.

    So, I say--especially this year--it's not a bad thing to vote for who you WANT to vote for, regardless of the strategy involved. I wonder if such strategies are part of what's driven our political system into a two party corner in the first place.

  11. OK there are about 6 more folks who I hope step up and launch into this. You know who you are. Suck it up and go.

    We have a great discussion here and I love it. Nobodies mad, (Kate is maybe on the verge of frustrated with me, she will get over it, she's cool like that)

    OK we do have one person pissed, Mitchell is pissed that Kate called him Michelle. Just kidding.

    Any how I brought this up cause I think it is truly a subjective discussion.

    I think Kate's comment is exactly right, but in my opinion just a bit too Utopian. I want it to be like that too Kate, I just (opinion alert) don't think it really is.

    I think that "This is how it should be in a perfect world" mindset is what got folks to vote for Nader and tada we have "W". I like "W" so I am happy, but I don't think the person (between the legitimate candidates) that most voters wanted to win, won.

    Gore would have won outright if Nader hadn't thrown his name in.

    OK, so what should Nader do, Give up?? Hell no. He needs to push his cause and push and push and push, but jump behind a candidate or not get in the race, until he (or another Green candidate) has a legitimate chance. Start in other political offices (I am sure they have, I just haven't heard of it, and that's the point, I haven't heard of it.) (OPINION thats all Kate, just my thoughts.) Really I hope he doesn't cause so far I am sticking with the GOP.

    Anyhow, Nobodies right and nobodies wrong, this is a true opinion deal. I am not arguing that anyone's point that differs from mine is wrong, just different.

    Thanks Guys.

  12. My mom Jude is here and she wants to say her piece:

    "What it comes down to is you have to vote your own pocketbook. If your daddy left you a big trust fund or you have a golden parachute when you retire, god love ya.

    But the rest of us poor slobs who are busting our humps from 8 to 6 everyday better think twice. Vote your pocketbook, kids, because another eight years of what our economy has gone through at the hands of the GOP? It's going to wipe out the middle class as we know it.

    I'd love to call my doctor and get some blood pressure meds, but it would be cheaper for me to die than pay for the exam and prescription."

    Juderonomy has spoken.


    (I just told her I'm voting for Nader to get her riled up and she broke out in hives)

  13. Nora,

    Get your Mom on twitter, I need to follow her!!!

  14. I will say (despite my earlier comment about Nader and the dopers, which was a joke) that it's certainly not Nader's fault that Democrats didn't win in any election.

    It's not his fault that Democratic voters were more likely to waver from their political choice than Republicans (who notoriously stick to their guns about anything, even if they're obviously wrong - heh).

    Anyway, I'm going to leave the 'every vote counts' argument alone from here on out. It's not honestly how I believe things work. Though it's how it should.

    Ask me again during the general election and I won't even pretend to use that argument, because I know better.

  15. Cody, we should all follow the wisdom of Juderonomy. I'll do what I can to get her on Twitter for ya.

  16. Mitchell - I apologize! Glad to see you are comfortable enough with your sexuality to not burn me.

    Cody, not frustrated. Excited that such great comments are flying.

  17. Michelle wants to fight you Kate, I warned him against it but he thinks he can take you.

  18. Cody, here is my response, but FYI, some of us work for a living.

    I am an idealist. In 2000, I flirted with Nader out of my frustration with what I saw as a two party system held hostage by corporate and special interest. I ultimately voted and campaigned for in the election’s closing days for Gore, as Iowa (where I lived at the time) was simply to close to call, and to me it was more important to support Gore then send a symbolic vote for Nader (FYI, Iowa ultimately went Gore by something like 2000 votes, very close).

    I think there are times to vote your head, and times to vote your heart. There are also times to support a long shot candidate early in the hopes of creating a movement. If the movement doesn’t happen, you then have to reconsider.

    I think someone voting for Huckabee or Ron Paul to send a message against McCain in the primary is fine. It has no affect on the big picture but sends a message (look at Pennsylvania last night - roughly a quarter of Republicans who did vote didn’t vote for McCain, perhaps implying a lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy by the base). However, a throw away vote for Kucinich in the tight and important Democratic race last night, IMO, would have been stupid, as there is too much on the line and little to gain from a symbolic vote.

    I think you have to consider how close the election is before you should cast a symbolic vote, otherwise, vote for the lesser of two evils.

    On a side note, I see my interest in a third party/long shot candidates dwindle as I grow older. I have a couple of friends who are rabid Kucinich supporters, and I think it is silly. My loss of idealism in truly changing the system rather than simply working within it for incremental change, and the grim reality of supporting a longshot makes me a little sad.

  19. Dave was definitely one I wanted to hear from on this. No pressure Dave I wouldn't have blatantly called you out for a day or two.

    I agree with you word for word.

    I think your last paragraph about loss of idealism is something we all deal with. I think you could also call it realism and in a way maturity.

    Great comments from everybody, Thanks.

  20. I don't have a lot of time (because it took me like 6 hours to read all those, definitely good stuff...). The one thing that stuck out was the "only 30% of people vote" thing.

    I hear a lot of people complain about that, but I don't really understand why.

    I know that in some places across the country, people get "disenfranchised" and do not vote. However, there's no poll tax or anything like that, and I have a hard time believing that the problem is as widespread as the media made it seem the one time an election ends up decided by 12 votes or whatever. (Maybe I'm naive.)

    So... why aren't those ~70% of people voting? Because they don't care. If there's another reason, I can't come up with it. And quite frankly, I don't want people who don't care deciding how the next 4 years of my life go (not to mention devaluing my informed vote).

    When I go to the polls to vote and there's 40 different posts up for election, I never vote for all of them. I don't consider it being a bad citizen; quite the contrary. I am allowing those who are informed to make a better decision than I could. If I don't know the two people, and I just vote republican because that's "my party," that guy may end up being some crazy nazi skinhead and I just never heard.

    So I guess unless there's some other reason people aren't voting, I don't have a problem with a 30% turnout.

  21. Also in response to Isaac...

    If I understand right, you're talking about the primary? I don't have any problem with a vote for Ron Paul in the primary. It definitely makes a point to the party. The primary is the perfect place to make that point.

    My problem with voting for him was in the general election. I assumed we were talking about that now, which would require a write-in vote, right? To me, writing in Ron Paul has almost the same impact as writing in Homer Simpson.

    PS. my word verification for this post was cspoo. that makes me snicker.

  22. Scott makes great point I never thought of. Do we criticize the non-voter or are we glad they don't vote cause if they don't care enough, their vote would be stupid anyway??? I kinda paraphrased a little!!!

    Here's my thought, I don't care as long as they don't bitch about the situation after they don't vote.

    Scott also said "cspoo" and threw a Homer Simpson reference in his comment so he wins best comment ever for now!!!

  23. My dad always said he made sure to vote so that he could bitch for the next four years if his guy lost.

    One of probably four or five things he said that really stuck with me.

  24. So, I disagree with this often stated "if they don't vote they don't care and I don't want them deciding" reasoning. First, I think it is flawed logic. For all you know, the non-voters agree with you in every way and could sweep in a revolution of middle-of-the-road Codyism. I'm no more comforatble with religious fanatics or the Supreme Court deciding the next president than non-voters, but I've had to live with that reality for 8 years now.

    I don't pretend to know why people don't vote. I can speculate. I do know from a previous job I had that the single largest indicator of voter turnout for 18-25 year olds is if they attend church. That is true for all political affiliations. The researches are still trying to figure out that one. It was a greater indicator than parental voting, peer pressure, or candidate contact. So, I have no friggin' idea what to think about that.

    I do think we need to quit being so arrogant about what we want other people to be thinking about when they vote. That is what campaigning is for. (Please note that I am not advocating compulsory voting as they have in Australia.)

    Here's a question: Does anyone know what the voter turnout is for the active military? For veterans? Now I'm on a fact hunt.

  25. Ok here's my thoughts on Kate's Comment about Scott's comment.

    I agree with Scott, I don't care about the folks that aren't voting, that's not my problem

    It's not that I really don't care about them, it's kinda of it's a hopeless cause that I don't want to take the time to be concerned with and...

    They aren't voting so who cares. I don't see a realistic solution to it so my focus is to sharpen the skills of those who are voting.

    Ok I exaggerated the who cares mentality there, I care a little bit more than I let on, but.. Not much.

    Now before I actually posted this comment I talked to Kate personally about this and she said

    "if we find a way to have a more open discussion about stuff (like politics) we could get more of those non-voters involved." (I paraphrased that, Kate please let me know if I got it wrong)

    I took that to mean...

    Cody, you rule and this blog of yours is gonna save the world and they will take Gore's Noble Prize away and give it to you.


    I do actually think Kate is right and I think discussion that isn't being lead in one direction or the other by the leader of the discussion and isn't being totally distorted by close minded jack-asses' commetns... Leads to more people feeling ownership and responsibility.

    I got a personal email yesterday from someone who after reading our conversations on here really felt like they need to put a little more thought into their own personal political thoughts.

    That's awesome, I don't want to change someone's mind, I want to try and help prompt them to actually make up their mind.

    (You better write that last comment down, it will be in a quote book someday and it's all mine.)

    Kate as far as you throwing out the phrase, Middle of the road Codyism. Jury is still out on how I am gonna take that. Might mean I am on Mitchell's side at the playground.

    Jeez this is too long for a comment, we need rules around here.


I love the discussion in the comments.. so... GO FOR IT!

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