16.5.07

Self Imposed Political Prisoners

[This is part of a theory I have been developing. I have not published it yet because it is not complete. I decided to piece this together as succinctly as I could as a response to another bloggers post.]

When commenting on the possibility of Hagel running as an Independent, Erik at HP said:

So what would this mean for the 2008 race? Obviously any third-party candidate, while they have no chance of winning, can severely alter the election. Republicans blamed Ross Perot for George Bush's loss in 1992 and Democrats blamed Ralph Nader for Al Gore's loss in 2000. Considering the factions present in the Republican Party, Hagel would ruin the Republicans' chances in this race.

One of my major complaints about American politics is the lack of any real choices. People vote for the popular candidate because they don't think their preferred choice can win. Of course your preferred choice isn't going to win if you won't even vote for them! It's that simple! This is such a simple point that I don't know how to state it any more forcefully. Maybe I should add more exclamations and use all caps. Every time I hear someone say they don't want to waste their vote on a third party candidate, I want to punch them in the face and say, "YOU IDIOT!!! THAT IS A SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY!!!"

Ralph Nader did not cost Gore the 2000 election. Al Gore cost Al Gore the 2000 election. Gore had the opportunity to court the Green Party vote. If the Nader voters really wanted Gore for President, they would have voted Gore for President. Gore lost because not enough people wanted him to win. He lost because he failed to impress enough people to win. To claim anything else is just wrong.

Everyone just accepts that their only options are the two candidates given to them by the main parties. When you only have two candidates, you wind up voting for one because you don't want the other to win. Considering a third (or fourth) option forces you to make a choice as to which is the best. Any time you don't vote for the choice you really want, even if you win, you still lose. I don't claim to have studied any political theory, but this idea of voting to minimize your losses reminds me strongly of the prisoner's dilemma of game theory, though I know it doesn't directly apply in this case. Like the PD, I do think it is possible to learn and adapt new strategies that will result in an optimum solution. But people have got to start thinking for themselves.

The 2008 election does not have to be the Campaign 96: America Flips a Coin from the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VII.

Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They're nothing but hideous space reptiles. [unmasks them]
[audience gasps in terror]
Kodos: It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us.
[murmurs]
Man1: He's right, this is a two-party system.
Man2: Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate.
Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away.
[Kang and Kodos laugh out loud]

The next day, Kodos announces the result: "All hail, President Kang."

The field in front of the Capitol has now become a working ground where humans are whipped by aliens and used to carry materials.

The Simpsons family is working too, with Homer and the kids carrying wood, and Marge pushing a wheelbarrow of cinderblocks -- with Maggie on top.

Marge: I don't understand why we have to build a ray gun to aim at a planet I never even heard of.

Homer: Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Digital Memory sure is becoming cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. I wonder when we will eventually reach the ratio of $0.01 to 1 Gig.

I'm eagerly anticipating the day when I will finally be able to afford a 20 terabyte harddisk . But for now I will be happy with having a 32 GB Micro SD Card in my R4i.

(Submitted using Net10 for R4i Nintendo DS.)

10/2/10 01:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Genial brief and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you as your information.

21/2/10 04:27  

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