Wasted Votes?

By Voodoo People voodoopeople@rocketmail.com

A myth is haunting democracy in the United States. A myth that is subverting the very ideological basis of representative government in the United States. The myth that a vote for a candidate who does not win an election is a vote that does not count. The myth that a vote for one candidate could become a vote for another candidate if the person you vote for does not win the election. The myth that elections are somehow a team sport rather a means by which the people of a nation come together in order to mold their government into their own ideological image.

Prior to 1992, both the Democratic party and the Republican party sought to induce the government to spend more money than it really had. What differentiated the two parties was what they sought to over spend on. And when they compromised, they still still spent more than was available to them. That all began to change towards the end of 1992. In the Presidential Election of 1992, nearly 20% of persons who voted in that election voted for Ross Perot, who campaigned on a platform based around the idea of returning the Federal Government to a fiscally responsible budget. Ross Perot did not win the election, but the votes cast in his favor were not wasted. Each of those votes sent a very loud, very clear message to the Democratic and Republican parties. After that election, both parties began to become far more fiscally responsible, and today the federal government in the United States is operating in the black. this happened even though the presidential candidate who purposed that coarse of action lost the election. This happened because we live in a country which (at least in theory) has a representative form of government. Therefore, it is is the duty of those within the government to represent the views, beliefs, needs, and interests, of those people whom they are supposed to represent (The citizens of the United States). In 1992 the people of the United States announced that they believed, in large numbers, that the government should not spend more money than it had available to it, and the government responded, perhaps slowly, but it did respond.

Since we live in a nation governed by a representative form of government, a vote for a candidate is as much a vote for the views which that candidate expressed, as it is a vote for that specific candidate. In 1992, nearly 20% of the voters cast their vote for the point of view that the federal government should not spend more money than it actually had, far more so than they cast their vote for Ross Perot. They announced in a clear voice that the views and ideals expressed by the candidates of the two ?major? parties did not coincide with their views and ideals. After this declaration, the two ?major? parties, the Republican and Democratic parties, took into account those newly expressed views and ideals and adjusted their own party views and ideals in order to better fit with those of the people whom they claim to represent. 20% of voters in 1992 cast their vote for a candidate who did not win, but their votes were not wasted, their votes made a very large, very noticeable impact.

There is a certain aura of competitive teams sports in elections today. People announce that they are voting for a specific candidate because that candidate is a member of a certain political party. They make no mention of what views and ideals that candidate has expressed, and seem little concerned when a candidate claims they will represent a view or idea that is directly contrary to a view or idea that that person has claimed to hold. It seems people have become more concerned about getting their ?team?, their political party, to win, rather then attempting to get persons who state they will represent views and ideals consistent with those held by the people casting the votes. In the past few years, the Labor Unions have sited the WTO, and normal trade relations with China as two of the most important issues in their view. Specifically, they are against both of them. The Trade Unions have announced that they support Al Gore, the Democratic party candidate for president. The do so because the Democratic party is their ?team?. But Al Gore has very actively supported both the WTO, and normal trade relation with China, and has stated that he will continue to very actively support these things, and similar propositions as they come along. If members of the various Unions vote to support Al Gore, their team may win, but their views and ideals will not be represented. Al Gore as president will continue to support the WTO, and push for open trade with China, and every member of Congress, both in the Senate and the House of Representatives will be presented with the view that the members of the Unions don?t mind either of things, and perhaps they even support them, after all, why would they vote for a candidate who supports they things if they were really, truly against them? After all, their are other candidates to vote for, some of whom follow the Unions views very closely, far more closely than Al Gore, and if they were really against them, they could vote for those other candidates, and it would make their voice and views heard, and they could then be accurately represented. This is how things in a representative government are supposed to work.

It has been claimed often in the past several years that if you do not vote, you have no right to complain, but if you vote for a candidate who does not support your views and ideals, and in turn that person, when in office, goes on to support legislature and actions that are not in line with your views and ideals, then do you have right to complain? You did vote, and perhaps even your team won, but if you put into office a team whom does not represent your views and ideals, have you not just announced that you do not want to be accurately represented by your government?

In short, a vote for a candidate who does not win is not a wasted vote. A vote for one candidate is not, and essentially can not be a vote for another candidate, as a vote is more for the views and ideals expressed by the candidate than for any specific person. The only vote that is truly wasted in a vote cast for a candidate who does not support the views and ideals of the person who cast that vote, or for a candidate who does support the views and ideals as closely as another candidate. This is a wasted vote because it prevents that persons views from being accurately know at a time when that person is supposed to be announcing those views and ideals loudly, and clearly. It is a wasted vote because it damages the very core of the idea of representative government, by preventing one persons views and ideals from from being accurately represented. It is a wasted vote, because it strikes a blow against the very basis of democracy in the United States.