Saturday, November 16, 2013

Some thoughts about third parties, refusing to vote, and choosing the lesser of two evils

I'm a believer that sometimes one has to choose the lesser of two evils, because no good choice is then available. But I've heard it argued that choosing the lesser of two evils is "choosing evil." This is a problematic claim, because when no better choice is available, choosing the lesser of two evils is the option that will minimize evil the most, and is thus the most anti-evil (and most pro-good) choice available.

Another problematic argument is that refusing to vote is "the greatest political statement you can make" (in the words of an old friend of mine). The context of this argument was that it shows you will not support either candidate. But refusing to support any candidate for president is often to allow the worst of the two candidates to enter office, as happened in the last election. The real political statement made is "I don't want a say in what happens in my government," and this is a statement that few civic-minded people would ever want to make.

Another problematic solution is to vote for a third-party candidate. Since the advent of political parties in the Founding Fathers' time, there have been over fifty presidential elections; but only in three of them have new parties entered the White House, and all of them were prior to the Civil War. Third-party candidates gaining the White House is thus extremely rare; and unless the polls show massive support for a third party, the chances of a third party actually gaining the White House are quite remote. Sorry, Ron Paul supporters: third-party candidacy would seem unrealistic to me.

Thus, voting for the best (or least bad) of the two main candidates is the best option that is realistically available. The best candidate to vote for in the last election was Mitt Romney.

Did the Founding Fathers oppose political parties? (Actually, no ... )


  1. Absolutely agree with all you said, and thanks for the history brief!


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