Should People Vote for Obama or Third Parties in Swing States?

Paul Jay of the Real News Network interviews David Swanson, the co-founder of the coalition. David blogs at and and works for the online activist organization

More at The Real News

It’s late and I although I’m assuming tomorrow will not be a late night, The Barcalounger is not so placed that I can see the future from it. So I’ll make two quick observations, take some aspirin, and head for bed. (And do check me against the handy transcript.)

1. Jay seems unable to come to grip with The Eternal Question: “Are the elites stupid and/or evil?” (hat tip Atrios). Even if that’s the wrong question, I don’t think it’s one as easily dismissed as Jay seems to think that it can be, especially if you identify evil with lack of empathy (which, I’m sure the Buddha or some such would remind us, and plenty of vanguards have forgotten, goes two ways…).

2. Reading about the use of micro-targeting by both campaigns — and the fantastic sums of money involved — it seems reasonable to ask whether “the election year” is a construct that is soon to be abandoned. What would Swanson’s “independent movement” look like if the campaigns became permanent, not just on K Street, but among our wired up and hooked in friends and neighbors?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post on by .

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. ZygmuntFraud

    Suppose 5% voted Green/3rd Party.

    (a) Would it become widely known?

    (b) Would it influence the 95% who voted
    O or R., and those who did not vote?
    Or, to what extent?

    [c] Dynamics: if there’s a trend for 3rd party,
    at what pace will it grow?

    (d) Many don’t seem to know about
    habeas corpus, NDAA, etc. …

    1. Noe G

      That “95%” who voted dem or repug… represented only 56.8% of the voting populatin. – or jusr ovwe 132 million people.

      And 2008 was a Surge in voting… previously

      2004 55.3% voted
      2000 51.3%
      1996 49.1% [the lewinsky mess destroyed bubba’s mandate AND gopers weren’t excited about their choice.

      1992 55.1% ushered in Bubba
      1988 only 50.1% cared to play

      SO – the mandate IS EVAPORATING>

      My thoughts are that without controversial state ballot issues.. these buggers would be getting fewer than 45% of the REGISTERED voters thumbs up.

      My prediction is that this will be another low turnout year… many many people hate their choices… but have an interest in the ballot questions.

      Tweedles Dum or Dee ain’t gonna cut it much longer

      DO” NOT VOTE>>> or vote 3rd party… it does NOT matter who wins.

      O needs to lose because he committed date rape. Romney should win so we can be reminded that there is NO DIFFERENCE between these bastards.

      1. Noe G

        by the by — America’s love affair with O produced only

        56.8 % of registered voters… or 132 million and change.

        The only election in history with a greater percentage [but far fewer votes – was 1968 when 60.8% of registered voters cast their ballots… but it was only 73 million out of a possible 120 million.

      2. Noe G

        oops I got my timeline messed up.


        the 49.1% mandate for Clinton’s re-election happened BEFORE the Lewinsky scandal… I dashed that off without thinking.

        again…. the lack of mandate is interesting but not because of Lewinsky

  2. JGordon

    Considering that the Republicans put up a clown like Romney as their nominee I thinking winning the election is far less important to them than making sure that the status quo can sail on smooth and undisturbed… right over the waterfall if need be.

    So no, nothing matters until 50%+1 of the population wakes up and realizes how totally corrupt and evil both the Democrats and Republicans are–and frankly that will not happen until at least 50%+1 of the population can no longer afford to put food in their bellies–which is not as far off or unlikely as a lot of people imagine.

    By the way, I still voted for the clown Romney, just because a Romney win will reactivate the hypocrites in the dormant “left”. Obama is the more effective of two evils.

    1. MontanaMaven

      Yes, the elites don’t care who wins. Theory out there is that under the guise of an election, the fat cats spend all this money to keep the discussion firmly about the deficit and OH MY GOD THE FISCAL CLIIIIFFFFF! rather than on climate change, poverty or even jobs. This will enable them to reach the Grand Bargain or as Bill Black calls it “The Grand Betrayal”. Even kids in the local high school mock election picked “Oh my goodness the national debt” as the #2 issue after the economy. Some people actually think they owe $50,000 because economists say that is the average of what Americans owe because of the DEBT MONSTER! OH the Grandchildren!

  3. Brindle

    Jay shows a lack of understanding and depth of the two party consensus of American militaristic empire, inflicting austerity on the great mass of citizens, continuing the drug war etc.
    Jay, in effect, confuses the style and personality differences between Romney and Obama as relating to outcomes.

    It has been obvious to me that both candidates have an essentially similar world view.

    1. JGordon

      Both candidates are sycophants of those like Lloyd Blankfein. That is the one and only thing that determines what “their” views are.

      Of course they are both also accomplished liars, although Democrats do have the better liar this time around while Republicans instead put up a clown who is rather obvious and clumsy with his lies. That’s why if I’m being honest with myself I have to admit that Obama will probably win this time again.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Yesterday Fred Reed commented on our unquestioned military empire:

      Have you ever thrown a stick for a dog, which loves to chase it but, when he comes back with it, cannot bring himself to give it to you to throw again, although that is what he wants? The United States cannot let go of its empire. It fights war after war, constantly losing, bleeding money it doesn’t have, because – because it can’t let go.

      Cut the military? It and its parasitic industries are so large, so deeply embedded in the fabric of the country, so rife with influential people with families to feed, that reductions are not possible. The suggestion of even minor and usually fraudulent cuts is greeted by predictions of dire but unspecified consequences. Minor cuts are not what are needed.

      The dog cannot let go.

      It is said that democracy depends on an informed public. This is to say that democracy is impossible. In the American case, blank ignorance of anything outside the borders leaves people easily manipulable. The genius of the American political system is that it is not necessary to suppress inconvenient information, but only to keep it off television. So few people will encounter it as not to matter.

      Giving people the choice between Candidate A and Candidate A, neither of whom addresses the real problems of the nation, is to grant them the influence they would have had in the Habsburg Empire. But it keeps them quiet.

      Not voting is the best revenge.

  4. bhikshuni

    I agree with and followed (via mail-in ballot) Noam Chomsky’s suggestion, to vote Obama if one is in a swing state but to vote 3rd party otherwise.

    Therefore, if you are in a swing state, and want to vote 3rd party instead of Obama, consider that we vote-swapped, and that I voted my Peace & Justice party ballot for Stein on your behalf here in California, while you are voting on my behalf there in Ohio or Virginia or Florida, okay?

    Yes, it is obvious, Geitner and Blankfein and wrt numerous other policy issues the difference between candidates isn’t apparently significant.

    But the difference in party platforms are different and if your vote helps keep the state out of my uterus (and hence my rights sovereignty over my own personhood) for the foreseeable future, that is still an economic and financial advantage, all other eco-finance policies being equal.

    Go figure!

    1. Patccmoi

      So, if I understand you well, you are voting for the Democrats for ‘small government’, to keep them out of your life? Hehe, I think that your reasoning is totally fair, but the irony is hilarious considering the Reps talking memos.

      If I lived in the US I would vote for 3rd party myself no matter where I was though. The more it goes and the more I think that a Romney win might be the best thing long run (just as a way to make something move on the left, I believe that Obama can wreck the country without the left truly opposing him and that’s revolting). Too many people on the left will find excuses for the president if he’s democrat insted of truly standing up for their rights.

      But I’m also not a woman, so I can see where you’re coming from!

    2. Carla

      @bhikshuni: And I should cast my vote for you — why?

      Actually, I’m going to vote MY choice, which is Jill Stein, because she is the best candidate and would best represent me. No, it is not “a vote for Romney.” No, I am not “throwing away my vote.” Yes, I do know the Supreme Court argument — and after considering it all my life, don’t buy it any more.

      What I can’t understand is why tens of millions will throw their votes away on Robamney.

      And yes, I know, our uteruses are on their own. It was ever thus.

      Now, to make positive substantive change, which this electoral process will never produce, go to, sign the petition and get involved.

      1. Stroebs

        Here’s an article that examines the circumstances that led to the decision in Roe v. Wade, and Democratic Party fear-mongering about Supreme Court appointments:

        This doesn’t even get into the steps signed into law by Obama to restrict access to abortion,

        See, e.g.,

        or the reality of (lack of) access for poor women.

  5. kj1313

    Thank you Jebus, election day is here. Vote your conscious. I’ve come to the bitter realization there that Obama will allow us to bleed to death, while Romney will line us up for the slaughter. At least Romney is honest about his intentions. Thank god I’ll be in Mexico tomorrow so I don’t have to listen to the post election analysis. (as long I can get out before the nor easter hits)

    1. sleepy

      That one’s hard to say.

      I think in a state like Colorado, Gary Johnson could draw as many dems as repubs, particularly since legal weed is on the ballot.

      I would like to see a third party throw at least one swing state.

    2. TK21

      Amateur Socialist you assume that voters for Stein would vote for Obama if Stein weren’t on the ticket. This is a wrong assumption. I’m about to go vote for Stein, but if she weren’t running I still wouldn’t vote for Obama. I wouldn’t vote for Obama or Romney if someone threatened me with a wet noodle. They simply are beneath the office of the presidency. I’d write in Harry Truman or Bart Simpson or Yoda before I’d vote for those two.

  6. Jackrabbit

    Thought experiment:

    1) Romney wins and enacts the most draconian right-wing agenda.

    2) In reaction, the left is re-energized and half the country (or more) moves to the left.


    If you believe that the Duopoly serves corporate/monied interests, then this scenario is impossible.

    Neither Party can be allowed to upset the balaance. What the two Parties want – NEED – is to sit in the middle and suck up a) all the money, and b) all the mind share.

    IMO the starkest example of serving powerful interests was a ‘divided’ Congress’ voice vote to legalize Robosigning/MERS (which Obama refused to sign into law).

    1. Patccmoi

      I think that you’re totally right that this scenario is impossible. Romney would move things to the right, but likely not enough to truly tip the balance.

      Really he would just take the exact same road that Obama is taking in the long run (the selling out of America to big corporations/banks and foreign interests), but he would make it happen faster, in a less subtle way. As a side-effect though, I wish that this would make the left actually revolt instead of looking for excuses as to why it’s happening with their own guy in charge. Maybe you wouldn’t have that many more people moving to the left, but at least the left would fight to defend what it believes in…

      I dunno, honestly I totally lost fate in the ‘democratic’ system of the US with your 2 parties that can hardly have any real opposition. All probable outcomes from the election always seem like a bad one. A win from Jill Stein would be a great outcome, but that is absolutely not realistic.

      1. Carla

        “Really he would just take the exact same road that Obama is taking in the long run (the selling out of America to big corporations/banks and foreign interests),”


      2. TK21

        “As a side-effect though, I wish that this would make the left actually revolt”

        The left does not and would not revolt under a Republican president, rather they would waste their energy by working for the Democratic party. We’ve already seen this in practice: only under a Democratic president could the Occupy movement happen. People need to have it demonstrated that neither of the two parties provide any hope before they rise up.

    2. ZygmuntFraud

      I think that Your analysis is brilliant.
      Probably I understood the scheming involved on my Second Reading
      of Your Epistle.

    1. Susan

      I’m in Ohio voting Green – trying to help Greens retain ballot access. If those in non swing states would vote Green (or another third party) we/third party can get the money and ballot access next time and won’t have to spend the majority of our campaign resources on ballot access. Duh – this is how we’re kept out of the elections and the dialogue. Feelin’ like you wanna vote third party, but not disrupt the horse race winner? Try Advance and expand democracy. The barcalounger is just too comfortable and the media is bringing us endless mood enhancers. We are all boiling frogs in the big pot of austerity at this point. Turn down the fire even just a little. Or wimp out and vote for a lesser weevil.

      1. Brindle

        I’m in Colorado and voting Jill Stein/Green. Voting for someone who holds similar positions to me is far better than voting for a sociopath–who may or may not be the “lesser crazy” than his rival.

      2. ZygmuntFraud

        For me, there’s a “chilling effect” from unfavourable
        currents. There’s the suspicions around standard
        theories for the deaths of JFK, MLKJ, RFK. Some might
        include September 11. The renditions under Bush: what happened to habeas corpus? NDAA indefinite detention: same.
        Surveillance state. Jill Stein hand-cuffed in plastic
        for 8 hours then released. Fast and furious: the Attorney
        General of the United States was issued a subpoena
        for documents, etc. Not sure he complied. It
        goes on and on.
        What’s the point of a book of rules for baseball or football or soccer supposing enforcement is only so-so?

      3. Stroebs

        In Wisconsin, voting Green. The lesser (and arguably more effective) evil goes far, far beyond the necessary evil.

    2. Aquifer

      That message would be a lot more powerful if sent in Ohio – if 3rd party lefties are prepared to “cost” Dems for their abandonment of them – THAT is the most powerful message that can be sent and the only one that really NEEDS to be sent if your purpose is indeed to send a message …

      1. TK21

        Exactly. Rule number one of bargaining: you must be prepared to walk away. If the Democrats know they can count on our votes no matter what they do, they’ll give us absolutely nothing.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          This is actually trivially obvious. The problem is that one must view the entity across the bargaining table as fundamentally an adversary to see it. Too many progressives still view the Democratic Party is if not an ally outright at least in a sympathetic light when in fact on any rational basis they are obviously adversaries. How does one make a who self identifies as a progressive understand that being progressive is ideologically incompatible with identification as a Democrat?

  7. leopold stotch

    the most “classic”/trite liberal apologist response to voting third party/Greens—Gore could’ve won with the third party votes and kept the US out of Iraq.

    The Democrats are just as culpable on Iraq. Look up the list of congress who voted with the Republicans in the 2002 Iraq war resolution on wikipedia—-the majority of Senate Dems and a big minorty of House Dems voted with the Republicans.

    Just say no to being stabbed in the back by the elites of “your” party.

    1. MontanaMaven

      Most excellent thread. Who’s to say what a Gore presidency would have been like? Probably like an Obama one only 8 years sooner. Goodbye Social Security. More trade agreements. Monetizing carbon emissions so you can trade them like CDOs. We need an alternative to this running on the hamster wheel.

    2. Stroebs

      More on the false meme peddled by the Dems that Gore would not have taken the country to war with Iraq–

      Although we will never know the truth, the argument that the U.S. would have invaded Iraq regardless of who was elected president appears to be both better supported and better reasoned. (from 1992, but it shows how strong the push was and where it came from)

      And under Gore, there may not have been much of any anti-war movement at all.

  8. cwaltz

    I live in Virginia and voted for Stein. I refuse to hold my nose any longer. If that means we end up stuck with a President Romney folks can feel free to blame Obama for not doing enough during his first term to placate me into voting for him.

      1. Synopticist

        If Romney wins, i promise to come on NC and berate your idiot arses every single day.

        When he takes a cleaver to your society, economy and state don’t go blaming Obama or the dempctats, blame people who didn’t vote against him.

        1. Waking Up

          No. If Romney wins, the only ones to “blame” will be Barack Obama himself and those in the Democratic party who refused to primary him when it became obvious as early as 2009 that Obama could care less about the majority of people in this country. His level of corruption with NDAA, “kill lists”, and failure to bring about justice for the people of this country against the bankers, among so many other issues now does not deserve getting a vote. Barack Obama does not deserve and should not get a second term. Until people stop voting for the “lesser of two evils”, these type of corrupt candidates will continue to be our president for the very reason that they are morally bankrupt and easily manipulated for the purposes of the 1%.

        2. MontanaMaven

          Good luck with that line of attack when Obama with the lame duck comes up with a way to “tweak” or “not slash” Social Security. And, oh, I just can’t wait to call up lefty radio shows and blog over at The Nation on Wednesday asking where I should sign up for the “Make Him Do It” movement. Bwahahahaha.

        3. TK21

          “When he takes a cleaver to your society”

          You mean Romney? You don’t think Obama plans to carve up this country? He wants to cut Social Security and Medicare–he’s told anyone who will listen, but many people are too obtuse to hear. He believes laws are for little people and the president can attack any country he wants, kill anyone he wants, imprison anyone he wants. 93% of income gains during his presidency have gone to the richest 1%. Etc. etc. etc.

          Pay some attention, for goodness sake.

          1. eric authority cartman

            given the last 3.8 years, to me it’s obvious that GOP base isn’t giving Obama any credit for the small-“c” conservative policies (Wall Street, ok-ing drilling, kill lists, Guantanamo, etc) of the Obama administration because Obama’s black….

            and that the “liberals” are overlooking Obama’s conservatives policies because Obama is black/biracial.

        4. Stroebs

          +1 Waking Up

          Obama and his supporters will have nobody but themselves to blame. It will be time to stop dumping on informed voters and think about exactly why your candidate lost the election.

          And if Obama is elected, please make a promise to yourself to hold your candidate accountable for his actions over the next four years . . . oops, you would have already lost the chance to hold him accountable. Darn.

  9. citalopram

    David Swanson seems frustrated.

    It’s just so utterly apparent to me that both parties and their actors needs to be driven out of government in order to have any change whatsoever.

    This is not going to happen right now.

  10. Chris Rogers

    Re-elected Obama would push quickly for fiscal deal -party aides: Reuters

    Nice to see Obama and his Democratic whores in Congress sharpening the shears to cut social welfare in the USA even before most of the vote has been cast.

    I don’t know why anyone who can call themselves left-of-centre can actually vote for Obama, particularly given many are aware of his ‘Grand Bargain’ on cutting back welfare whilst attending to the desires of the 1% and military-industrial complex.

    Whilst Stoller, Walsh and Chomsky have advised swing state voters to cast a vote in favour of Obama, I firmly believe that this is tactically egregious given the facts, as the Reuters story highlights, Obama is poised to pounce on the social welfare safety net once the counting is over.

    Any one with a brain must see that Obama must be stopped from taking the Whitehouse again for another 4 years and whilst its difficult to believe, the social safety net would be safer with Romney in the Whitehouse than Obama – this based on the reality that the Democrats would not allow a ‘cutting’ Romney to trim away at social welfare – obviously, this cannot be said of an Obama Whitehouse given the fact that leading Democrat’s in both Houses’s are sharpening the shears on a grinding stone as I type this.

    The gross hypocracy of the Democrat’s – or its leadership at least – knows no bounds, at least we all know the Republican’s are bad and mad, regrettably, the Dem’s are bad, mad and pure evil – so poised is its well with neoliberalism, greed and lust for absolute power.

    If you wish to delay significant attacks upon what remains of social welfare, vote Romney – if you wish to see the end of social welfare to those that actually need it, and huge handouts to those that don’t, the 1%, vote for Obama – its a tough call and I’ve made my opinion known – I wish it were not so, but the Reuters story underscores exactly what will happen once Obama re-enters the Whitehouse.

    Good luck to all of you and thankfully one is not in a position to vote, hence this horrible personal choice I do not have to make.

    Reposted from LINKS Comment Section

    1. Aquifer

      Wait – did Stoller chicken out and do the safe state thing, too? I thought he had finally come around to a “go for it 3rd party” position?

    2. Waking Up

      The Social Safety Net programs you refer to are not “welfare” programs. The vast majority of citizens have been paying taxes into these programs for years. Unless you are referring to them in the context of helping the welfare of citizens, especially those who may want to spend their few remaining years on earth not working or simply no longer CAN work in their senior years. Are you intentionally trying to propagandize these programs as “welfare”?

      1. Chris Rogers


        These are what are known in most Western European countries as the welfare state, or social safety – originally introduced in Germany in the 1870’s by one Otto Von Bismarck and consequently copied/ replicated by most other nations with the exception of one, the USA.

        So, I suggest you do a little reading on the subject matter, Google names such as Churchill. Lloyd George and Kier Hardie and a host of other European progressives.

  11. Jill

    First the idea that swing state voters are not free to vote our conscience is reprehensible. It is also non-nonsensical. If one has made a sound argument for not voting for Obama, these arguments do not suddenly become null and void because one lives in a swing state. If the arguments are sound, they should be acted upon.

    Secondly, Jay said a real jaw dropper. He said neither man was really evil, they were just products of their society. He said this while admitting that Obama may have committed and may even be prosecuted for war crimes. Admittedly Romeny has not had the same opportunity in life to commit the level of evil Obama has, but he’s made clear he fully embraces it all and will act on it should he be elected. Jay was arguing the BushObama doctrine: “If the powerful do it, it is neither illegal nor evil” For Jay torture, murder and mass starvation is just stuff that class happens to regularly engage in! While often true, frequency does not make these actions non-evil.

    Swanson was frustrated because he was making a deep, complex argument that doesn’t fit the propagandistic “narrative” of the election cycle.

    For me, voting does matter. It is one small, yet still important act of a citizen. Voting Romeny or Obama is taking a huge step backward for our nation. It has a real consequence. The rule of law and endless warfare do matter. Voting for Obama or Romney confers your blessing on the destruction of your own Constitution and society. We should not give our blessing to those things. We should resist in every way, that includes resistance through our vote.

    David’s idea of an activist movement which is not dependent on a party is excellent. David well explained how movements for justice have been gutted by allying with corrupt, legacy parties. I was alarmed that Jay seemed unable to grasp what David was speaking about. I hope people will understand David’s argument. It is important.

    1. Brindle

      Yes, Jill.
      I have watched quite a few TRNN video interviews and this is the first one where Paul Jay seems so clueless about the point being made.

      Paul Jay is a great resource but he dropped the ball here.

  12. Dee

    I’m in Iowa and still haven’t made up mind yet on Stein or Obama. I suppose since I’m in a swing state I should just fall into line but does my vote for Obama really swing anything?


    1. TK21

      Barack Obama personally directs the US military to fire missiles at people who they have no idea whether or not they are enemies. Once those people are killed, Obama has “enemy” written on their file to make it look legitimate, then when people come to the site of the attack to see if anyone needs help, he has those people killed too in case any of them are bad guys.

      This is not a guess or a conjecture, this is all on the public record. You can Google it and see for yourself. Start with the New York Times.

      Can you live with yourself if you vote for this person? Can you look at yourself in the mirror?

  13. Jill

    Dee, one of the things David spoke about is that many Obama voters don’t actually support Obama’s positions or actions. I’m not asking you to answer this publicly, but do you support them?

    If you do not support things like drone bombings of civilians, indefinite detention without trial, wars of empire engaged by the executive and war contractors, the lack of universal, single payer healthcare, then the answer is clear, Jill Stein is the candidate who shares these values. If you do support income inequality, mass surveillance and incarceration of the population, lack of abortion coverage for the poorest and sickest women, past and current financial fraud committed with impunity, torture, extraordinary rendition, an imperial executive then Obama is the candidate who shares these values.

    If you vote for Obama these are the policies you are advancing in our society.

    1. Dee

      I have a wildcard in this race. Obamacare.

      I have a couple of family members who without it would probably be deceased and/or cut off by insurance companies. A family member with a terminal genetic disorder who has surpassed her life expectancy, and a family member who has arthritis/staph infections so with caps would be cut off.

      So this wildcard has been thrown at me.

      1. Jill

        Dee, I understand. That is a very bad situation. The truth is that Obamacare may, at this time, help some people. Other people will be hurt by it. It is also worth considering that without the rule of law, what good is in the law now may be taken out at will.

        This law was written by a former employee of Wellpoint, an insurance company. It was based on a paper from the extremely conservative Heritage Foundation. These powerful companies are not in business to provide your reiteratives with the health care they need. Neither are the people they bought in Congress and the Executive Branch.

        I believe it is a fundamental mistake for being to take a few crumbs from people who are running in an election and believe those crumbs are a substitute for meaningful heath care law. This can only happen in a society where laws matter. We do not have that society. We will not have that society unless we the people create it. We cannot compromise on rule of law because it is the basis for working out any true, lasting reform. The rest is ephemeral election “walking around money”. It will be gone soon enough.

        It is corporations who will tell your realitives whether they will live or die. That is the truth.

      2. TK21

        I have family members who depend utterly on Medicare and Social Security. Obama wants to cut those programs. He tried to in his first term but the Republicans did not like his exact terms so they did not let him. Obama has said, again and again, that he wants to try to cut those programs again in his second term, and if he succeeds my family will likely be a few people smaller.

        Don’t we deserve better than this?

      3. Myshkin

        Dee, your dilemna exemplifies the choice we have before us and I too, like Jill sympathize with what you’re dealing with. Unlike Jill I haven’t abandoned reason for a satisfying Manichean ideology and unrealistic expectations.

        Under Obama Care real people are now receiving medical care once not available and more and more will be covered and able to receive care over the coming years.

        Insurance companies won’t be able to deny coverage on pre-existing conditions.

        Over six million children are retained on their parents plans until they are 26 or have a job and can afford their own in these difficult times.

        5 million seniors are saved the cost of their perscriptions drugs once not covered in the donut hole.

        Over 80 million are now covered for preventive care such as mammograms and wellness care for seniors.

        This is meaningful and it’s often the way effective, long-lasting change happens, in increments.

        In Canada the national health care program started in Saskatchewan, just one province and through its success it spread throughout the country. It offers medical coverage for all Canadians and has had the added benefit of humanizing the country, encouraging Canadians to be attentive to the choices their government makes as they have an invested interest in governance that serves their needs not corporations.

  14. Eureka Springs

    Each and every slot on my ballot that does not provide a third party choice I can support will remain blank. I only wish I were in a “swing” state in order to say NO to both criminal parties with a louder vote. Of course people should vote third party in swing states… how weak, how pathetic this post title/question is. After 2008/’10/’12 never ever let these democrats say it’s the other side who votes entirely against their interests. Never ever let it be said that the other side has an exclusive with the authoritarian following problem.

    If you area member of either the D vs R ongoing criminal organizations you won’t get my vote…. not even for dog-catcher. And you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

  15. Jill

    To clarify my statement above. Jill Stein opposes drone bombing of civilians, wants the wars to end right now, is against indefinite detention without trial, calls for universal/single payer health care and income equalilty. (To name a few of her positions.)

  16. Aquifer

    Just a blast from the past – written in ’08, still true … Ah! Pity The Nation

    They picked their beau from column A
    ‘Cause MSM said “He’s OK!”
    They told all their friends “With him we’ll stay!”
    Ah, pity The Nation!

    They thought he was fine, they thought he was stout,
    And then they discovered him catting about
    He’s being unfaithful of that there’s no doubt
    Ah, pity The Nation!

    They bought the ring when he gave them a rose
    Now they have found the ring’s in their nose
    What do they do now he’s turned on the hose?
    Ah, pity The Nation!

    They could call it off and find a new beau.
    But they fear ridicule so they still won’t say “No!”
    Their learning curve is so painfully slow
    Ah, pity The Nation!

    MSM has decided “It’s A or it’s B!
    And B is a bounder as well, golly gee!
    (But you aren’t permitted to pick column C!)”
    Ah, pity The Nation!

    So they’ll marry the cad, on bended knee
    But they’ll write him a note with a pitiful plea
    “Oh sir, please, stop beating on poor little me!”
    Ah, pity The Nation!

    There are those tried and true who would make a good spouse
    But these won’t be allowed to come in the house
    As they stick with this fellow as Lesser Louse
    Ah, pity The Nation!

  17. John

    I can vote in Virginia so I will follow Chomsky’s and Jamie Galbraith’s advice…sorry Jill Stein.
    I find it interesting that no one has brought up instant runoff voting as a solution to the problem that no sane third party can break through under our current system. Think Ross Perot and Ron Paul and their extremely dedicated followers.
    Another reason for voting Obama is to vote against the deep cadre of neocons who inhabit the Republican Party. You want John Bolton as Secretary of State?
    The leader is symbolic but ultimately not as powerful as the countless minions who carry out policies. It is the second and third tiers down from the presidency that create the political world we live in. We don’t vote for these people and we never have. They just come along on the coattails of the top of the ticket.
    And how many of you in this discussion go to your local Planning Commission and Council meetings? It’s nice to support local farm markets and producers. It’s even nicer to infiltrate local government. Takes a lot of time, though.

    1. Jill


      Have you checked out the “minions” in the Obama adminstration? David Swanson directly addressed this concern in his talk. The minions, more likely, the people actually in charge, carried over from the Bush administration to the Obama administration. These same people will be in Bush’s 4th term no matter which legacy party is in place.

  18. Myshkin

    Obama pushed through a health care plan that is a first step and will some day likely lead to rational, cost-effective, universal care.

    As it is currently constructed it has major flaws in the form of give aways to the insurance industry and big pharma; also it can be argued that universal health care was taken off the table early on without enouch of a fight, there are ways of interpreting these failures that have been argued interminably before and are not relevant to the point. LBJ a master of pushing through legislation, knew that once a bill or program was passed it could be crafted into something better over time.

    The important point is that along with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the Affordable Health Care Act, as it implements over the coming years, will be an eloquent and effective point in the progressive argument for a government that promotes the general welfare and can do so effectively. It will prove that government, when it is good, is for the people, not for the corporations and not merely a mechanism for assembling a bloated war engine. This is Obama’s major accomplishment and it should not be blithely dismissed.

    Romney and the Republicans will not rest until they undo the Affordable Health Care Act and what’s left of SS, Medicare etc.

    Those who believe that for things to get better they must get worse, i.e. Romney will get us there faster. Take a look at how bad things are in other parts of this world and then perhaps think again. I vote Green or Socialist when I can, I understand that the dichotomy of Republican and Democrat is a false dichotomy at some level.
    That said, be sure to vote early and often and in Ohio if you can manage it.

    1. TK21

      “The important point is that along with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the Affordable Health Care Act, as it implements over the coming years, will be an eloquent and effective point in the progressive argument for a government that promotes the general welfare”

      You do know that Obama wants to cut Social Security and Medicare, right? He tried to in his first term but was not able to.

      “We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.”

      –Barack Obama, 7/22/2011

      He will try for those cuts again if he gets a second term:

      “Obama pushed through a health care plan that is a first step and will some day likely lead to rational, cost-effective, universal care.”

      How will that happen? Who in the Democratic party will push for such a thing? Seriously, how?

      1. Myshkin

        “You do know that Obama wants to cut Social Security and Medicare, right? He tried to in his first term but was not able to.”
        -Obama was in negotiations during the debt ceiling crisis when the Republicans in order to carve up the so called ‘entitlements’ were threatening to destroy the credit rating of the country by not lifting the cieling. A hostage situation. If you interperet that as “wanting to” as if it was a fond wish, you’re quite wrong.

        The Ryan plan and the Republican directive is to turn Medicare into a voucher program and Social Securtiy over to the investment banks, always looking for a way to divert public revenue steams operating efficiently for the people into corporate coffers.

        There is a difference between what will happen to the country under Romney, Ryan and the Republicans if they have their way. If you can’t see the difference than you aren’t looking or you believe that crashing the country will lead to a hoped for rebuild into something better.

        The problem is that history tells us that from the ashes may emerge a Goldern Dawn instead of golden dawn.

      2. docg

        To quote a well known TV doctor: YOU ARE AN IDIOT!

        That’s not just my opinion, by the way. It’s a fact. If you don’t believe me, take a look in the mirror. Along with all the others posting here, posing as liberals, progressives, socialists, radicals, independents, whatever. Withholding your vote from the ONLY presidential candidate with your interests at heart is sheer idiocy. Sorry, Yves, but that’s the only word for it.

        As for Soc. Sec. and Medicare, sure Obama foolishly offered cuts, but that was only because he was desperately trying to find some red meat to toss at those other idiots, the Tea Party Republicans, who don’t give a shit about anything except their own bottom line. And thanks to fools like you, who refused to vote last time, or voted for clear losers like yourselves, the House was loaded full of these selfish louts, and will be next time as well.

        The operant word here is apathy. Larded with self-righteous puritanism. Get off your high horses and get out and vote because you know in your heart there is a HUGE difference between the two parties. This is war. There are no neutrals, only fools and cowards.

        1. docg

          Sorry, the lines got crossed. Myshkin may be The Idiot, but he’s not AN IDIOT. The other guy is the idiot, the one whining about Obama, the one who doesn’t know any better. Sorry, Mysh, I completely agree, keep up the good work.

  19. docg

    Which Side Are You On?

    A Song by Florence Patton Reece

    Come all of you good workers
    Good news to you I’ll tell
    Of how that good old union
    Has come in here to dwell

    Which side are you on?
    Which side are you on?
    Which side are you on?
    Which side are you on?

    My daddy was a miner
    And I’m a miner’s son
    And I’ll stick with the union
    Till every battle’s won

    They say in Harlan County
    You’ll either be a union man
    Or thug for J.H. Blair

  20. Infidel

    I am voting for Gary Johnson. If there was IRV, I would have probably done:

    1) Gary Johnson
    2) Rocky Anderson
    3) Jill Stein
    4) –
    5) –

    1. b.

      Johnson didn’t make the cut for me because of the libertarian drivel on “entitlements” and the latent “small government” BS. I did not think his opposition to the elite “consensus” is clear enough, which might be explained by his own career and background.

      I have no idea whether Stein would be competent, or whether she is even honest. It is not relevant. There is a profound misunderstanding regarding the importance of 3rd party candidates (and primary challenges). Stein, Johnson mark the willingness of the electorate to reject the “electable” and “viable” choices, even at short-term cost. Their value – if any – lies in representing a shift outside the narrow republican “channels” of representation that signals that any actual “mandate” is increasingly out of reach for the “viable” and “electable” candidates.

      First they lie.
      Then they loose your money.
      Then they loose your work.
      Then they loose your vote.
      Then they loose the election.
      Then they begin to change.
      Then they lie.
      Then they loose again.

      Obama 2012 is no more defensible than Bush 2004. You don’t have to roll out game theory “tit for tat” to have a common sense grasp that actions have to have consequences. Obama has to go, no matter the alternative, because he has not just failed to meet expectations, he has betrayed an entire generation of first time voters, and scorched the ground we stand on, from the specific policies – single payer national healthcare – to to the very idea of a functioning representative democracy, and the foundations of the rule of law (property, accountability). His most important service delivered to his sponspors – those that financed Daschle, Lieberman, Kerry – was to diffuse the momentum that 8 years of Clinton (deregulation) and 8 years of Bush (plain incompetence on 9/11, tax equality, regulation) had brought about. For that alone, any self-respecting citizen would hound him out of office. You do not vote for a liar and fraud this destructive, even if there was a chance he would actually promise – much less deliver – what you want and/or need.

      Stein, for example, claims to support the right measures – beginning with election law, campaign financing, the very foundations of how we try to institute government to secure our rights – for the right reasons. If she succeeded in diverting enough votes from the “possibly-but-not-really-lesser-evil” to end Obama’s ability to deliver his voters to his paymasters, then she has accomplished more than all the progressives move-on-ments have accomplished in the past decade.

      As for those – like Silber – who like to posture in voting NO by not voting, half the citizenry has been doing this for decades, and it would appear that their *signal* – somewhat muted and ambiguous – has not make any difference whatsoever. Nobody in the Gore campaign would call the Nader 2000 efforts wasted, and some might even regret not taking the possibility into account. The non-voters, by comparison, have never turned an election, not even for the “worse”.

      Nobody forces you to deliver a valid vote. Nobody forces you to write in a candidate. The ballot sheet is a powerful tool for exercising four First Amendment rights. The voting booth might be a “designated free speech zone”, but if enough of us use it, our voice will be heard across the nation – especially if it amounts to “None of the above”.

      It is a sign of how deep the rot is that nobody in the Democratic Party appears to comprehend that a candidate – incumbent or not – that has not faced a primary challenge is utterly undemocratic. I have no use for the posturing of the Feingolds of the world. Nobody – especially not an incumbent – should be allowed to enter an election without having to answer to a wide variety of challenges and challengers from within his own past supporters.

      Dismissing elections is like dismissing government – it is the cancer that has been eating away at the core of the American experiment for hundreds of years. The Founders knew that no candidate, no representative, no process, no law will suffice. Given the tools they did leave us, they’d be mighty tired of the whining.

      1. casino implosion

        Your analysis is cogent.

        Once the short lived sugar high of defeating the annoying tea party wears off, and the stark reality of the grand backstab starts to dawn on liberals, my vote today is going to feel pretty good.

  21. juliania

    The sameness of evil between O and R was mindbogglingly apparent in the foreign policy ‘debate’. While domestic policy is a huge concern, empire – that dog hanging onto his stick – permeates every priority of these two. And rather than the dog, I am reminded of the captive monkey with his fist in the calabash.

    There really is no choice for a concerned citizen to make other than the brave and sensible Jill Stein. I too will be leaving the rest of the ballot empty if all it is filled with is D’s and R’s.

    Let go that stick, dog! Unclench your fist, monkey!

  22. b.

    “Noam Chomsky’s suggestion, to vote Obama if one is in a swing state but to vote 3rd party otherwise.”

    Chomsky just lost a lot of my respect.

    1. Chris Rogers

      I think Chomsky, Stoller, Walsh are a little chicken scared to state the obvious, which is to deny the Presidency to Obama at any cost, even if this means voting Republican in swing states.

      Not being a moral coward, and having no love for either of your legacy parties, from a tactical perspective, regardless of ones political persuasion, voting Republican becomes a necessity if neoliberalism and neo-conservativism is to be defeated in the long run.

      You cannot have your cake and eat it at the same time, either the moral imperative is to destroy the Washington Consensus/ Chicago School of Thought once and for all – and this struggle requires personal self sacrifice, or the USA continues on its present trajectory and becomes more despised globally as the majority of its peoples fall further into debt slavery or impoverishment – when those who seek elected office invoke God, drape themselves in the flag and claim ‘we are all in this together’ its time to take to the hills and rebel – the hopium addiction has gone on far too long, and like a drug pusher, the pushers of hopium suck you dry and cast you aside once your money has all been extracted – not too long to go in the USA until the 1% own everything, by which time the fascist oligarchy will implement its final solution upon you – this being your extermination.

  23. kevinearick

    they shouldn’t vote…

    Beggar Thy Neighbor

    Disentanglement is a self-serving illusion. Every time Bernanke prints digital, he impoverishes the European periphery, employing the US middle class to do so, under the Fed’s monetary employment dictate, and labor has no interest in participating. As far as Canada’s real estate bubble, significantly larger than America’s per capita, the theory goes that Canada has far greater natural resources per capita to balance it, and Canada, like Switzerland, has a history of pulling out just before implosion reaches its horizon. I wouldn’t bet that way. Canada has many decent people, but they are too old to reproduce in the required numbers and the BC critters, like ugly Americans, have been traveling all over the world, flapping their ignorant gums. Employing boomers part-time at $10/hr, and teenage girls to process welfare, is not a plan to reboot. There is no exit for peer groups.

    Dorothy Sayers:

    faithful- and he will be faithful – to the light which he sees so brilliantly. What he sees is the true light – only he does not see it directly, but only its reflection in the mirror of his own brain; and in the end that mirror will twist and distort the reflection.

    Philippe-Paul Segur:

    We said among ourselves as we watched this stubborn, unbending giant wrestle…with the presentiment that this first step [of leaving Moscow] would be his ruin…He (Napoleon) dreaded above all to be giving way. Any risk was preferrable to that! (suffering 500,000 casualties)

    As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he…jumped into the water.

  24. Hugh

    Republicans never expect liberals and progressives to vote for them because Republicans do not represent these groups and work against their views.

    Nowadays we have a Democratic party that also doesn’t represent these groups and works against their views. Yet there is still this expectation that liberals and progressives should still vote for Democrats. Why? What does living in a swing state have to do with anything? If Democrats had wanted the votes of liberals and progressives, they could have fought for their issues. Instead they fought against them. Liberals and progressives owe the Democrats nothing. Win, lose, or draw, isn’t it about time for liberals and progressives to start finding people who do represent their views and vote for them?

    1. Chrisd

      Likewise, I have yet to read a criticism of the fickle independents who are abandoning Obama this time around for not being centrist enough (!).

      Moderates are expected to drop candidates who do not meet their satisfaction. The principled right demands concessions upfront for their votes. Liberals and progressives are the only voters who must vote Democratic regardless. No more. My vote is not a given.

      Ohio voter for Jill Stein.

  25. Opti

    Any election party tonight will have a mandatory 4-year hangover.

    Any viable 3rd party must be voted for but, of course, 3rd parties need to improve their state/local levels first, before challenging for Presidency. Who cares about President, if 1/2 of Congress is from 3rd Parties…

  26. mock turtle


    in 2012, if 51% of the people voted for any 3rd party prez candidate in the battle-ground states then the election would have been thrown to the house of representatives to decide…quoting the 12th amendment to the constitution

    “The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; AND IF NO PERSON HAVE SUCH A MAJORITY, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.”

    i.e., if no candidate gets 270 electoral votes the election is thrown into the house of representatives


    It’s helpful to read the views of a blogger interested and who is really interested in any particular subject: and especially dissenters who have totally different opinions will be able to find little or no disagreement with your viewpoint.

Comments are closed.