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Victimizing Protest Voters

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During the next few months, you will undoubtedly (and very often) hear one specific sentence: "You should not vote for a third-party candidate because this election is too important for a 'protest' vote!" And I know that they will say this because (1) it's given them a lot of successful traction since the turn of the century, and (2) They're old and senile and don't seem to know a lot of words anymore.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but quite obviously, anyone making this statement wants you to vote for whichever candidate they are supporting, but they are more afraid that the candidate they are not supporting will get elected.

"Delusions of grandeur, visions of splendor …"

To be clear, a 'protest vote' is defined as "a vote cast in an election to demonstrate the voter's dissatisfaction with the choice of candidates or refusal of the current political system." But here are some insights that they don't want you to know, and some questions that they don't want you to answer: "Is voting for an alternate party candidate a 'protest vote'? What exactly are we protesting with our 'protest vote'?"

In the larger scope:

  • We are protesting the idea that either of the Old Parties (or their ideological platforms) actually represent the whole of "We, the People of the United States", our views, and our ideals (because neither of them even come close to representing ALL of the people).
  • We are protesting the idea that our choice of candidates - specifically, presidential candidates - MUST be limited to two people, both of whom a majority of the population believes is unfit for the office.

"Eyes wide open, heart undefended, innocence untarnished."

In a more narrow focus:

  • We are protesting the idea that we are somehow too stupid (and therefore not allowed) to vote for the candidate of our own choice based on our values and our opinions on the issues that matter most to us. Instead, we must cast our vote for one of the two insipid and uninspiring Old Party candidates whose values and opinions on the issues that matter most to us are one with which we do not agree. ("Those candidates have no chance at winning, so you MUST choose between the two candidates that DO have a chance at winning.")
  • We are protesting the idea that, because we have made a different choice, that our opinions do not really matter. ("I'm not going to listen to your opinions because they do not mesh with mine and are, therefore, stupid.")
  • We are protesting the dystopian horror scenarios, the social engineering, and the bully tactics used by insecure and immature Old Party adherents that we must get on their bandwagon (even if we don't agree with their candidate) because "the other guy is far worse". ("You MUST vote for my candidate, otherwise their candidate will win and we will all go to hell in a handbasket.")
  • With our protest votes, we are saying, as an entire population, that our voices should reflect our real voices and values rather than the voices and values of a relatively few people on the increasingly extreme ends of the political spectrum.

"Cinderella Man, hang on to your plans. Try as they might, they cannot steal your dreams."

They are also going to tell you that by not voting for one of their "establishment" candidates that you are "wasting" your vote. You're not. No vote is wasted if you are voting for something you believe in.

  • Voting for a candidate whose vision or ideals you don't support is a wasted vote.
  • Voting for one candidate to win just so that the other candidates will lose is a wasted vote.

But here's where it gets tricky: not voting is also a wasted vote. By not voting you are not allowing your voice to be heard or your opinion to be counted. That's not a protest because you aren't protesting, you're capitulating (much like France during World War 2). You're essentially saying that you cannot be bothered to share your opinion and that your opinion does not matter.

So, yes, voting for an alternative party or independent candidate is a protest vote because those votes represent dissent with the requirement to vote for Coke OR Pepsi, for Statler OR Waldorf. Those protest votes let Congress, the media, and the Old Party stuffed shirts (a smug, conceited, and usually pompous person often with an inflexibly conservative or reactionary attitude) know that there are people out there who WILL vote, who don't approve of the candidates being force-fed to us by private entities (the DNC and GOP are private entities, not public ones) whose only real motives, cycle after political cycle, appear to be 

  1. to stick it to the other guys, and
  2. to bone the American people up the ass with a red-hot poker.

When someone tells you that you are "wasting your vote" by choosing to support an alternative party or independent candidate, you need to recognize that they don't really care about you, your values, your opinion, OR your right to choose for yourself. They are essentially saying that your beliefs are not worthy of being represented in the state houses, in Congress, in the Executive Branch because your beliefs aren't their beliefs. They are saying that you should silence your voice so that other voices can be louder, and THAT is a very selfish statement.

You see, I think that they SHOULD be afraid because we disagree with the assessment that this is not the time for a protest vote. This is EXACTLY time for a protest vote because there ARE candidates out there who represent the ideals and views that we think are important, not just for ourselves, but for our families, our children, and our grandchildren. Vote for the candidate that YOU want. THAT is what representative government is supposed to be about.

So, if voting for an alternative party or independent candidate is a "protest vote" or a "wasted vote", then I suppose that voting for an "establishment" candidate is a "surrender vote".


Committee to Elect Darren Hamilton
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