Vote for Arnold? I think not.

In a message dated 8/17/03 12:03:49 AM, steve@... writes:

<< I've found the best way to understand someone's thinking is to start at
a point were you clearly agree and work towards the point in question.
So I used an extreme to find a place where we would certainly agree. In
this case, we appear to agree on the rule that positions make the
candidate, not the party. And it seems to me that that rule is at odds
with refusing to vote for someone because they're under the banner of
another party. >>

Steve, this thread caused me to dig up an old message I sent back in Nov. '02
to this it is.

Text of message:

"I remember back in 2000 a loony leftist friend of mine was a big Ralph Nader
supporter who ended up voting for Al Gore. I asked him why he voted for Gore
and he said "I didn't want to throw away my vote." I sat him down and
explained, a vote for the person who represents your views best is never a throw away
vote. I believe, unlike so many talking heads I saw on the talkshows, Ralph
Nader took the presidency away from Al Gore. I pointed out to him the more votes
Nader gets the more left the democrats will become, which is what he really
wants in the first place. Gore lost a vast leftist grass roots element to Nader
by trying to move to the center, or to the right, and it hurt him.

If I had a dime, inflation you know, for every friend who said they believe
in the Libertarians but "I don't want to throw away my vote" I'd be a
millionaire. We Libertarians have beliefs that both Republicans and Democrats can
embrace, some of the more radical ideas would be easier for them to propose if they
knew they were believed in by more vote tells them that
you believe in those ideas. Just a small step in the right direction to be sure
but at least we will make some progress. The major parties do look at vote
totals and the more votes we have the better.

Just a thought, happy voting........"

Isn't it interesting now, after the defeat of Al Gore, that the Dems seem to
be falling all over themselves to embrace Howard Dean...a very liberal
candidate indeed. Maybe Ralph made an impact after all??

Live free or die, Michael S.

Michael R. Sawyer
Trade Printing
1761 Kelly Street
San Mateo, CA 94403
ph: 650-286-0970
fax: 650-286-1980

Indeed, it appears that those that voted for him ended up putting a war monger in office who also has created a half trillion dollar national debt and whose actions we'll most likely be paying for with lives and money for generations to come. And unfortunately, replacing him with a liberal won't change any of the damage done.

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  All too true. The "wasted vote syndrome" continues to be the biggest thing holding the Libertarian Party back. Voting for the candidate who most closely reflects our ideas (as Bruce said) is the way to go. It doesn't matter whether that candidate has a chance of winning or not. Again, it does NOT MATTER if the candidates we vote for have a serious chance of winning! This cannot be stressed too much, because once people understand it, a major objection to voting Libertarian melts away.

  Why doesn't it matter? Because one vote will not change the results of any significant election. If it's that close, there will almost certainly be a recount, and the recount total is almost always different. Even if you could convince 10, 100, or even 1,000 of your friends to change their votes and vote the way you want them to, you will probably never affect the outcome of any state or national election. Even local elections are very, very rarely decided by a difference small enough for an ordinary person to conceivably affect. Eileen Hansen's loss to Mark Leno for San Francisco Supervisor in 2000 by 712 votes was seen as so close that she bragged about it in 2002 as a way of selling her electability.

  So if your vote won't change the outcome, why vote? Because it makes a difference in other ways. It will cause people to take notice. Voting regularly gets you included in the list of people who are more frequently surveyed and whose views are more closely examined by political observers. Vote totals, as Steve mentioned. Higher totals give a party or a candidate more credibility. Beating expectations. If a candidate expected to get no more than 9% gets 10%, that is a victory. Sometimes a losing candidate who beats expectations is perceived as more of a winer than than a winning candidate who squeaks by with an unexpectedly small margin of victory.

  When we vote, we express confidence not only in the candidate we vote for, but in that candidate's party. If we vote for a Republican or a Democrat, we are expressing confidence in those parties. If we vote for a popular Republican or a Democrat, we express confidence in the choices presented to us by the mainstream media — the parties and candidates they tell us we should be paying attention to and choosing among.

  Voting for a non-Libertarian candidate when there is a Libertarian in the race who stands for our party and its ideas is sending a vote of no confidence in the Libertarian Party. It undermines our solidarity and makes our work as activists more difficult. An LP activist who votes Republican or Democrat is sh--ting on his or her own activism. Let's respect ourselves and keep the faith — vote straight-ticket Libertarian every time!

Yours in liberty,
              <<< Starchild >>>


  It was Michael Sawyer who mentioned increasing vote totals as a reason to vote Libertarian, not Steve.

                <<< Starchild >>>

Are you sure you mean that? If it was a close race between, say, Stalin and Clinton and Stalin had the lead, you would vote for a 3rd party, instead of Clinton? I'm not saying that the current race for governor is as dramatic a choice, just that other considerations are important as well. I understand the push-the-party argument, but I don't think it always tips the scales in it's favor.

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  I do mean what I said. If it were a choice between Stalin, Clinton, and a Libertarian, the Libertarian would have my vote. Why should I vote for someone I can't believe in when it's not going to change the results anyway? Would you vote for Clinton if you knew your vote wouldn't change the results? In mathematical terms, the chance of the Libertarian actually winning and the chance of your vote (or even the votes of you plus all your friends) affecting the outcome of a presidential election are both so incredibly slight as to be statistically equal. And all else being equal, I would certainly support a Libertarian over Clinton.

Yours in liberty,
              <<< Starchild >>>

The premise of the question was that "it was a close race" and therefore your vote could very well make a difference.

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  Even in a presidential race projected as being "close", your vote still will not decide the race. The 2000 election in Florida was not merely close — it was a once-in-a-lifetime, nay, a once-in-a-Republic occurrence. And even in that race you would have needed to convince several hundred people to change their vote in order to change the outcome. And these people would have had to live in the right counties in Florida. A few hundred changed votes anywhere else wouldn't have made enough of a difference. So I have to repeat my question below: Why should I vote for a person and a party I can't believe in when it's not going to change the results anyway?

Yours in liberty,
              <<< Starchild >>>

Voting is not an individual activity. It is a means of determining what the population
as a whole wants. It should be considered every person's duty to vote for what they
want, without trying to play games! Only in this way will a vote truly display what
the population as a whole wants. If you lie about what you want... say you vote for
a 2nd best because you think he's more likely to win, then the vote results are NOT
representative of what the population really wants! Don't try to play games! Do your
solomn duty and tell the truth.

It is dangerous to try to predict how other people are going to vote, and then to use
that assumed knowledge to affect your own voting strategy.

Look at the stock markets. Everyone is trying to predict what everyone else is going
to do. You can do this effectively only when most people are predictable. Once the
number of people who base their vote on what other people might do passes a certain
threshold, the entire system erupts into chaos. This is seen in the financial markets
as short-term unpredictable random noise in stock prices.

I've watched the media attempt to warp our opinions on votes time and time again, with
outcomes of polls that are supposedly statistically valid. However, they are not. Why?
Many reasons. Votes are not evenly distributed through the population -- memes travel
from person to person causing groups of people to vote similarly. People change their
minds. Many people refused to be polled, especially libertarian-minded people.

What the poll does accomplish, though, is to make people *believe* that the outcome is
already mostly determined, except for some small variance and their own individual vote.
And so now they feel that they should vote only if it has some small chance of tipping
the scales. So many times they vote for a 2nd best.

Don't believe the polls. What amazes me every time (and shouldn't) is that the outcome
of the vote is NEVER what the media predicted, and often times they are not even close.
I personally feel that media polling is disruptive to a fair and balanced vote. And it
is clearly manipulative and has lots of room for abuse. Even when it is truthfully and
fairly reported, it is harmful to the institution of voting. Many independants and
libertarians sadly no longer vote their mind, but instead try to vote a "strategy."

Every vote counts. Even though very few elections have been won by a close margin,
every vote still counted. It is a fallacy in thinking that your vote only counts
when the election results are close. Think of an election where one person wins
by a landslide. Everyone who voted for the winner was counted, and that is why the
winner won. I could imagine someone saying "Well, my vote didn't count, because
if I didn't vote, she would have won anyways". What if everyone said this? They
would clearly be wrong. So then, it is simply wrong in every case as well. If
nobody's vote counted, then there would be no winner. All of the votes *must* have
had a real impact on the outcome. It's hard to see that your vote counts when you
start to think that you need to have the power, all by yourself, to change the
outcome. You don't. You probably never will have that much power. And yet your
vote will still count.

All that being said, I think that you should vote for the person, not the party.

I also think that we should push to get a ranked-voting scheme into place wherever
possible, like the advanced Condorcet method. Are we working any initiatives in that


You can never know if it is actually going to be a close race or not.

Between Stalin, Clinton, and a Libertarian, I would vote for the Libertarian
as well. Why? Because he/she most closely reflects my opinions and views.
That is what we are supposed to be doing when we vote.

If Stalin wins, and a Clinton suppporter says to me "Why did you vote for
the Libertarian! You didn't help us fight Stalin!" I would simply say "yes,
yes I did. I voted against Stalin just like you did. The people who voted
for Stalin must be the majority -- it was them, the majority, that did this,
not either of us."


Steve Dekorte wrote:

If we apply the your logic to voting Libertarian, we must conclude that it is equally pointless as a single vote won't make any difference there either.

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  I don't vote Libertarian because I expect to change the outcome of elections. Several people (including myself) have listed other reasons to cast votes for the LP. I think Mike Dilger put it best — you should vote for who you really want to see in office, because that's the only way an election can accurately reflect the views of the electorate.

  Of course in a partisan election you aren't just voting for a candidate, you are also voting for his or her party. This isn't as immediately obvious in America as in countries that use proportional representation, but it remains true. The Libertarian Party is so far above all the other parties in the U.S. as far as what it stands for (as Michael Edelstein pointed out), that an LP candidate would have to be horrible and another party's candidate absolutely terrific to make it worth costing the party a vote.

  But I get the impression that your reluctance to automatically vote Libertarian is not based on considering only individuals and not parties. You just want to feel like you've got a horse in the race.

Yours in liberty,
              <<< Starchild >>>

Then you got the wrong impression.

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