Vote – what is it good for?

A reader's compendium of the lesser evil arguments

There is currently an interesting kerfluffle in the progressive blogosphere. Naturally, it’s the lesser of two evils debate. In case you missed it, the recent uproar began with this article by Matt Stoller in Salon. Reactions to his article in the comments section were nasty and brutish. Among other things, some very tolerant liberals smeared Stoller as a racist for the audacity of questioning our Leader.

Glenn Greenwald tweeted thus:

Stoller then went on to debate this issue with  Daniel Ellsberg, Daily Beast writer Emily Hauser and briefly before he walked out, Ben Manski, Green Party Activist and Jill Stein Campaign manager.

This is is their debate on Huffpost:

Stoller – Ellsberg – Hauser – dialogue de sourdes.

In case this argument for voting third party, or at least for not voting democratic, gives you apoplexy but you are nonetheless still tempted to read the arguments, please consider reading this first:

Then, after you’ve done your homework and innoculated yourself against knee jerk tribal groupthink here are some good articles that rebut the Ellsberg, Chomsky position (short form: vote for third party where it’s safe, in a swing state vote Obama).

We’ll close with the Bring It Local mantra – there is one legitimate form of voting that is left to us. Where you spend your money is a true form of voting. Spending is voting. Your money is the oxygen on which the system runs. Look into alternatives to giving all your money to the biggest corporations.



  1. karen says:

    I’ve fluctuated for months now on whether to embrace the lesser of two evils theory and have finally decided to rebuke it. It now seems like the abortion and gay marriage issue are the two big differences between the candidates; in many many other ways they are too similar.
    Abortion: Yes, woman from Daily Beast, you worry about your daughter not having access to abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned under Romney. But here’s the reality, it doesn’t need to be overturned to make it virtually unobtainable or highly restrictive in many states right now. And if that is to change, it is going to come from the ground up, as it always has.
    Gay marriage: many people cite Obama has having delivered a message in making it now possible for gay people to join the military. Ok, admittedly, this is a hard one to like as I don’ t think anyone should go to the military! That being said, it’s sad that the country has given a higher priority to the military in terms of “gay rights” yet still does not grant equal status for taxes, hospital visits, etc etc to gay couples.
    So, I’m coming out – no vote for either one of them from me. It’s time to cast a vote of hope for a new paradigm. I know it may be impossible but I haven’t become 100% cynical yet.

    • Mark says:

      Another issue is social security. It’s been the accepted wisdom forever that it’s the Democrats who are protectors of Social Security and other entitlements and that the Republicans want to gut everything. But here is a video interview with Bill Black on the Real News that talks about the ‘Grand Betrayal’ awaiting us all with Obama’s second term. He has clearly stated his intention to impose the beginnings of European style austerity by cutting entitlements. How is that going to help women who are in the lower income strata of our society?

      Black comes to the conclusion that it is sadly going to take a Democratic to implement what the Republicans can only dream about. This is exactly what has been referred to elsewhere as the ‘more efficient evil’ (I believe somewhere in the Black Agenda Report website – one of the articles cited in this post)

      this is the interview: