Poli-Tea: The Case for Strategic Third Party Voting in the New York Gubernatorial Race

Damon Eris at Poli-Tea:

In every election, among those who cast their ballots for the candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties, there are no doubt a large percentage who do so against their better judgment and even against their own will.  These voters go by many names.  Sometimes they are called defensive voters, who cast their ballots for the candidate of one major party so as to defend against the election of the candidate from the other.  Others are lesser-of-two-evils voters, who assert that casting a ballot for a third party candidate is “throwing one’s vote away.” Some are strategic voters, who would rather support an independent or third party candidate but are plagued by the same worries as the defensive voter or the lesser-evilist, and so on.

Though I am, of course, a proponent of third party and independent politics in and for itself, in New York’s gubernatorial race, a strong case can also be made for what we might call strategic third party voting.  There are likely very few people who have any doubt what the outcome of this contest will be.  Democrat Andrew Cuomo leads his nearest rival, Republican Carl Paladino, by twenty to forty percentage points, according to recent polls. As we approach election day, Democrats have little to worry about and Republicans little to hope for.  In other words, the dynamics that motivate defensive voting in favor of the major party candidates are simply not in play in this race.

As I wrote last week, if you support Democrats because you still believe the myth that they stand for the interests of the middle and working class, that they provide a viable opposition to Republicans, that they stand for social values and justice, there is no question that you should vote for Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins.  On the other hand, if you support Republicans because you still believe the myth that they are opponents of big government, that they stand for individual rights and liberties, and that they provide a viable opposition to the Democrats, there is no question that you should cast your ballot for Libertarian Party candidate Warren Redlich.  Given the state of Democratic-Republican party politics, only the most intellectually dishonest progressives, liberals, conservatives and libertarians could argue with these basic points.  However, ideological and philosophical reasoning aside, there is also a strategic reason to support the Green and Libertarian candidates for governor.

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