A note on the US election – vote for Clinton in November

Looking from the outside, there is no doubt that the US political system, with its winners-take-all elections, is deeply flawed, and unfortunately more or less guarantee a two-party system, at least on the national level. What’s more, it creates an environment, in which confrontational and non-cooperative behavior often is rewarded.

In countries, where there is a proportional distribution based upon votes, there will usually be numerous parties, and the political environment will have a great deal of focus on collaboration across political parties and compromises.

I think it would be healthy for the US political system to move towards that.

Then it would also be possible to get rid of the costly and destructive practice of primaries, and leave the election of candidates to the party members, as it is usually done outside the US.

However, until this happens (which I guess is some time after I have been elected US President, to be honest), it is important to operate within the political reality of the US. This reality is currently that the election is between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton is a well known choice, and unlike the Republican smears (and smears from the left), she is fundamentally honest and progressive. She is more hawkish than a lot of Democrats want, but then, so is Sanders if people spent a little time studying his politics, and anyway, her hawkiness is exaggerated. On issues related to civil rights, Clinton is a true progressive, fighting for LGBT rights, women’s right to choose, and fighting discrimination and racism against non-whites – on these issues, Clinton has a long proven track-record, and is, in my opinion, often more progressive than Sanders, who tends to look at everything in the terms of class warfare, ignoring gender and race.

But even if Clinton was the a reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, it would be important to vote for her.

Why? Because in the political reality that is the US, the alternative is Donald Trump.

Many people are talking about voting 3rd party rather than “the lesser of two evils”. I have little patience with this argument – a 3rd party vote is wasted, as there is no chance a 3rd party candidate will get elected. However, any votes on a 3rd party candidate, instead of Clinton, could be a potential vote that Clinton is missing when the final ballots are counted. Yes, in some districts, they matter less, but are you really willing to risk that?

It might be that Clinton is the lesser of two evils, but the comparison of evilness is like comparing a mouse to a full grown elephant. They are both mammals, but I think we all know which one we would prefer stepping on our toes.

Here I am assuming that my readers tend to be progressive. If you are usually a Republican voters, I’d suggest that you either sit this election out, vote for Clinton or vote 3rd party. Why? Because the GOP candidate is Donald Trump! I think it would be a good idea to vote in a way which ensures that a similar candidate isn’t elected again – this is best done by ensuring that Clinton wins overwhelmingly.

For those who wish for a more left-leaning Democratic party, I’d suggest focusing on the down-vote candidates, ensuring that the most progressive of them get elected. The Senate and the House are both currently in GOP hands – any win for the Democrats would pull leftwards, especially if the victory is by a progressive candidate.



  1. colnago80 says

    In countries, where there is a proportional distribution based upon votes, there will usually be numerous parties, and the political environment will have a great deal of focus on collaboration across political parties and compromises.

    That’s the system used in Israel and it works so well there, not.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    … she is fundamentally honest and progressive.,

    Aw, c’mon. Clinton easily clears the better-than-Trump bar, even the not-much-higher better-than-almost-all-Republicans bar, but pls don’t try to bullshit those of us who’ve followed her and her war-criminal husband closely for almost two and a half decades.

    Find yourself somebetter information sources.

  3. doublereed says

    Fundamentally honest and progressive? Hahahaha come on PZ you’re better than that. She’s one of the prime examples of neoliberalism, corruption, and says-anything-to-get-elected.

    I’ll vote for her because she’s not an outright fascist, but I expect her to be to the right of Obama on pretty much everything.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    doublereed @ # 4: Hahahaha come on PZ …

    Uh, pls take a look at the “About Me” piece in the sidebar, or the banner, or the URL…

  5. lpetrich says

    What our host describes is called Duverger’s law: the sort of elections determine what parties are present. Sociologist Maurice Duverger himself: Duverger: The Electoral System

    He describes the spoiler effect, and how it results from first-past-the-post voting:

    The brutal finality of a majority vote on a single ballot forces parties with similar tendencies to regroup their forces at the risk of being overwhelmingly defeated.

    As to proportional representation, its detractors often mention Israel. But Israel does not seem to be typical of PR-using nations.