Some reasons not to vote for either of the major presidential candidates this year:
- War. This was the one reason I considered supporting Obama after Ron Paul dropped out. I figured a strong anti-war stance was the most important issue to me. Since then I’ve discovered: Obama has voted repeatedly to fund the war in Iraq. He wants to put more troops in Afghanistan, and “do something” about Darfur. And he’s an imperialist—nowhere in his platform does he discuss any substantive foreign policy changes, such as withdrawing troops from Germany, Japan, Korea, or anywhere else around the world (we have 700ish bases, I think). In fact, he only seems to differ from the Republicans in small details about where to put troops, and rhetoric about diplomacy.
- Economy. Have the Republicans got any better position on that? Let’s see, there’s some disagreement over taxation: one party says the highest bracket should be 34%, and the other 38%. Real big difference there! As far as big bailouts and the fed, both sides seem pretty much the same there—pro-bailouts, pro-fed. Looking at the voting record of both candidates, there’s little hope for any reduction in spending.
- Freedom. Well, civil liberties in particular. Since 9-11, these have been getting flushed down the toilet disturbingly quickly. We’ve seen the suspension of Habeus Corpus, illegal search & seizure, and freedom of speech trodden all over (remember the “freedom of speech zones?”). How do the two candidates measure up here? There’s not much point in looking at differences: both support the Patriot act, both supported the FISA bill. Neither even mentions civil liberties on their website’s list of “issues”. Yet many of the people I talk to identify this as one of their greatest concerns.
- Energy. Both stand by the ridiculous notion that the government is going to somehow buy our way out of our energy woes, by spending a bunch of money on some particular technology. They differ greatly of course: McCain is for expanding domestic oil production, and Obama’s for “clean coal”. How’s that for choices.
The media has managed, as they usually do, to turn this thing into a horse race where “differences” between the candidates are magnified until we lose sight of what a real choice would look like. And somehow people have been fooled into holding their nose and voting for the least-bad candidate out of fear of “wasting their vote”. I think that’s rather backwards: wasting your vote is voting for one of the two major party candidates.