Friday, April 1, 2016

The Third Party Voting Option

Ron Paul was always worth listening to during his long career as a U.S. congressman.  He still is.

Recently he told a CNN interviewer that  he wouldn’t vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, if they became the nominees of their respective parties. "What I'd like to have on all of the ballots is 'none of the above,'" he said.

Clinton and Trump “both support the military industrial complex, the federal reserve, deficits and entitlements, and an invasion of our privacy," Paul said. "It's super nationalistic populism.” 

His advice? Vote the Green party if you’re progressive, otherwise vote the Libertarian party.

The third party option is not at all popular in American politics.  Most right wing pundits are shaming the Republican candidates for backing away from their pledge to unite behind the Republican nominee regardless of who he is.  On the Democratic side, the Jill Stein Green option is scorned by even Sanders supporters.

The lesser of two evils doctrine rules the day on both sides.

I recently took part in a spirited on-line round-table among liberals. Only two of us stood firm on not voting for Clinton if she is the nominee. All of the others cited variants on the lesser evil theme.

Even if she were wrong on only one major issue (the Republicans are wrong on just about everything), that issue alone, war mongering foreign policy, would disqualify her for the presidency.  In particular, she is the architect of the overthrow of the legitimate government in Ukraine and the deliberate antagonism of Russia.  Pushing NATO and U.S. arms to the very borders of Russia is the equivalent of Nikita Khrushchev’s madness in putting missiles in Cuba in 1962.  We narrowly averted nuclear war then; there is no guarantee we can do so again. As evidenced in her recent pandering speech to AIPAC, Clinton is dedicated to not just continuing but expanding the role of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s mad hawk prime minister, in American foreign policy.  This further militates  against a peaceful resolution of the U.S.-Russia contretemps in which Clinton is so instrumental. Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Bob Kagan, Doug Feith et al  are betting that nobody, not even Vladimir Putin, would actually push the nuclear button.  They're certain that in a conventional war, our military might and global network of bases would prevail.  Meanwhile, their cockamamie antics in the South China Sea, and their belligerence in eastern Europe, are driving Russia and China into each other's arms. If you consider a Russia-China military alliance, victory in conventional war becomes less certain, and probably so terribly costly that it's no more of an option than mutual assured destruction by nukes.

If Clinton and Trump are the nominees, only strong showings by minority parties can send the message the executive branch would need to hear, calling for restraint and diplomacy rather than rattling of nuclear sabers.

The only real strength of the lesser evil position is that the president nominates Supreme Court justices.  One vacancy exists, and others almost certainly will occur during the term of the next president.  The notion of Donald Trump choosing judges for the highest court in the land is almost too horrifying to contemplate.  

But so, too, is the notion of a SCOTUS with nothing to adjudicate in the hell of nuclear winter, or a nation bled dry by endless war against truly powerful opponents.

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