In a fascist or Bolshevik dictatorship, I would be forced to vote for a single party that didn’t represent me.
Since I live in a democracy, why should I limit myself to voting for one of two parties that don’t represent me?
The Democratic presidential candidate is Hillary Clinton, who is literally a paid servant of Wall Street, who is almost certain to involve the United States in more wars and who may possibly bring on World War Three.
The Republican presidential candidate is Donald Trump, a crooked businessman who cares nothing for human rights, the Constitution or the rule of law.
So why vote for either of them? Why not vote for a candidate who favors peace, opposes Wall Street and upholds historic Constitutional rights?
Now you may disagree. You may think that either Clinton or Trump represents a positive good and not a lesser evil. If you do, nothing in this post applies to you. It is aimed at people who think they have to choose between a greater and a lesser evil.
Many liberal Democratic friends agree there is some truth in what I write about Clinton, but they see it as their duty—and my duty—to vote for Clinton. They say that to vote for anybody but Clinton, or to refrain from voting, is the same as voting for Trump.
They have two main arguments, which I call the Nader argument and the Hitler argument, which I will address below.
The Nader argument is that people who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 tipped the balance from Al Gore to George W. Bush. So liberals and progressives should limit themselves to voting for the Democrat, no matter who, to prevent such a thing from happening again.
The Hitler argument is that Hitler came to power because the main German political parties—the Catholic Center Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Communist Party and the conservative anti-Hitler parties—were unable to bury their differences and unite against Hitler. So liberals and progressives should bury their own convictions in the interests of stopping the supposedly Hitler-like candidate on the right.
What’s interesting about these arguments is that we all live in New York state, which is as certain to go for Hillary Clinton as anything can be. All my presidential vote does is to express where my loyalty lies—to a political party or to my own beliefs.
Vaclav Havel, the great Czech playwright and dissident, wrote in his 1979 essay, The Power of the Powerless, about the manager of a fruit and vegetable shop under Communist rule putting a sign in his window saying, “Workers of the world, unite.” The manager didn’t care about workers of the world uniting, and the sign wouldn’t affect whether workers of the world united or not. What he was really doing by putting up the sign, Havel wrote, was saying: I am obedient and have the right to be left in peace.
I’m not comparing myself to somebody in a Communist country who would be persecuted for refusing to follow the party line. The worst thing I risk is the mild disapproval of a few people. What I am saying is that the issue is the same. Where does my loyalty lie?