Thursday, October 30, 2008

DO throw away your vote

Every four years I get into the same argument with friends and family. I inform them that I don’t see any substantive differences between the two major party candidates and, therefore, I will be voting for a third party candidate.

Wait for it . . . wait for it . . . “But you are throwing away your vote!” So I explain to them that that is only the case if there was a reasonable probability that my one vote would be the deciding vote in determining the outcome of the presidential election. (Here is
link to a site that claims, for the 2008 presidential election, I live in a state where my probability of being the deciding vote is a billion to one.)

Very often the response to my probability argument is, “But what if everyone thought like that?” The implication is that this would result in the election of the greater evil. I usually tell them that I cannot control anyone else’s vote except mine. Which is true; I can’t even convince my wife to vote third party.

The discussion should end there. They either understand the indisputable logic of my argument or they don’t. Unfortunately, they usually try to trump logic with the Supreme claim. You know the argument, it goes something like this . . the President appoints justices to the Supreme Court and a Republican president will at least nominate someone who believes in upholding the Constitution as originally intended. Which of course does nothing to change the validity of the probability argument, but the Supreme argument has been surprisingly effective in keeping dissatisfied conservatives in the GOP fold. My response is, “You mean like Souter or Stephens?” Both appointed by Republican presidents and yet two of the most liberal members of the Supreme Court. So unless the GOP fields a ticket of true Constitutionalists, why assume they will get judges right?


frozendelights said...

I've had the same disscussion many times and have played both sides of the discussion to the same level of futility. The disscussion mainly goes on because there is nothing better to talk about at the time. The end result end up being the same group of conclusions with me on the devil's avocate on either side. I have never had the experience of having someone try trump the conversation with the irrelavant supremacy arguments though. I think I would be a bit blunt if someone demonstrated so little critical thinking ability.

lewis said...

frozendelights, so what are the counter arguments?