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Other Candidates Got Your Down? Hoist Yer Stein!
Politics is a dirty game and nobody has to like federal funding of elections to be resigned to the observation that it’s unlikely to go away anytime soon. Given this observation, what might we do with it? The virtue of strategic, rather than principled, voting – or rather, the assertion that strategic voting is, in reality, the only form of principled voting – has many champions among the Ricochetti this year. Nonetheless, even if we grant that the odds of one’s vote being decisive are large enough in swing states that swing-state voters should feel morally obligated to choose between the two lead candidates (those odds are around one in ten million), many of us live in states so far from swing that they’re not even on the playground (our odds are more like one in a billion).
As of this morning, my state has around a 0.2% chance of tipping the election, and is one of 20 states whose voter power index is under 0.1 (a vote in New Hampshire is more than 50 times more likely than mine to decide the election), according to FiveThirtyEight. (If you don’t like Nate Silver’s methodology, feel free to substitute whichever prediction system you trust most.) Meanwhile, Gary Johnson is polling at around 8 percent nationally. Now, it’s common for polling to overestimate the share of votes third-party candidates will get. Nonetheless, if Johnson is polling at 8 percent now, he has a serious chance of crossing the threshold necessary for the Libertarian Party to receive FEC funding, which is 5 percent of the popular vote. Moreover, as @matt.corbett put it in his recent OP,
As a matter of good public choice theory, sitting out or voting third party (or advocating either) is entirely defensible as part of a long-term strategy. The great paradox of voting coalitions is that the least reliable members have the most influence… Influence can only be re-established with credibility, and credibility can only be re-established by action. An election where “your” candidate is openly contemptuous of you and is most likely a loser anyway is the ideal time to protest vote.
The risk of Johnson crossing the FEC threshold is real in 2016, and exists whether you predict Trump or Clinton to win. And while we know the Libertarian Party does attract some folks who’d otherwise vote Democrat, a federally-funded Libertarian Party is more likely to split the Right than anything else. No matter who is elected President/Emperor this November, the struggle against Leftism won’t be over, and — given the likelihood of the Right being split — it is very much in our interest to also the Left split as well.
For that reason, I propose a Stein hoist:
If you’re not voting Trump, and you’re not satisfied with Gary Johnson – and especially if you’re satisfied that your state is not in play this time around – have you considered voting Stein instead?
Given the risk of Johnson splitting the Right, it seems only fair to try to split the Left as well by getting the Greens across the FEC threshold, too. Right now, Stein is polling between 2 and 3 percent nationally, so it seems getting the Greens across that threshold in 2016 is rather a long shot. Nonetheless, even getting them closer to that threshold would likely encourage the Greens in subsequent elections, and @jamesofengland – no anti-Trumper he, and someone very well-versed in the horse-race aspects of politics – agrees that, long as the odds are of my vote helping the Greens get across that threshold, they’re still likely shorter than the odds of my vote in my state deciding the election between Trump and Clinton.
As a Trump supporter reminded us recently, “Political reality is about probabilities.” As several Trump supporters have reminded us repeatedly, stopping the Left is the most important thing this election season, and conservatives should be willing to get our hands dirty to do it – and what gets a conservative’s hands dirtier than a Green thumb? The first time I ever voted, in another state, a fellow conservative impressed upon me the strategic advantages of voting Green for a particular race. At the time, I could not bring myself to do it; the whole idea repulsed me. It still repulses me. But, given the state I live in, voting Stein may be the most I can do with my vote to damage the Left.
Now, I reserve the right to change my mind on this. If, come late October, my state is somehow in play again, I’ll re-think things. (Although, if that happens, it probably means SMOD has already won.) I’m not trying to persuade Trump supporters to vote Stein instead, even if they live in states dyed the deepest of primary shades. Nor am I saying that those still on the fence about Trump should make up their mind now to not vote for him. I’m just struck by how advantageous it would be for the Greens to get the same FEC funding the LP does, or for the Greens to get FEC funding even if the LP doesn’t. This, despite the fact that I loathe both the Greens and FEC funding. But politics is a dirty game.
It’s also realistic to acknowledge that at this point no amount of pressure is going to get every anti-Leftist voting Trump. Just as even the most prudish parents (or grandparents) can (and, in my experience, do) advise their kids “If you must have sex before marriage, at least use contraception” while still disapproving of premarital sex, well… I realize voting Stein is not saving one’s cherry for Trump, but if the goal is defeating the Left, perhaps Trump supporters might agree that voting Stein the next-best thing.
My friends who have known Trump for decades now as “Mr ED” (and not in that Bob Dole way) cannot be persuaded to vote Trump, for example. It’s possible several will vote for Johnson, despite misgivings about Johnson being libertarian enough. Perhaps some can be persuaded to vote Stein, though. And even if they can’t be, at least my voting Stein would even things out a little.
As Matt Corbett pointed out in the OP I quoted above, we’re all in this together and we don’t all have to pursue the same strategy to help each other out.Published in Politics
That photo was James’s idea.
In fact, it was James who spotted Johnson nearby and insisted we talk to him. I am not only oblivious, but cripplingly shy.
You know Frank Soto and I travelled to the LP convention in Orlando to advocate for Petersen? It’s true that I wouldn’t have supported him afterwards, but I can safely promise you that I would never have suggested that the country would have been better off with the LP under Johnson.
Isn’t it disingenuous to do that?
I think the country would have been dramatically better off with Petersen as the nominee. If I thought it was likely that Sanders would have become President, and there was a potentially competitive primary with Clinton, I’d have supported Clinton in the primary, for the same reason.
Yeah, and no one else would be talking about him either, and he’d be trailing Stein in the polls. Or rather, they wouldn’t even bother to include his name in most of the polls. He’d be invisible like the LP candidate usually is.
Huh. I thought it was Vermin Supreme.
Well, Petersen was a musical theater major, so there is that.
Fess up @jamesofengland, was it you or @franksoto who voted for Vermin?
It sure is tempting sometimes…
Did ol’ Verm make it on the write-in lists anywhere for the general?
We travelled to Orlando to support Petersen, but Petersen got cold feet when we got there, totally blocking @franksoto from making it one of the greatest weekends of one of Petersen’s staff’s life (she’d still have been sad about the political stuff, but only when she stopped to think about it). Vermin Supreme was the guy that we ended up supporting because once we’d coordinated with a campaign, we couldn’t give out t-shirts as an independent expenditure, and while Vermin wasn’t a big fan of our advertising Johnson’s budget numbers, he didn’t think the Federal Government should tell people not to speak.
So our advocacy political conversations ended up not so much selling people on Petersen’s “pyramids of [tail]” stuff not mattering (that was a surprisingly big deal to people) so much as having people earnestly try to persuade us that Vermin wasn’t going to be the next President, to which the only possible response was to try to divine if they were for Trump or Clinton, since they were the people with the money to prevent Vermin, the people’s choice, from becoming our inevitable next President. I think that we probably still ended up helping the Petersen campaign mostly; we only really talked about Vermin when people challenged us and tried to persuade us to abandon our pro-Vermin stance.
I met him again in Cleveland, when he instantly recognized my companion as a Cruz delegate, despite their not having met before. He was very good both at that and at making a bid to have her throw her support to him. She didn’t, but I felt like there was a definite chance that he could have gotten a GOP protest vote, too.
While in my preference ranking the other LP candidates were clearly lower than Vermin, who appeared to be both principled and charming, if Vermin had won I would not have strongly supported him in the general. I think that I wouldn’t have opposed him, though. I would not have complained that Vermin was not a governor; I think it is almost certainly a good thing that Vermin has never been a governor.
The major parties rigged the game by creating so called “sore loser” laws. He ran as a Democrat in the primaries and, as you probably know, lost that contest. It’s true that he could probably run as a write-in, but last I heard he was mostly spending his time talking up Johnson and Stein and pushing for changes in how we run elections in the US.
Pyramids of whodawha? Was Petersen some sort of chick magnet? Or just a guy with a knack for awkward turns of phrase?
OK, I looked it up, and… eyroll. You can’t swim in a pyramid, anyhow.
As James said, that comment was a point of pride for his campaign workers.
The guys or the gals? Or do I wanna know?
There are gals in the LP? Since when?
Apparently “hot LP babe” is a thing… Some are sort of these intellectual camgirls, or so I hear…
I believe that Petersen would have provided useful education in libertarian principles. I don’t need my candidates to be able to provide realistic depictions of playboy lifestyles.
Tons of them. Higher median attractiveness than the general population.
And median ability to appreciate gorgeous eyes?… although… there’s median craziness to consider, too…
In agreement that that their overall positioning on the crazy/hot matrix was likely to be no better than the general population.
I don’t recall Petersen having a second chick on staff there, but there was a second woman on his campaign. McAfee, obviously, had a long standing relationship with a number of strip clubs and was felt by the woman that got McCain blocked from accessing Frank’s eyes after a brief taste to have the best booth babes. He employed a woman on stilts to particularly great effect. Other than that, I don’t remember a lot of women there who were not there along with their husband (or, in particularly impressive shows of devotion, their boyfriend) and most of the guys there didn’t have partners apparent.
Polls tend to suggest that the LP is pretty dominantly male, with a larger gender gap than any other party, but it is also unusually young.
I recognize your phrase probably means something.
Which woman was tasting Frank’s eyes, and why did she feel the need to block McCain from doing the same? And why did this woman have such strong opinions about booth babes?
John McCain was tasting Frank’s eyes?
Well, should we ask @jamesofengland to clarify? On the one hand, I’m curious. On the other hand, the myriad hilarious ways the phrase could be interpreted are kind of fun to have.
Wasn’t there a story in the media a few years ago claiming that teens were licking each other’s eyeballs? ‘Cause now I’m picturing John McCain licking Frank’s eyeballs…
Frank is, in a sign that God loves the single ladies, unattached. A girl who was, at least for a bit, literally the most widely shared Libertarian Party pinup model (particularly impressive given that she was clothed yet flirty in her pic, and she was competing with girls who shared only the flirty part of that description), appeared to be enjoying Frank’s eyes. Sadly, just as Frank was doing his bit to encourage others to add to the humidity of the room, McCain-Feingold swooped in and said that we couldn’t coordinate with the campaign that she was supporting. McCain has been criticized for his slow response to flooding in Louisiana, but he was able to put a sploosh in Orlando on hiatus. Since it was, in part, the Johnson campaign’s interest in enforcing McCain Feingold that caused the barrier to come up, Johnson’s claim that he wants the government out of the bedroom was sadly falsified as it pertained to one particular maiden who may now never get to taste the sweet air and rarified views from atop Mt. Soto.
On the plus side, while a period of about an hour drinking in the awesomeness might be enough to ruin other men for her, it’s certainly more likely that she’ll recover than if she’d been able to spend the whole weekend with him and then been rejected for anything other than polite friendship. I’m not one of those who believes in free lunches or policy wins without tradeoffs.
Please tell me that you’re doing so in a purely platonic manner. McCain’s an American hero and Frank’s a stunner, but nonetheless…….
So, in addition to other stuff, campaign finance regs break hearts? So sad!