Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Frankly Stein's Monster, Con't

Even this late in the game we have third party stupidity from people who should know better (i.e. anyone not named H.A. Goodman) involving Jill Stein and voting for the Green Party as a magical cure-all from the horrific Clinton administration that hasn't happened yet. Today's contestant is Vox's Ben Spielberg.

There is both a principled and strategic component to voting choices in presidential elections. In principle, citizens should cast their votes for whichever candidate’s views align most with their own. Strategic voting, on the other hand, includes a voter’s assessment of the probability that various voting choices will lead to desired outcomes. 
These components are related to some degree; voters are more likely to agree about which candidate to vote for if they agree in principle on which candidate is best. Yet principled and strategic voting are not the same. One might believe a third-party candidate to be optimal, for example, but still vote for a major party candidate because of the higher probability that the major party candidate will win the election. 
This decision can be a self-fulfilling prophecy —third-party candidates would be more electable if their supporters decided to vote for them — but it can also be rational, depending on how one evaluates the differences between major party candidates and the downside risk to voting for a bad nominee. 
I believe social justice advocates committing to vote for Hillary Clinton in the present election have a misguided strategy — I’d argue that good policy in the United States is set back more by strict lesser-evilsism than by the possibility of a Trump presidency. (In short, millions of people are suffering under the status quo, and I think a pledge to vote for a Democrat who won’t fundamentally change that just because she’s better than Trump deprives us of the bargaining power we need to challenge the status quo in the long run.) But I respect that others evaluate the trade-offs inherent in third-party voting this year differently. Their reasoning is generally coherent.  
What isn’t coherent, however, is many Democrats’ ridicule of the Jill Stein candidacy on principle. If they believe what they say they believe — that America needs aggressive action to dismantle institutional racism and sexism, combat climate change, end mass incarceration, promote a richer democracy, and achieve economic justice — they should acknowledge that Stein is the candidate who, if elected, would be most likely to advance those goals. Stein’s platform is significantly better than Clinton’s, and, unlike with Clinton, there’s little reason to doubt that what Stein currently says gels with what she’d actually support if she became our next president.

So if you really cared, you'd vote for Stein instead of Clinton, and that if Trump ends up president, that's actually better "policy" for marginalized groups.  Come to think of it, that's actually H.A. Goodman's exact argument before he went full alt-right and dedicated his platform to destroying Clinton and everyone who votes for her.

I really do love such helpful advice from holier-than-thou liberals about voting.

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