As November inches closer, our eyes and eardrums are being bombarded with propaganda about the futility of voting for a Third Party candidate. The typical, head-in-the-sand argument is, more or less, as follows:
‘Every vote that is not for Hillary is a vote for Trump.‘
As opposed to debating the technicalities and practicalities of the matter, I am more interested in a total decolonization of political thought and action. The view that we must resign ourselves to voting for a bad candidate to avoid an even worse candidate is defeatist. We are becoming content with the garbage that is being shoved down our throats. We can always do better, but – as I argue in a previous post – we have convinced ourselves that this is impossible.
Lesser evilism is based on a politics of fear. In essence, a boogeyman is presented to the public in dark lighting and scary music – sending voters straight into the arms of the other candidate. Fear bypasses the cognitive mind and subtly convinces us to vote against our best interests (i.e. Nixon and Reagan used this strategy to convince people to vote across party lines). Thus, people are not making critical, informed decisions with regard to their vote – they are making emotional, uninformed decisions. Most of the Clinton supporters I have encountered use the same shoulder-shrug logic of: “well, at least she ain’t Trump!” – but they are incapable of elucidating her record in a meaningful way.
Moreover, such an idea hinges upon an over-estimation of the differences between candidates. The differences between Clinton and Trump are truly of degree, not of kind. There is more in the middle of a Venn Diagram than on the outskirts. As Malcolm X said: “Republicans bite you with a growl, Democrats bite you with a smile. But either way, you end up in the dog-house!”
I am all for recognizing limitations in this situation, and staving off the worst. But my problem is: how long are we going to play this game? At what point does recognizing a limitation transition into being complicit with domination? Do we realize that having a two-party system which requires corporate money and super-delegates is anti-democratic? Do we realize that the two-party system is inherently bent in favor of those in power, and hence, maintains the status quo of racism, sexism, classism, etc?
Organizing around a Third Party is only impossible if we fall in love with our chains. This needs to be viewed as a legitimate alternative.