On Thursday, June 26, I will be interviewed by Blog Bunker at 4:00 pm central time. Blog Bunker is on Indie Talk -Sirius 110. Blog Bunker is a daily hour long show at 5:00 pm eastern which interviews bloggers from across the political spectrum. The topics I suggested were Ralph Nader, spoiler myth, lesser evilism. and instant runoff voting. Here are my thoughts on the subjects.
Ralph Nader: I support the candidacy of Ralph Nader. Last month, I outlined why I support Nader in a post titled Why Nader Beats Team McCain/Obama. The reasons include principled stances on trade, voting reform, immigration, corporate accountability, green energy, health care, Iraq, and Middle East peace. The determining issues in my support for Ralph Nader are economic populist in nature; NAFTA, WTO, living wage, single payer health care, corporate accountability, and economic democracy. I must admit with the recent death of George Carlin, he made a great case for not voting, but chances are I will vote for Nader on election day.
Spoiler Myth: Ralph Nader has discussed the hundreds of excuses why Gore lost in 2000. The most rational excuse includes the Socialist Workers Party (562) who got the exact number of votes the Democrats needed to win Florida. The point is that these are not reasons, rational explanations, but excuses. If I stubbed my toe on a door, my excuse could be it was cloudy, or that even the door moved. I may even retaliate against the door by kicking it, but the door is not the reason for my stubbed toe. Excuses tend to be used to deflect personal responsibility. What the “Nader excuse” has allowed the Democrats to do is deflect any internal defects from the party itself, which is why in 08 we have a candidate who is just as, if not more, corporate than in 2000.
Lesser-Evilism: In a discussion of lesser evilism we need to distinguish the personal from the political. On a personal level we all make a preference that A is better than B, C, or D. In that sense we are all lesser evil voters.
Yet, there is this other lesser evilism which is used as a fear tactic to increase voter disenfranchisement. All of our national elections are plurality based which discourages multiple political parties. The Democrats love exploiting this aspect of our electoral system because they can use fear to get votes. They can “scare” both voters and third party candidates into supporting their cause because the alternative will be “far worse”.
If this was simply rhetoric it would not be so bad. The fact of the matter is throughout this nation there are ballot access restrictions that limit third parties on the ballot. One example of this was in Illinois, in which, for the first time the Green Party was included in the primary. Green Party members were told they were no ballots, they ran out of them, or the Green Party was not included in the primary. Green Party members saw ballots in boxes, under registration forms, and even in the trash. Since the primary was botched, the state party did what it had done for years, selected candidates for office. On June 9th an Illinois election official removed those candidates from the November ballot. This is the politics of lesser evilism in action.
The biggest problem with lesser evilism is what I call slave plantation politics. It seems, for historical reasons maybe, that this psychology is more ingrained in Democrats than Republicans. Slave plantation politics is akin to seeing voters as slaves. Voters are entities that the Democratic Party owns, not free persons whose support they must earn. Much like a slave running away to another plantation, the Democrats react in a similar fashion if a voter supports a third party. It is in this context the Democratic rage of 2000 gets its meaning. All those votes that went for Nader in 2000 were rightfully the Democrats to begin with. Voters are not “freemen” making a rational political choice, but “slaves” that should feel an obligation to the Democratic Party.
Instant Run Off Voting: While both Australia and France use a first past the post style system, and France elects its president through electoral college, we are the only one to use it without instant runoff voting. Both France and Australia use ranked choice voting to make sure elections are majoritorian rather than a diminishing plurality. In 1992, for example, Bill Clinton won the presidency with only 43% of the popular vote.
While more attention has been given to a National Popular Vote, less has been given to a proportional version of Instant Runoff Voting. Single transferable vote, would closely resemble the Iowa Caucuses. Like with IRV, if your first choice is not one of the top two vote getters, then your second and third choices are allocated until one candidate has a majority. In an electoral college based system states can choose to allocate electoral votes proportionally based on the popular vote.
I plan an posting an mp3 of the interview, but if you want to watch me play the fool live you can get Sirius free for three days.