Last week, a reader asked whether it made more sense to vote for an upstanding candidate of the opposing party, whose policies you oppose, or for a ‘doofus’ you did not respect but who might give a majority to the party whose policies you favor. I said: when control of the government hangs in the balance, you have to go with the doofus.
Magda: ‘You know, I’m with you on a lot of issues, but not this one, my friend. You offer the options of voting for a [slimeball] from your own party or a candidate from the party you oppose. You seem to have forgotten there are other people on the ballot. In most races there are at least three (and frequently more) candidates on the ballot. Years ago, I had my two-party blinders lifted. Since then I have honestly evaluated candidates on the basis of their character, policies and platforms – and not solely on the basis of their party affiliation. To do less surrenders my claim to participation in a representative democracy. Why vote for someone I cannot respect enough to have them represent me?’
☞ Because otherwise you could get a very bad outcome. Your approach is totally fine if it won’t matter and you want your vote to make a statement – I’d do it, too. But it’s a disastrous thing to do in instances – like tomorrow’s unbelievably close race for control of the House and Senate – where it could matter. The most obvious example of this, although it does not involve a slimeball, was the 2000 presidential race. Those to the left of Al Gore should have voted for him anyway, if they lived in a swing state like Florida. Instead, 97,000 Nader voters elected Bush. There may be a Nader voter out there somewhere who prefers the world according to Bush over what they imagine the world would have been under Gore – but I can’t imagine who he would be, unless it is Ralph himself. And I think he’s rationalizing.
MORE ON JEB
Surely you know someone who knows someone who votes in Florida. Please send him or her this devastating column from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Or this one from an editorial in Friday’s Palm Beach Post. (‘As a candidate in 1998,’ it begins, ‘Jeb Bush promised Floridians ‘a new kind of politics.’ He has delivered. He and the Republican Party have put out signs that the state is open for business — private business. Never in Florida has there been such a link between politics and policy. Never has an administration had to invent so many defenses of obvious conflicts of interest. Never has money become so institutionalized in Tallahassee.’)
Don’t you have a grandmother in Florida? Sure you do. Or your old college roommate surely does. Let’s do this people. We desperately need a regime change in Florida.