Voting for Third-Party Candidates
Radio Q&A: Sunday, 26 August 2012, Question 1
In the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on 26 August 2012, I answered a question on voting for third-party candidates.
Is it moral or practical to vote for third-party candidates? The Founders created a two-party political system. With features like geographic representation, first-past-the-post voting for Congress, and the Electoral College for voting for President, the Founders clearly wanted parties consisting of large umbrella groups of wide geographic and ideological interests. As a result, the United States has always had two and only two dominant political parties. Corrupt election laws, passed by these parties, now guarantee that except in rare instances (such as Jesse Ventura, of all people) only members of these two parties can be elected to office. Given these facts, what is the purpose of voting for third party candidates? Unlike the two major umbrella parties, all third parties are composed of ideological kooks of many persuasions. Isn't a vote for a third party candidate thus immoral (for supporting kookdom) and impractical (since they can't win)? Wouldn't it be better to try to improve the two existing parties, or not vote at all?
My Answer, In Brief: (1) The Founders did not create a two-party system by design. (2) Voting is the least significant political act you can do, albeit still worthwhile. (3) Fiscal conservatives need to be willing to refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils if they want better candidates. (4) A good candidate from a third party is often a worthwhile protest vote. (5) I don't yet know how I'll vote, although I'm most likely to vote for Gary Johnson. (6) Acrimony over voting is wrong, pointless, and destructive.
- Download: MP3 Segment
- Duration: 38:30
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- The Objective Standard's blog: Romney-Ryan 2012--Ayn Rand Forever, Further Thoughts on Why Objectivists Should Actively Campaign for Romney-Ryan, and Principle vs. Pragmatism in Supporting Romney-Ryan by Craig Biddle
- Federalist #10 by James Madison
- "How the GOP Lost My Vote" by Paul Hsieh
- Philosophy in Action: Gary Johnson for US President
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About Philosophy in Action Radio
I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My dissertation defended moral responsibility and moral judgment against the doubts raised by Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer four meaty questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Wednesday evenings, I interview an expert guest about a topic of practical importance.
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