Swinging and spoiling
I’ve finally thought about the current political situation enough to blog about it. And you’re about to do a whole lot of reading…
The candidates have been focusing way too much on the “swing states,” as evidenced by the continuing parade of political ads on the local news stations during the six o’clock hour.
Honestly: the candidates, their parties, and their PACs are all missing the point. Swing states are only important because they represent trends and opinions common throughout the country. Merely brown-nosing to the swing states while alienating the rest of the nation is a mistake. Gore lost his home state Tennessee because he was overconfident in the state, and concentrated only on the swing states.
Given, Bush doesn’t stand a chance of losing Texas, and Kerry knows Massachussetts would never vote for Bush. But if they continue to visit states like Ohio excessively, the two could each stand to lose states they overlooked. States that the analysts didn’t think were swinging (if you’ll excuse the horrible pun) months ago.
No pundit worth their airtime will fail to mention that Ohio has carried every Republican winner so far. But there is a lesson behind that statistic: as an analogy, the candidates need to deliver their report to the class, not just to the teacher.
Spoiling the fun
If I had been old enough to vote in 2000, I would’ve voted for Nader/LaDuke. They argued that the two major parties were too similar. And they were right.
This year, they have occasionally used the exact same argument. This time, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, the Nader/Camejo platform sounds incredibly similar to that of the Kerry/Edwards campaign. The two major parties are polarized this year (at least on the Presidential front).
I wouldn’t “spoil the vote” this year. I agree with many of Nader’s positions:
|Issue||Nader’s stance||My stance|
|USA PATRIOT Act||Against||Against|
|Criminal justice reform||For||For|
|Death penalty||Against||Undecided |
|Tort reform (“tort deform”)||Against||Against (convinced)|
|Corporate “personage” rights||Against||Against|
|Standardized testing (a là Bush)||Against||Against|
|Voting machine scrutiny and paper audit trails||For||For|
|Instant runoff voting (IRV)||For||For (new)|
|Stock, bond, and derivative taxes||For||Somewhat for (new)|
|Pull out of Iraq, replace troops with UN peacekeepers, hold elections, encourage humanitarian efforts||For||Somewhat for |
|Charging for broadcast licenses over public airwaves||For||Undecided|
|Give public access TV more visibility||For||Somewhat for  (new)|
|Protect pension plans etc.||For||For|
|Abortion rights||For||Somewhat against|
|Source: Nader/Camejo 2004 Official Website|
(Nader has many more positions, but I’ve noted the ones I’ve thought about enough to post here.) But I believe that the Kerry administration’s goals are very complementary to Nader’s. I believe that Nader’s platform would eventually be absorbed into the policy of the Kerry administration, just as most third-party policies are adopted by one of the major parties.
This is what Nader wanted. He wanted a “watchdog party.” His following – or the Green Party, or the Reform Party – might not end up receiving the share of votes they want. But their viewpoints are already being considered. That’s why I would vote (still reluctantly) for Kerry/Edwards.
I hear some of my peers crying out in pain at reading that previous statement. Honestly, I dislike both Bush and Kerry. But I also dislike Bush’s administration, his policies, his war. Kerry doesn’t have an administration yet, his policies are very fluid (so I may end up liking them), and he didn’t start the war – he wants to take the responsibility of cleaning up the mess.
Of all the people who have aspired to the Presidency in the past few years, I’d choose McCain. But, this year at least, I’m voting for Kerry.
(You do know about Kids Voting, don’t you?)