“Sending a message” by voting for Johnson or Stein

Love this post from Brian Beutler on “sending a message”

But if the popular vote is a good vehicle for a message, then we should ask: What’s the best message we can send with it?

One downside of the Tribune’s pox-on-both-houses argument is that if Johnson has a strong showing in November—say, 17 percent to Clinton’s 41 and Trump’s 40—that would send a message that a coin-toss between a fit and unfit candidate is an acceptable risk for the country. But the most important downside would be the opportunity cost of denying Trump the ass-kicking he deserves.

The Republican Party nominated an ignorant, bigoted, authoritarian candidate to be president of the United States. The best message that the country can send with the popular vote is that if you try to win the presidency by stoking race hatred and promising to degrade the Constitution, you will lose and lose badly—that a fascist does not have an even-odds chance of becoming the most powerful person in the world.

I’d argue this is a more critical and more responsive message than one that scolds Democrats for nominating a dynastic, uncharismatic standard-bearer. And it would be unmistakable, too. Just as nobody would really believe 17 percent of the country wants to elect a candidate who doesn’t know what Aleppo is, and can’t name a single foreign leader on the fly, nobody will treat a repudiation of Trumpism as a sudden groundswell of approval for Clinton…

If you believe this election is basically a lock, or you happen not to live in a battleground, and are thus flirting with the idea of abstaining or of voting for a third party, ask yourself if you want to live in a country that has established proof of concept for a more polished racist demagogue. Do you want children growing up in a country where white supremacy has been re-normalized? Where misogyny doesn’t disqualify men for high office? Where erratic ignorance is placed in the running for the world’s highest award? Or would you rather send a message that if a major party nominates a fascist to be president of the United States—someone whose very character threatens national and global stability—the overwhelming majority of the country will flock to the candidate standing between him and the White House, and he will be left with the deplorables. [emphasis mine]

That, you damn Millennials!  (Apologies to all you Millennials who know better 🙂 ).

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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