On a few threads, I've seen comments about not voting, or voting for the lesser of two evils. I pulled this from the website of the Libertarian candidate for Michigan Attorney General....
Don't Waste Your Vote!
Don’t Waste Your Vote. Send a Message. Vote for Bill Hall for Michigan Attorney General.
The biggest objection to voting for an independent, third party candidate, like me, is the “wasted vote” argument — the idea that if you vote for someone who probably will not win, then the vote does not count. While I do think it's possible for me to win this race, I would like to address this issue for those who think a win is unlikely.
What is a Wasted Vote?
An unprincipled vote is the only wasted vote.
Voting for a third party candidate, contrary to popular belief, is not a wasted vote.
What is voting? It’s a chance to tell the state — and perhaps even the country — what your vision of government and society really is.
But how do most of us vote? Do the majority of those who believe the independent or third party candidate is the best candidate, most in tune with our own feelings, actually vote for them? No. Instead, most of us vote for the “lesser of two evils” — a defensive vote, rather than an offensive one.
The lesser of two evils is still evil.
So what happens after you vote the defensive vote? Well, then you have sold out your personal beliefs. You have become a political prostitute. You aren’t standing up for what you believe in by voting for “the lesser of two evils.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being a political hooker. If you think the Republican or the Democrat really does best mirror your beliefs, then by all means, vote for that candidate. But if you don’t, and you still vote for them, you’re helping to preserve the status quo you probably despise.
Remember, You Never Decide the Winner
In statewide races, there is a single important point to remember: You as an individual will never cast the deciding ballot! Hence there is no reason to vote for the lesser evil.
A national or statewide race will never be decided by one vote. And if, by some mathematical chance it got that close, you and I know that it would be decided in the courts. No longer is any candidate who loses a close race content to accept the verdict of the voters. You can be sure that the Republican and Democratic parties will pull out all stops to overturn the voters’ decision. Witness the lawsuits over the Washington governor’s race two years ago, and the presidential election six years ago.
If you go to the polls to cast “the deciding ballot” in major races and you value your life, you are making an irrational decision. The chances of dying en route in a car, plane or meteor accident are far greater than the chance of casting the one deciding ballot.
So What’s the Point of Voting?
We as individuals don’t vote to select the winner.
As a practical matter, we vote to tell everyone else which choice best represents the direction that we want Michigan to go. When you vote, you gain a certain power that a non-voter doesn’t have; the power to change Michigan.
Hence voting for the lesser of two evils, whether the Republican or Democrat, sends the wrong message; it’s sending a message of compromise. In effect, a defensive vote says “I will settle for a good Michigan, not the best Michigan possible.” I urge you not to settle for anything but the best.
Remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. In other words, if you want change, then create change by voting for it.
The history of third parties in America is that they serve as the vanguard for new ideas. It is these ideas that make the world go round. If a third party begins to draw votes, one or both of the two big parties steal their ideas.
Socialists Can Teach Us Something
The most successful third party in the 20th Century was the Socialist Party. While never winning any significant elections, their small but growing vote totals were a threat to the Democrats. Thus the Democrats, and then later the Republicans, adopted piecemeal every major tenet of the 1916 Socialist Party platform.
Libertarians are the opposite of the Socialists, but they find their success instructive. The radical ideas about liberty that began with the formation of the Libertarian Party in 1971 are now being seriously debated or, in some cases, implemented by the other parties. An increasing number of Libertarian votes are indeed noted by the politicians as well as the media.
So rather than waste your vote on Democrats or Republicans, cast a meaningful ballot that clearly says what you believe.
Libertarians Are the Future
Despite the fact that the Libertarian Party continues to run more candidates in better-funded campaigns each election cycle, it is common to hear: “I really like Libertarian candidates, but I don’t want to waste my vote.”
After watching both Democrats and Republicans make promises that frequently become lies, two conclusions should become evident: (1) The lesser of two evils is still evil, and (2) the only way to waste your vote is not to use it for a candidate that sends the message you want to send to Michigan. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter which evil you vote for, if evil still wins.