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Forum Post: A pledge to vote anything but Republican or Democrat

Posted 11 years ago on Oct. 9, 2011, 7:47 p.m. EST by Isvara (16)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The only thing that would set them straight is to scare them. The greatest scare is a pledge to not vote for them, and if we can get a huge swath of voters to sign onto the pledge as well.

What we need is a multiparty democracy. Not because it's the "right" thing to do or anything, but it's the most rational way to keep a check on power.

I mean, having two political parties is like having only two telecom companies to choose from. Both will fuck you over, and you don't have an alternative at the end of the day. Or at least that is what people think, in terms of political parties.

When there are only two political parties, neither with any solid ideology that guides it, it becomes real easy for K Street Lobbyists to lobby either party. Lets assume a lobbying firm has $100k to spend on politicians. They know that only two parties are competitive enough to win an election, therefore they split that money towards campaigns, both Republican and Democrat. If we assume that there are 50 districts, meaning 100 republicans and democrats running, they can ideally spend $1k on each candidate to assume clout over them.

Now add a third party that is competitive, and a fourth. Lets assume that the Libertarian Party and the Liberal Party gain enough support to run in those aforementioned 50 districts. That makes for 200 candidates of all parties, and would end up splitting the ability of these lobbyists to lobby effectively in a low risk manner, because not only do they now need to influence 4 candidates in each district with much more of an equal shot at winning, but they'll need more money than before to retain the same level of influence.

Also, for another point, lets assume the House of Reps gains enough representatives, a sizable amount, from other parties. Libertarians, Liberals, Greens, and maybe even a Pirate. Each party now has to compete with all the other parties in the House in order to gain recognition, power, and etc. This competition forces each party to keep the other parties in check, and as such serves as a check on power that currently does not exist. The more parties in the House of Reps, then the more parties you have looking into other parties to oust corrupt members.

Finally, having more political parties allows for a dying down of the rancid, left vs right, atmosphere. No longer will there be just two camps, and that you are either one or the other. It would be harder for news organizations, such as Fox, to be a blatant shrill for the Republicans without shafting its viewers who would rather vote Libertarian, or a supposed "Conservative Party of America". Same would go for channels such as MSNBC in terms of supporting Democrats.

I mean, if neither of the ruling parties are willing to enact the changes we want, then we should change the ruling parties.

And so, I'm here to push for such an idea. I mean, us here on Occupy Wall Street don't agree on everything. We're a mishmash of Liberals, Libertarians, Socialists, capitalists, and environmentalists. If anything, something that we could get behind in full force would be to support A PLEDGE to vote ANYTHING but Republican or Democrat. We could have a website, a PAC, and we can use our numbers and support in this movement by going door to door and giving out pamphlets. We could have a voter information website, where we can list candidates in every district who aren't democrat nor republican, and what these candidates stand for. There could even be a pledge that third party candidates can make in that even if they disagree with their fellow third parties, they will limit criticisms against one another and instead collectively focus on criticising the Democrat and Republican candidate.

We can use our collective power to gain star power by getting certain well known Americans to show vocal support for a party other than the GOP or the Dems, and heck, even get them to run for one of them.

I think that this is the sort of thing we can do in order to shake things up, and to change America for good. We end this duopoly on power that the GOP and Democrats hold, by getting everyone and their mothers to not vote for them.

What say y'all?



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[-] 2 points by DoctorX (11) 11 years ago

OK, I've read this post and to be honest, It is a good if not great strategy, but most of the replies here to it are pretty lousy when you get down to it.

The point of this proposal, correctly understood in its systemic context, is not to elect anyone at all. Neither is it to replace incumbents.

The point of this is to add another space to occupy. It's to Occupy the Ballot Box. In the next election, you will not have a viable 3rd party, it is just not in the cards. But, AT SOME POINT, the Dupoly has to be replaced or made redundant one way or another, it will take patient work.

It is simply a false dilemma that is being upheld in most of these replies: get a third party in immediately, or go home, is what they boil down to. Being afraid of the Republicans getting in is just being ruled by fear. But every existential option must be considered. Most people don't vote because they know full well that mere voting will do nothing to change the system. How about (a) accepting this limitation but (b) not try to evade it, but EXPLOIT it.

Don't vote to change the system. Just vote, period. But don't vote for the Duopoly - if only because that's been tried for years and has created a fine mess. Abstaining from voting just removes you from the system, and its effects simply do not impact it and any way, since you are not there. Therefore, abstaining is STUPID. If doesn't alter matters in any way whatsoever.

The alternative is to consciously THROW AWAY YOUR VOTE on a third candidate, without any illusion that they will get in or indeed without it implying any endorsement. Picking a party at random - so long as they are not D or R - is just as good as strategy as having a deliberate choice. Better, in fact, since it gums up the system optimally (I think...).

What will result from this is no defeat for either a D or R candidate, but it will set wheels in motion that were not there before, and that is the entire point of this strategy. It is a paradoxical one, abstaining from voting as it were, but AT the ballot box, but not away from it. But the entire OWS movement is about these kind of strategies. Protest, but don't make any demands, for example. By whose rulebook do you have to make demands? Similarly, by whose rulebook must you cast a vote for the person you think best? Instead, since everybody sucks, just cast a vote for someone you know won't win. Since the system is first past the post, it'll work, but insofar as it deprives the winner of any kind of plurality, the point is made: neither of the two parties have a shred of legitimacy.

The only real caveat and complication of this strategy is that it will need lots of people who never voted before to vote. Assuming they can be persuaded, I will repeat: it does NOT matter who you vote FOR, as long as they are not Duopoly candidates, this is not about electing anyone, but boycotting an entrenched two-party system.


[-] 2 points by atki4564 (1259) from Lake Placid, FL 11 years ago

Sixty percent of the population doesn't vote already, and although I'm all in favor of taking down today's ineffective and inefficient Top 10% Management Group of Business & Government, there's only one way to do it – by fighting bankers as bankers ourselves. Consequently, I have posted the Strategic Legal Policies, Organizational Operating Structures, and Tactical Investment Procedures necessary to do this at:




if you want to support a Presidential Candidate Committee at AmericansElect.org in support of the above bank-focused platform.

[-] 2 points by barryo (3) 11 years ago

You are spot on. I think that if it can be implemented, that is, if you can get enough people on board, it will send convulsing shivers up and down the demo-publican establishment. But too many voters are blindly convinced that their "side" are the good guys, and that if they don't support their party the bad guys will win... The one thing the current governing class has been successful at is brain washing us into believing that our fellow citizens are our enemies, and that politicians are our saviors, just because they happen to be red or blue.

If you are going to do this, you have to make it very clear that you do not advocate any type of political ideology, liberal or conservative. The main theme or purpose would have to be "break the legs of the two-party system" as an end in itself, since they are waltzing us off the cliff, in concert.

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

I'm glad we see eye to eye.

[-] 2 points by sbouscaren (3) 11 years ago

I would do that, but my fear would be to end up with the most evil: they start with an R. Can you convince me otherwise. The Electoral votes would decide anyway. Am I not right?

If you vote for the non-incumbant, you risk lising what little we have gained and lower and middle class. Because they are not for working or non-working Americans.

[-] 1 points by SwiftJohn (79) 11 years ago

At the Presidential level you probably would, at least for now. But at local levels, city, county, state it is far easier to get third parties on the ballot. Unfortunately, due to the twisted laws of most states, the third parties can only get on the ballots based upon the number of votes they get in prior elections. So to get a third party on the ballot you need to be prepared to vote for them and see them lose a few election cycles just to get on the ballot because both parties work so hard to keep them off.

We often forget how important the local offices are. After all much of the day-to-day foreclosure fights are being had in state and county courts where the titles are registered, or forged. As a consequence many of the issues we care about can be strongly affected by local politics. The Geither Administration, for example, is fighting against New York's efforts to actually punish Wall Street companies for (some) crimes because it is the state and not the feds who decide it.

So in the short term voting third party might not pay off and someone you hate may win. But until you are willing to take that risk you will always be stuck choosing the worst of two teams.

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

Well, the Libertarian Party can serve to split the GOP vote if that's what you're afraid of.

[-] 1 points by leftistperson (95) 11 years ago

The political party system of the USA is a shame. Look to all the other countries of the world. Everywhere you look, you see 3, 4, 5 or even more parties participating in the elections. In the USA, only 2 parties. This is a big shame.

[-] 1 points by jerseybob (6) 11 years ago

Sorry, but you're never going to have a viable 3rd party in this country no matter how hard you try...the system is rigged to ensure it's failure. Folks a lot smarter than us have been talking about this stuff for centuries.

So your choices are to not vote, which doesn't do anything...in all honestly that's what the politicians are hoping you do...they want the folks that feel disenfranchised to stay home.

The only viable option is to vote for the non-incumbant regardless of party affiliation. I know it sounds crazy, but whomever we send to Washington has to fear us...they need to go there with the very real fear that if they don't do what we sent them there to do they will not get another chance to do it. And you can't just look at that guy/gal 2-4-6 years later and say I'll give you another chance becuase I to some degree agree with you on these core set of ideologies or values. In the end they will betray you for their party and/or the special interests, so go ahead and vote for the other guy. I lean to the more liberal side of the things and live in an area that is very liberal (> 75% identify themselves as democrats), but I will vote for the republican nominee next November, anyone other than my current congressman, and anyone other than my one Senator up for re-election. That's the way it needs to be.

Don't re-elect Obama, any of the 33 Senators up for re-election, or any incumbant Congressman...period!

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

I'll be off now. I hope you all can discuss the merits of this proposal in my absence!

[-] 1 points by UncleGene (11) 11 years ago

REMEMBER! Ralph Nader's third party gave us George W. Bush!

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

Yep, but that's why I don't propose Presidential candidates. This is largely for House and Senate elections.

[-] 1 points by sbouscaren (3) 11 years ago

I would do that, but my fear would be to end up with the most evil: they start with an R. Can you convince me otherwise. The Electoral votes would decide anyway. Am I not right?

If you vote for the non-incumbant, you risk lising what little we have gained and lower and middle class. Because they are not for working or non-working Americans.

[-] 1 points by jerseybob (6) 11 years ago

You don't need another party...lose your base ideology and just vote for the non-incumbant. Besides, it's not like the the guy you voted for last time is doing anything for you. They're all crooked and corrupt because we don't keep them in check. Vowing to vote for the non-incumbant every election cycle until stuff starts working again is much easier than trying to create a viable 3rd party.

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

Aye, but then all that happens is a switch between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in your district. In the past two house elections, all that has happened was a republican majority changing to a democrat majority changing back to a republican majority. This vote for the non-incumbent hasn't caused things to start working again, has it?

[-] 1 points by jerseybob (6) 11 years ago

That didn't happen in anywhere near a majority of the districts out there (my Congressman was elected for the 29th time) and it only happened in one cycle...hardly enough to invoke real change. If you had seen most Senators and Congressman up for re-election swept out of office I believe it would have been a very real wake-up call.

Like I said in another post, what's the worst thing that can happen?

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

The worst thing that can happen? A constant jump between two parties, two different ideologies, and it would maintain the status quo.

[-] 1 points by coolnyc (216) from Stone Ridge, NY 11 years ago

I think that is well reasoned. The problem is getting there. For instance if you have a 3rd party candidate in 2012, youcould end up Romney or that nit wit fromTexas. But you're right - that would scare the hell out of them. All they work at is getting reelected. It would be nice if that depended on people and not money for a change

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

Well, it wouldn't be for Presidential Elections. This would be for House elections.

You need to have some clout in the house before you can go to the American people and say, "Here we have a Presidential candidate from our party, vote for us."

You can say that after you are in the House of Reps, or even the Senate, because being in government provides to the voter a sense of credibility for the presidential candidate in question.

Furthermore, Romney or Perry joining a Third Party would be fine. See, the problem aren't the individual politicians so much as the atmosphere of entitlement that being in a well established party creates.

[-] 1 points by coolnyc (216) from Stone Ridge, NY 11 years ago

Yes. You're right. You have tostart with the House elections. But how about we draft a constitutional amendment and pledge to vote out any politician, national or state, that doesn't support it. The amendment would have some mechanism for eliminating influence buying. I mean, that's the central problem isn't it?

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

The pledge would be moreso personal, and based on a website, than it would be based in hard legal terms.

Influence buying can be undermined with changing up the rules on campaign finance.

A good example would be what Canadian political parties did. In the quest for the Liberals and Conservatives to fuck each other over, they enacted campaign finance restrictions to attack one another's core campaign contribution base. Liberals banned contributions from corporations and labour unions in the 90s, which hurt the Conservatives and the NDP. Just recently, the Conservatives in turn who are masters of small donations, capped campaign contributions at around $1k per person, which hurt the donation base of the Liberal Party (which relied on rich folks). It's funny, how two political parties that want to ruin one another financially pretty much worked to limit lobbyist money influence by the end of it all.

The same is not occuring in America, since both parties are complicit in accepting corporate donations, and wouldn't dare enact campaign finance laws.

Thus, naturally, a third party would be best suited to work towards these reforms. Why? Because they want more power, and they can do that by limiting how much money rival parties, such as the Dems and the GOP, can fund-raise by limiting who can donate and/or how much an individual can donate.

I mean, here's the way I see it: rivalry and competition is a great check on power and undue influence. I think the Canadian example was a good one to illustrate this.

[-] 1 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 11 years ago

agreed. we need anybody but dems and republicans. tho we should avoid socialists, libertarians, communists, also...

to get serious requires a few things they don't have. like chat admins who aren't ego serving propaganda tools, a wiki, 1001 sub forums, an actual game plan, a straight up political platform... you know.. basic organizational things sane people do BEFORE protesting.. like figure out a diplomacy and logic centered metaprocess to give their chatadmins so that they don't really just drive out even more people than the trolls. Adminatrolla. trollaAdmin. Whats the difference to somebody whos got the truth facing a propaganda tool abusing admin powers to push their agenda? how can you prevent such a thing? Metaprocess. did i mention metaprocess? and science diplomacy science psychology science sociology and all those textbooks to read B4 protesting?

you can't have capitalism without a free(SLAVE) market. but you can have a free market without capitalism. And thats strangely the only way it CAN work.

Marketing 101 was fascinating. I admit thats a lot less than a bachelors but its sure more than enough to see whats really going on given the other things I know. Capitalism is not the problem since it does not exist. corporate oligarchy is the problem. capitalism has never been tried. I am a democracy guy. in order for real democracy to function a free market system is required. Thats not capitalism. thats a free market system. there is a subtle difference there which most people would miss. I will again repeat. Neither capitalism nor marxism nor communism nor socialism has ever existed. All of those governments were oligarchy pretending to be something as a con scam. Telling that simple truth gets one banned out of the Chat by either a capitalist or a socialist whos pissed you just said their pet ideology isn't real. It isn't. anybody who thinks that it is is accidentally playing for team corporate oligarchy as a tool. the ONLY system worth talking about is DEMOCRACY. how democracy HANDLES a FREE MARKET system is dynamic and interesting and NOT capitalism.

o. yes. no. yes. what? making change is not reliant on changing the money system one tenth as much as it is on changing the informational ecology. Going to a gold standard as an idea is a proof of ignorance, not a solution. Really the end game is we evolve out of money. To do that we evolve first new currencies and new economic strategies. this leads to economic singularity in about 50 years. If everyone is a millionaire how much you get depends on exactly the material valuation of that money. Which is to say that by the time money becomes obsolete everyone will live like the current millionaire. Tangible items to other tangible items? the real economy is about ideas, change the ideas and everything changes. the problem with the tangible economy is it does not change; its a static reality. you can't make a meaningful gold standard with only enough gold to represent on millionth of the economy. You can make a purely imaginal money system work; but it has to be subject to moral and ethical laws. This is about pinning down those moral and ethical laws and implementing them in new currencies; not trying to imagine a control freak impossible non solution because of the simplicity with which you go about thinking over the problem.

once again. there has never been a socialist or capitalist economy. in all instances such nations were oligarchies. using a mask and a con scam and telling their dupes and pwns that they were something other than oligarchy. the big hump to get over is that the USA oligarchy and the Soviet oligarchy are in on this lie against the rest of us TOGETHER. Neither of them was ever anything other than an oligarchy. both claimed some other system in order to have US fight over the ideals of THAT system while they secretly shafted us all playing a completely different game.



[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

I'll be honest. I'm a liberal capitalist sort of fellow. You could peg me as a center-right democrat, but who favors universal healthcare. I may not agree with socialists, or even libertarians, but to exclude them from the political process is something I can't agree with at the end of the day.

[-] 0 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 11 years ago

you have a choice. you can either be for and with an ideology mindcrime double think nonsense ignorance team sport divide and conquer flavor of Corporat oligarchy chit ice cream- or you can have genuine democracy and a genuine free market. make up your mind. "liberal" ? inhabiting that word is just inhabiting the polarity and being the pwn color. Capitalism? does not exist and never has. Its time to exclude the evil con scammers and liars from politics- long since over due. The very fact that you could self define yourself as being in those camps is proof of this- they have your mind in a cage. break free.

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

Please lets talk about the merits of "A pledge to vote anything but republican or democrat" instead of the merits of my own ideological leanings.

[-] 1 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 11 years ago

simply put, we must join together in unity against all of the above. We can play team sport corporate oligarchy dupe pwn chess, or we can escape. The only way out is for dems to give up voting dem, republicans to give up voting republican, and all those other isms to lose their following as well. I'm not asking you or anyone to give up your basic pov or to stop workign in general in that direction, but its time we went for hard science and knowledge and facts instead of ideology. Its impossible to be correct for any of us... as pwns of the corporate oligarchy chess dupe pwn game. all of those flavors of oligarchy chit ice cream are equally bad for us, no matter how much we like our own flavor- we all have to find unity and solidarity in this.

[-] 1 points by publicus1 (125) 11 years ago

I like this idea as well but we have to be careful about staying apolitical.

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

I think non-compete agreements, which are often done in places like Canada, Australia, and the UK between parties would be a good way to go about it. That way, you can remain political, but your opinions won't sway an election in a certain district.

I mean, third parties can agree that the Libertarians can do the best in a place like Texas, while Liberals could do best in a place like NYC. Perhaps the Greens would do the best somewhere in Oregon or Washington State. Sorry about the blatant political stereotyping, but you catch my drift, ya?

In the elections that come after, this non-compete agreement would be gone.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 11 years ago

most democratic systems have multiple political parties

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

Yep, and I think it's high time we told these guys to fuck off and make way for multiplicity.

[-] 1 points by FuManchu (619) 11 years ago

The question is how do you make sure this third party isn't just as corrupt?

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

I wrote this to illustrate my point regarding this concern:

"Also, for another point, lets assume the House of Reps gains enough representatives, a sizable amount, from other parties. Libertarians, Liberals, Greens, and maybe even a Pirate. Each party now has to compete with all the other parties in the House in order to gain recognition, power, and etc. This competition forces each party to keep the other parties in check, and as such serves as a check on power that currently does not exist. The more parties in the House of Reps, then the more parties you have looking into other parties to oust corrupt members."

[-] 1 points by FuManchu (619) 11 years ago

Isn't that what we already have? The repubs and the dems are supposed to keep each other in check. They all just got bought over. I can see what you are trying to say here but I'm not sure how we would implement the system in practice.

[-] 1 points by Isvara (16) 11 years ago

You simply start a movement to vote for any party that isn't Republican nor Democrat. Get as many folks as you can to get behind a party that they identify with that isn't GOP or Dem.

The only way to implement this system is to change voter perception of third parties.