I witnessed a very interesting thing last week during a long walk with my dog. A few doors down from my local cigar shop (where they let me bring my dog inside because - "can't make it smell any worse") is an Obama shop. In front of Obama's were about 10 people protesting and picketing against Obama in favor of Hillary. They had signs made up with things like "Hillary is better" or "Obama rejects PA", "Obama is unqualified" or something to those effects. How interesting, I thought. My second thought was: What are these people going to do if Obama gets the nomination? Vote for McCain? Abstain? Whig party candidate?
I believe it's more likely that they'll end up voting for Obama, but I want to argue that this type of thinking is one of the main problems with party politics. It starts the cycle of strategy voting. The most common form of strategy voting is voting for someone to ensure that the person from the other party does not win. The last presidential election was a fine example of this. It seemed that the majority of both Democrats and Republicans didn't really like their candidates, but they hated the other candidate more. So instead of voting for Kerry, they were actually voting against Bush, and by default voting for Kerry. And the same the other way round.
There are two problems I see with this. The first is that the politician who gets elected actually believes that every vote for them was a vote of love. Hence Bush believing he finally had the backing of the country by actually winning an election. This leads the politician to do things that would probably not happen if they realized that most of those who voted for you don't actually like you, but just like you more than the other. The second problem is that the voter ends up not voting for who they actually want and so we end up with politicians we don't really want.
The solution, and the one that I hope the Hillarites as well as the Huckababies and Paulians adopt, is to vote for the person you actually want regardless of who is nominated. If you honestly think Hillary would be a better president, and you are not convinced by positive arguments for the other side, then you should vote for Hillary. If the politicians think we vote out of love for them - perhaps we should.
The Rational Moderate