Voting Illusions and Reality, 2012

Right now there is such a torrent of televised, internet and printed commentary on the US national election of 2012, and yet so little clear perspective for the general public. How could it be otherwise when every commentator and media outlet has a bias to push? What escapes many members of the public is that both of the major parties (the Democrats and Republicans) have a much greater degree of consensus than they like to admit, and that this consensus is on the fundamental purpose of the US government, which is: to use money and arms to serve corporate capitalism. The how and why of this reality is explained in the following article, which includes a general purpose guide for any voter (or non-voter) in this election, and a suggestion to go beyond voting to create social change.

Voting Illusions And Reality 2012
8 October 2012


While “Voting Illusions And Reality 2012” is the most comprehensive article I have written on US electoral politics, its core synthesis was clearly presented four years ago in the article “On Voting (A Ritual of Justifying Biases).” Out of curiosity about the accuracy of my punditry, I reviewed my articles on US elections since 2004. I find that I have had the same bundle of ideas about US electoral politics all this time, but that the bundle became better organized in 2008. I list the articles below, for those who want to recall the previous appearances of the the same “lesser evil” dilemma. Do you think it will be any different in 2016?

McCain Versus Kerry?
21 June 2004
(Voting is restricted to a popularity contest between two corporate capitalist candidates, the Democratic Party being entirely corporate capitalist and excluding left/progressive policies while expecting leftists to vote Democratic as the lesser evil.)

What Your Vote Means
20 September 2004
(Vote the Molly Ivins way, for maximum compassion from between the two allowed corporate/imperial candidates. Voting maintains the status quo, change is effected by social action beyond voting)

The Roots of Corruption (Election 2006)
9 November 2006
(The Democratic-Republican duopolistic consensus is to have elections change nothing, since the two parties are just opposite sides of the same corporate capitalist coin. If one side become badly tarnished the nation’s managers just flip to the shinier side and act as if the public has been given a new coin of different currency.)

Paying No Attention to the Presidential Campaigns
11 January 2008
(Corporate capitalism and its American Empire own the voting game. Anti-capitalist candidates are excluded. The election determines the hierarchy of pork barrel payoffs within the ranks of the corporate owners of the game. The public gets the leavings and the bones — if any — of the corporate feasting on public resources.)

Obama and the Psychic Auto-Shrink-Wrapping Called Race in America
20 March 2008
(Obama is a careerist corporate capitalist candidate with nothing substantive to offer leftists, socialists, anti-capitalists, for if he did he wouldn’t be allowed to be a candidate. His value to corporate capitalism is the popularity of his imagery with blacks and traditional liberal Democratic voters, on whom the policies of corporate capitalism are predatory.)

Running Mates From The Imaginary Plane
6 May 2008
(A comedy based on the idea that the leading candidates are all of the same corporate capitalist type, so they can be interchanged between the Democratic and Republican Parties.)

On Voting (A Ritual of Justifying Biases)
8 August 2008
(My clearest analysis of corporate capitalism controlled US voting, prior to “Voting Illusions And Reality 2012.”)

Dear Democrats, About 2012…
27 July 2010,
(Criticizing the duopolistic Democratic Party by listing the policies I would wish a progressive Democratic Party, or a viable anti-capitalist third party to act on.)

Bayesian Bargains: Jail, Shopping, Debt, and Voting
30 January 2012
(Voting for the lesser evil is logically analyzed, and solved by action beyond voting: “a person clear about their commitments and willing to accept the costs of maintaining them will always see the right choice to make.”)


1 thought on “Voting Illusions and Reality, 2012

  1. Red/Blue/Green Voting 2012

    “A vote for Jill Stein is in effect a vote for Mitt Romney.”

    If you are in a “blue” state (certain of a majority for Obama/Democrats) then (because of the Electoral College system) a vote for Jill Stein helps build the Green Party (achieving 5% of the popular vote in a presidential election makes a “3rd” party eligible to receive some public funding from the Federal Elections Commission during the next presidential election).

    If you are in a “red” state (certain of a majority for Romney/Republican) then a vote for Jill Stein is equivalent to a vote for Mitt Romney, but does not matter (we assume here extreme redness: the popular preference for Romney/Republicans is larger than the preferences for Obama/Democrats and all 3rd parties combined).

    If you are in a “swing state” (near equality of redness and blueness) then a vote for Jill Stein is an effective vote for Mitt Romney. The calculus here is that the combined preference for Obama/Democrats and Stein/Greens is larger than that for Romney/Republicans (which is statistically equal to just Obama/Democrats). So if in such states the voters who prefer Green uniformly sacrifice their preferences to give Obama/Democrats their votes, they can swing the state to true blue, capturing (usually all) the state’s electoral votes for Obama.

    Daniel Ellsberg has urged Green voters (and all leftists) in swing states to sacrifice their preferences and vote for Obama (as a “not” vote for Romney/Republicans), while urging similar voters in solid blue states to vote for Jill Stein (to build up the Green Party). Clearly, voting Green if in a deeply red state also helps build up the Green Party without influencing the outcome (Electoral College haul for that state).

    The choice (or guilt trip) for Greens in swing states is this:

    (hold to a long term vision) — is it better to maximize the votes to the Green Party and thus build it up as much as possible in this quadrennial cycle even if that means enough swing states go red that Romney/Republicans win nationally? (and if that happens, will it improve or diminish Green appeal subsequently?), or

    (a short term “lesser evil” concession) — is a Romney/Republican national majority too extreme to tolerate even in the short term (we have to assume two terms), and regrettably it is worthwhile to slow and even postpone (fatally?) the buildup of our Green Party, so as to donate our votes to Obama/Democrats in the swing states?

    My take on how to vote (“how” in the sense of “deciding,” not “who”) is here:

    Voting Illusions And Reality, 2012
    8 October 2012

    My own preference this time is for Jill Stein (otherwise why would I be here?). Also, even if I were to ascribe “no” substantive difference (for subsequent national policy, like in the 25 items listed in the article cited in Louis Proyect’s blog) between an Obama presidency (2nd term) and a Romney presidency, I would still much prefer to see Obama as president versus Romney as president. This preference is based purely on personal taste, really gut instinct, or just simply pure emotion: prejudice (very much in style in the U.S.). Now, in my case I do see some differences of substance in favor of Obama, without in any way having illusions about who Obama is as a political being: chief executive of the American Empire. I do not live in a swing state.

    Comment by manuelgarciajr — November 4, 2012 @ 8:42 am

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