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Dan Knight's Soapbox



Vote Different

Dan Knight
November 6, 2000

It's the tail end of the presidential campaign here in the States. I've been so overdosed with campaign ads over the weekend, I can hardly wait to get the whole thing behind us. Worst of all, everyone seems to have resorted to negative campaigning in the end. Almost all the candidates at every level are spending more time painting their opponent as the worse choice rather than telling why we should vote for them.

I'm tired of the whole thing, especially the two-party stranglehold on our political system. George W. Bush and Al Gore, Jr. are getting almost all the press. It's easy to forget candidates such as Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, John Hagelin, Harry Browne, and others are also running for President.

But if you're tired of politics as usual, negative campaigns, and the limited scope of political discourse, I urge you to vote different.


Go to SpeakOut.com and use their VoteMatch survey to see if perhaps another candidate better represents your political views than W or Gore. And when you are surprised by the results, take the survey a second time.

I went there with George W. Bush as my default candidate. VoteMatch said he didn't best represent my thinking on the issues, although he was closer than Al Gore Jr. A pro-Gore friend did the same, also finding another candidate closer to his views.

So what am I going to do about it?

That would be telling. Despite the VoteMatch results, I was still planning on voting for Bush coming into the final weekend of the campaign. But the negative ads run by the Bush campaign offend me almost as much as the negative ads run by the Gore campaign. If both men are right about each other, neither deserves to be President.

In the end, the negative campaigning convinced me to vote outside the two-party box for the first time since John Anderson ran in 1980.

Why Even Vote?

There are those who contend that a third-party vote is a wasted vote. Or worse, that it may swing the election toward a candidate even further from your position on the issues.

My response: The only wasted vote is an uncast vote. If you have the right to vote on Tuesday, November 7, I urge you to do so.

Some are advocating casting a completely blank ballot, which is one way to show your disdain for the banality of today's political system. It's a nice idea, akin to voting for "none of the above" (not an option in Michigan), but it only sends a negative message.

Voting for a third-party candidate, any third-party candidate, tells America that you're tired of politics as usual, that you want more choices than a system dominated by two political parties allows, and that you're willing to think different.

If Nader voters cost Gore Michigan, so be it. If Buchanan supporters cost Bush a state, that's fine, too. We need to broaden the political discourse and create alternatives to the two tired old parties that have dominated for generations.

It's Your Vote

Don't go to the polls on Tuesday attempting to vote for "the winner." Vote for the candidate who best represents your views, whether you think he stands a chance of election or not.

If enough of us do that, maybe we can change the political landscape before the 2004 presidential campaign.

It's your vote; invest it wisely.

Official Links

We're not endorsing anyone. The following links are in alphabetical order. And they're not exhaustive. But they do present a half-dozen different views on politics in America.

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