The ‘I Won’t Vote For The Lesser Of Two Evils’ Rubbish
So they tell me they’re not going to vote next November. Or they’ll vote for a third-party candidate.
Maybe you know someone like this. Or you yourself fall into this camp.
Here’s what I tell them: By not voting or voting for a third party, they’re actually casting a vote for Trump.
Some respond by saying that Trump may be a curse, but they’re sick and tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.
Wrong. Biden is not evil. Trump is truly evil.
If there’s one argument I can’t stand, it’s the “I’m not going to vote for the lesser of two evils” argument.
The fact is, America has a two-party system. You may not like it, but that’s our reality. The founders did not opt for a parliamentary system, where citizens have more options of whom to vote for.
So one of the nominees from one of the two major parties is going to win. And if you don’t vote, or you vote for a third party candidate, you’re inevitably hurting the candidate from one of the major parties who’s closest to you in values — and helping the one farthest from you.
Which perhaps wasn’t of huge consequence 50 years ago. But as the Republican Party has gone fascist, with unhinged Trump at its head, the potential consequences of your not voting or voting for a third=party candidate are horrific.
In 2016, many people knew Trump was out of his gourd. But they disliked Hillary Clinton so much they decided to sit on their hands, or vote for the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, rather than vote for what they described as “the lesser of two evils.”
And look what we got.
If Trump gets back into the Oval Office, it’s likely to be even worse this time.
On Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” broadcast of August 4, 2016, I debated journalist and author Chris Hedges, who was supporting Green Party candidate Jill Stein. [The following transcript has been edited for length. You can find the unedited transcript here, or if you have the time you may want to watch the entire 35-minute debate, which I’ve posted here.]
Me: Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee. I support her. And I support her not only because she will be a good president, if not a great president, but also, frankly, because I am tremendously worried about the alternative. And the alternative is somebody who is a megalomaniac and a bigot who will set back the progressive movement decades, if not more.
Hedges: Clinton has abandoned children. She and her husband destroyed welfare as we know it, and 70 percent of the original recipients were children. I don’t like Trump, but Trump is responding to a phenomenon created by neoliberalism. And we may get rid of Trump, but we will get something even more vile, maybe Ted Cruz.
Me: If Donald Trump becomes president, irrevocable negative changes will happen in the United States, including appointments to the Supreme Court that will worsen the structure of this country. Voting for Donald Trump or equating Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump is insane.
Hedges: I admire Robert and have read much of his stuff and like his stuff, but if you listen to what he’s been saying, the message is the same message of the Trump campaign, and that is fear. And fear is all the Democrats have to offer now and all the Republicans have to offer now.
Me: Given our two-party, winner-take-all system, it’s just too much of a risk to say, “I’m not going to vote for the lesser of two evils.” If you do not support Hillary Clinton, you are increasing the odds of a true, clear and present danger to the United States, a menace to the United States. And you’re increasing the possibility that the United States will be changed for the worse. I must urge everyone who is listening or who is watching to do whatever they can to make sure that Hillary Clinton is the next president, and not Donald Trump.
Hedges: I find Trump a vile and disturbing and disgusting figure, but I don’t believe that voting for the Democratic establishment [will help]. The TPP [Trans Pacific Partnership] is going to go through, whether it’s Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Endless war is going to be continued, whether it’s Trump or Clinton. We’re not going to get our privacy back, whether it’s under Clinton or Trump. The idea that, at this point, the figure in the executive branch exercises that much power, given the power of the war industry and Wall Street, is a myth.
Starting five months after this discussion, we had four years of Trump. We saw what his bigotry and hatefulness did to America. We witnessed how he divided America into two angry camps that are still furious with each other. We endured his giant tax cut to the rich and big corporations. We watched his attempted coup. We suffered through his refusal to concede the 2020 election and his big lie that it was “stolen” from him. He is now running again, in an even more paranoid and bigoted campaign than in 2016 or 2020.
I rest my case.