For many years Americans have justified voting for candidates they were not especially thrilled with by convincing themselves that the lesser evil deserved to win office. The fraction of people totally committed to one of the two major parties is small. Most Americans see themselves as independents, liberals, conservatives, progressives or libertarians, but not as loyal Democrats or Republicans. Most Americans are fed up with both major parties, not just incumbents.
But this year’s midterm elections will once again result in only Democratic or Republican candidates winning. Other than staying home and not voting, nearly all voters will employ the lesser-evil justification. Just one problem: That lesser-evil strategy has resulted in the dismal state of the nation that angers most Americans.
The only logical conclusion is that lesser-evil voting perpetuates all the cancerous evil plaguing the political system. This should not surprise anyone. Regardless of party affiliation, major party candidates convincingly lie to voters and the tons of money poured into politics create a mass propaganda machine from both parties that deceives voters.
Lesser-evil voting sometimes works in favor of Democrats and sometimes favors Republicans. Negative advertising creates fear of some candidates and media pundits and celebrities use their considerable power to give voters reasons to vote for or against candidates. The thirst for true reforms of government persists, as evidenced by the Tea Party movement and even the election of President Obama. It is the force that moves the pendulum from one party to the other.
When will Americans wake up and realize that lesser evil still means evil? Least bad still means bad. Least corrupt still means corrupt. Least dishonest still means dishonest. Least stupid still means stupid.
But many people despairingly see no other option if they want to fulfill their civic responsibility and participate in elections. That is because the two major parties have given Americans no real options. They like the lesser-evil system that sustains the two-party plutocracy. Only voters in Nevada can choose the “none of the above” option. The rest of us can stay home or vote for third party candidates that stand no real chance of winning. What to do?
Stop deluding yourself that any Democrat or Republican in Congress or the White House will actually do absolutely everything, even if it means not winning reelection, to reform the corrupt, dysfunctional, wasteful government system being controlled by wealthy people and corporate interests, and devastating ordinary Americans.
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Accept the ugly reality that voting within the electoral system is no longer capable of reforming and fixing our government. Is that it? Is there nothing else to do in our constitutional republic? Actually, there is something else. The Founders put an alternative path to reform in the Constitution. In their wisdom they foresaw the possibility that the electoral system might fail we the people. Very few Americans know about this option in Article V, which itself speaks volumes about the decay of our educational and political systems. State convention delegates could propose reform constitutional amendments that would never be proposed by Congress, and they would still have to be ratified by three-quarters of the states.
Instead of feeling frustrated with lesser-evil voting take the time to learn about the Article V convention option and why Congress has refused to honor the hundreds of state applications for one. Friends of the Article V Convention, a national nonpartisan group, makes those applications available on its website, something that Congress never did, as well as many other resources.
Political powers on the left and right have worked hard to prevent the Article V convention option from ever being used. That should tell you that what they fear we the people need now more than ever before. The main thing to fear is the status quo political system that your lesser-evil votes sustain. Only vote for someone who you deeply believe without reservations is the absolute best person to have in office. That may mean not voting for every office on the ballot.
[Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through delusionaldemocracy.com. He is a co-founder of Friends of the Article V Convention.]
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