What Can We Do?

Turn on any news station and you will be flooded with news covering the primary elections for the Republican Party.  And that’s it. However, what if you are one of the many Americans that are unsatisfied with any of the options, including President Obama?  Our current two party system is so entrenched it is unimaginable for a third party to do more than spoil an election.  In fact, it is becoming hard to learn about third party candidates, much less support them. So what is an independent voter to do?   For instance, if you would rather support a third party candidate, but find yourself closer aligned to Democrats than Republicans, is it better to stand your ground and vote for the Independent, knowing your vote will ultimately not count and could possibly even hurt your interests, or make a decision to vote for the lesser of two evils and at least get a government you partially support?  I have no problem with Republicans and Democrats continuing to win elections. However, under the current system they seem to be winning by default, not merit. 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What Can We Do?

  1. Yes, there are many unfortunate aspects of modern elections. Just as many do not identify with either of the two foremost candidates, many people do not feel that their vote really makes any difference. And who can blame them? The odds of one vote making a difference are approximately 1/N, where in is the number of voters in the election. In an election with, say, 100 million voters, the chance of a single vote being decisive is about one millionth of one percent. So, pretty much zero. It is more likely that you will die in a fatal accident on your way to an election than that your vote will matter in that sense. In a country with over 300 million inhabitants this fact is unlikely to change. Thus, the importance of voting seems to be relegated to its merit as a symbolic act.

  2. Additionally, what happens to the value of “democracy” when the two options we do end up with are hardly even distinct options at all? Both parties overwhelmingly supported the War in Iraq, the financial bailouts, and the Patriot Act. Both parties seem increasingly homogeneous, so we must ask ourselves if voting even has a marginal impact on policymaking. Even more frustrating is the apparent apathy and ignorance that the typical American displays. When 50% of the Americans think that the President has the authority to suspend the Constitution as he sees fit, is there really any hope that a minority of informed voters can overcome the apathy of the overall electorate?

  3. ashwinjoshi says:

    The irony is that third party candidates do more to hurt their own causes than to advance them. The case being the 2000 elections. Al Gore lost Florida by 0.01% of the vote – the smallest of margins. Meanwhile Ralph Nader, the candidate of the Green party got 1.6% of the vote. Although this argument assumes that those who voted for Nader would have voter for Gore over Bush, it still is likely that Gore would have made up the 0.01% deficit if Nader had not run for president. Gore would have identified with many of Nader’s causes than Bush would have, but Nader just might have cost Gore the election.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s