“The Myths of Wasting, Splitting and Stealing Votes” by Jordan M. Greene

“…all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” (Declaration of Independence of these United States)


The founders of our nation were in my estimation very astute and understanding men of their time, and as the aforementioned line from the Declaration of Independence shows, they understood man’s natural predisposition to allow their own oppression without challenging the source due to becoming accustomed to that oppression. In our day, we have become conditioned and accustomed to the two major parties, and have been socialized to accept their dominance as something normal and acceptable. Along with the socialization that comes from varying areas of an individual’s life, including that of the family and religious influences, come reasons for believing such. Let me say from the start that these “reasons” for believing in the legitimacy and supposed proper dominance of the two party system and rejecting all others as superfluous, is really nothing short of self-interested and hole-ridden excuses and those who claim to act on principle and their beliefs ought to have no part in their use.

The excuse I believe is most prevalent for not supporting or voting for an alternative party candidate or independent, is also in my opinion the least principled and for Christians like myself, the least Biblical. The excuse most often goes something like this, “If you vote for a third party candidate you’re just wasting your vote.” The idea of course is that your candidate has about as good a chance at winning as a snowball in heck; however, this reasoning does not prevail in the light of principle. Principle on the other hand tells us to vote based on those values and beliefs that we hold dear, and to not compromise to be accepted or win. However this mindset of the wasted vote pushes many people to abandon their principles and choose the lesser of two evils “while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves” by voting for that candidate which actually represents their views simply because they want to be on the winning side. Simply put, the wasted vote syndrome leads to placing victory over your ideals and beliefs. I agree with John Quincy Adams, sixth President of these United States, who said to “[always] vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”

The second excuse is akin to first, that of the accusation of splitting the vote and hurting one side or the other by either splitting the conservative or liberal vote. The idea is that we should all come together despite the importance of our differences because we may have common conservative or liberal views instead of using our vote based on our principles and forcing the major parties to consider the views that we think are important by threatening them with a loss. The idea should be repulsive to Christians, especially those of the Independent Fundamental Baptist persuasion as myself, who value doing what is Biblical and right above what is simply expedient and easy. This could be said to be tantamount to one of these fundamentalist churches bringing in rock bands or not preaching on sin in order to unify and somehow win in the end. It simply does not work. In essences you give in to that which you truly believe to be wrong in order to feel as though you are winning, but in the end you get more pulled in to a compromising mindset and your end goal is no longer in sight because you have compromised on those issues of great import.

Undoubtedly the last excuse I wish to bring up is by far the most indefensible of the three, that of stealing votes by voting for an alternative party’s candidate. To steal a vote, means that theft has been involved, however theft implies ownership, that the item stolen was owned by another. For that reason, it is both unintelligible and foolish to claim that a vote for a third party or independent is stealing votes from either of the two major parties, as neither the Republicans nor Democrats own the votes of the people. The peoples’ votes are exactly that, the peoples’ and go to those who they deem they should go. It is neither reasonable nor sensible to make this claim.

I understand that many people do vote for one of the two major parties out of their truly held beliefs. However, I also know that there are many, especially from my experience with the Christian conservative side of the field, who only vote for the two major parties due in large part to one or more of these three excuses and some misguided since of belonging. What bothers me most, are pastors, evangelists or leaders in the Christian community who, whether it be from the pulpit or in any other forum, urge people to blindly vote all Republican or when someone mentions voting for an alternative party they ridicule or advise against such based on the excuses I have outlined. Does not the Bible still read in James 4:17 “[therefore] to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Simply from a biblical standpoint Christians of all people should know to act on principle and to not compromise their beliefs to be accepted or to win, this applies not only to daily life but to every aspect of life. However, at the polls somehow we forget this and would rather do what is easy than what is principled and right according to our values. As Jefferson said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

As Sartori has said in a similar situation, speaking of free choice in elections, by voting based on these excuses and forfeiting your principles, your voting “becomes nothing more than [your] periodic renunciation of [your own] sovereignty.” I hope you will join me, along with those all across our nation, in voting based on your principles this year, based on the candidate regardless of political affiliation, and help to disband these immoral and fraudulent excuses from your life. [end]

 

The postings on the Charlotte Area Green Party blog intended for educational purposes and issue advocacy. Postings represent the opinions of their author, and may or may not represent the opinions of the local, state or national Green Party affiliates.

Copyright © 2010 Jordon M. Greene. Used with permission.  Jordon M. Greene is the President and Founder of Free the Vote North Carolina (http://www.freethevotenc.com), a non-partisan political action committee dedicated to providing equal ballot access to all political parties and unaffiliated candidates. Jordan served as campaign manager for his father’s unaffiliated congressional campaign in 2008 and as a member of the Constitution Party of North Carolina State Executive from 2008 to 2010. Jordon is a student of political science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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