An Electoral Strategy Based on Love
The idea of VotePact.org is a simple one: principled progressives and conscientious conservatives — instead of cancelling out each other’s votes, one for Obama, the other for Romney — should make a pact in pairs and both vote for the third party(s) that better reflect their beliefs.
But the implications of it can be far reaching:
VotePact overcomes the demonization of “the other” — people voting for Obama/Romney because they have been induced to be so repelled by Romney/Obama.
VotePact ends the isolation of the individual in the voting booth, torn against themselves. They are forced to either sell their conscience short by voting for an establishment candidate they don’t believe in or vote for a third party candidate who seems to have no plan for winning and possibly for governing — and possibly helping the establishment candidate they most detest.
Some rationalize (myself included at times) that they are in a “safe” state, and that’s fine so far as it goes, but it’s hardly a satisfying solution — so if you lived in a “swing” state your conscience would have a different price? It’s also not really a strategy since it concedes actual electoral victory to the establishment party and punts the quandary to the next election.
Thus, VotePact is victory, or can be. It’s a route to a literal win for the third party challenge with the nerve and the insight to build a campaign around it — reaching out from the radical center rather than a margin.
This is because VotePact can be political realignment, finding a New Center that is pro-peace, pro-civil liberties, anti-Wall Street, anti-poverty, anti-Federal Reserve, anti-IMF, anti-WTO, anti-NAFTA and so on — and revolting against the current establishment center that is on the opposite side on those things. Doubtlessly, there are differences between principled progressives and conscientious conservatives, but those can be honest differences in search of real solutions, not endless political bickering seeking to perpetuate itself for decades.
VotePact can end the bickering within political circles, with pragmatists saying, “we have to get rid of Romney/Obama” and the idealists saying “vote your conscience”. Neither is actually pursuing a strategy because the pragmatists are actually capitulationalists, forever trapping themselves in a two party system they claim to be unhappy with — “why oh why won’t Obama listen to us after we’ve made clear we’ll support him no matter what?” — and the idealists are pursuing something that is either marginal, or actually embraces the role of “spoiler”.
VotePact can help save and even build movements. Clearly, with the current dynamics, elections are movement killers. Peace movements, justice movements cannot easily endure the fixation on elections dominated by the establishment parties as the mass of people are compelled to back their lesser evil or feel marginalized. VotePact actually gives movements an outreach mechanism during the election cycle when they need it most.
This is in large part because VotePact is jujitsu. It uses the two-party system’s dominance against itself. It answers the question to third party candidates — “aren’t you a spoiler?” — in a forthright manner, by asking the questioner to look at their own life and finding a friend, neighbor, relative or debate partner to form a VotePact with.
This is freedom and it’s love. VotePact is a way people can free themselves from the two party system two at a time. It’s done by working with — and finding love and compassion with — someone they honestly disagree with. It runs totally counter to a political and media system based on hate: “You must hate Romney/Obama and so you must vote for Obama/Romney.” Trust is the one thing they need to find together.
One of my favorite children’s stories is “Horton Hears a Who” by Dr. Seuss in which the earnest elephant tries to convince people in “his world” that there are “Whos” in a speck of dust. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like Horton sometimes, except I’m trying to show more clearly that there are “Whos” on the other side of the two party divide — “a person is a person, no matter how …”. And there’s a “Who” in you who can come out better by recognizing that person in your life and taking their hand, finding common ground and overcoming the politics of caricature, fear and hate.