[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Wednesday, 2020-04-15

Long, tedious political post

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 08:34

(This was a response I wrote to someone who declared their intent to vote for a Libertarian for President in 2020, to “send a message” to Democrats. I spent a fair amount of time writing it, so I wanted to preserve it in case I had occasion to use it again.)

Just FYI, I voted Libertarian for a decade or so. ( https://www.blackgate.net/blog/the-problem-with-libertarians/ ) I’ll point out a couple of things that you might or might not have realized.

1) You aren’t influencing anyone with your throwaway vote. With the exception of Gary Johnson in 2016 (more about that in a moment), Libertarians have been lucky to get 1% of the vote — and in most Presidential elections in the past 50 years, they haven’t gotten anywhere near 1%. No one cares about your protest vote: definitely not Democrats.

2) The fact Gary Johnson got 3% in 2016 is, frankly, amazing, but it has less to do with Libertarians than it does with Republicans. Republicans like Rand Paul and Paul Ryan promoted their supposedly libertarian leanings (which was a blatant lie, like everything Republicans say), giving big-L Libertarians a huge amount of publicity in the process. But have you seen Republicans promoting libertarianism recently? Aside from a few breakaways like Amash, no, they haven’t. I am not a gambler, but I am confident that you won’t see the Libertarian candidate break 1.5% in 2020. (See also: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/30/republicans-may-finally-be-socially-distancing-themselves-libertarianism/ )

3) Your vote does matter, but only if you use it. We are suffering under the heel of the Republican death cult right now for two reasons (other than the fact that a third of the USA is overtly evil). 1) People who threw their vote away in 2016 rather than using it intelligently, and 2) voters who stayed home. Those people, just as much as the benighted Republican death cultists, are to blame for the fact that the Supreme Court will be dragging us backward for the next 30 years.

4) The establishment Democrats will support the changes that the USA has needed for the past four decades — but not any time soon. Bill Clinton was basically a Republican (what they were before the whole party went batshit crazy). Obama was a little better, and if Hilary Clinton had won in 2016, it would have gotten another tiny amount better (or at least no worse). The mainstream Democrats are conservative. However, the younger Democrats are pushing a progressive agenda that is slowly growing in that party. Change is slow, but it is happening.

Jesus, this is long. One last thing.

5) Libertarianism sounds great. “Pro choice on everything.” “No initiation of force.” etc. etc. It all sounds lovely… in theory. Because that’s all it is. How would a Libertarian administration overhaul our despicable profit-based prison system? How would a Libertarian administration respond to a pandemic? How would a Libertarian administration address the vast and growing income inequality in this country before that inequality leads to chubby bourgeoisie like myself finding our heads in baskets? The answer is either “poorly” or “not at all”, because while Libertarianism is great at sound bites, it is absolutely terrible at addressing systemic problems which history shows result in chaos and death. (See also: https://prospect.org/power/libertarian-delusion/ )

Utopia is not an option. You are never going to get exactly what you want. What you can do is nudge things in a marginally better direction, or stand aside while the Republican death cult drags us all over a cliff. This is the real world, and those are your choices.

P.S. Our antiquated voting system creates a de-facto two party system. Until that voting system changes, voting for a third party is no different than not voting at all. In a time period when the dominant party is deliberately dismantling and pillaging public services, while undermining basic civil rights for a generation to come, there is no reasonable excuse for that.