I direct this post specifically at those individuals saying they intend to vote for a Romney presidency either primarily to defeat Obama or for those who cannot cite any valid, unequivocal reasons that they have any cause other than an Obama defeat as their primary purpose. This includes those of you that say trite little phrases like ‘a vote for a third party is a vote for Obama‘ or that call people names for considering a third party vote without making any valid arguments other than an alleged Obama win as cause for not doing so.
The Three Imperatives
So let us say for a second that you are right. Or at least that your claim has validity to it. What you are saying carries with it a couple of imperative premises. Imperative, for any unfamiliar with the term, means ‘absolutely necessary or required; unavoidable‘. This means that the claim that a ‘vote for a third party is a vote for Obama’ requires that certain things be true or at least highly likely. There are three specifically that I would like to point out first.
If you are saying that a vote for a third party is a ‘vote for Obama’ than it is not simply an implication, it is an imperative that you think such a vote would otherwise have been a vote of support for the most likely candidate ‘other’ than Obama. In our current two-party system, this means the Republican candidate whom this time around happens to be Mitt. In other words, by making your assertion, you are saying that support for third party candidates (such as Gary Johnson) are going to, or at least more likely going to come from what otherwise would be a likely Republican base. (again, this is not an assumption, it is an imperative based on that claim)
If you can’t cite worthwhile reasons to vote ‘for’ Romney – or worse, you admit fully that your support of Mitt is primarily based upon a desire to ‘defeat Obama’, then there is also an imperative in that line of reasoning. That being, you assume 4 more years of Obama will be very bad, will damage the country, will do harm to the country’s future, etc. You are in essence saying that anyone who supports ideas similar to yours would be foolish and self-defeating to do anything that might help Obama have more years in office.
Finally, the third imperative in this statement is related to the likelihood of Obama winning. If Obama was perceived by all to be as awful as you claim he is, to be doing as much potential damage as you say, and if the Republican alternative is that much more superior, then people should be voting for Romney by default anyway. The election should be an open-shut Romney landslide.
But to say that third party votes will so damage Romney’s chance of winning that it will ensure an Obama win requires another thing to be true: Romney does not inspire nearly enough enthusiastic support as would be required for a landslide Obama defeat. Or in other words, Obama’s chances to win are pretty good despite your claims that his presidency is so horrible.
A Reasonable and Likely Assumption
Another implication that is not quite to the level of an outright imperative, but which seems to be suggested by the existence of those three imperatives is those supporting Obama are either too stupid to know better (in significant enough numbers to still give him a good chance of victory based on the third imperative above) or, more likely, Obama is a slick politician who is very good at using politics, manipulation, corruption, deception and whatever other means he can utilize to get himself support. And even if your worry is simply that the main stream media’s biases will simply support and promote the democratic candidate to make up for such short comings, the same reasoning below still applies, only to the media machine instead of the Obama campaign staff.
Although I am sure anyone that fits my description in the first paragraph probably considers the former to also apply, any with any integrity will also admit that they think the latter is also something they believe or assert as a truism for our current President. Based on this assumption and corresponding evaluation of Obama as a very slick political opportunist, this brings me to the purpose of this posting.
If Your Assertion is Correct, Watch Obama!
If what you say is in fact true, that a third party vote (for someone like Johnson) is in fact a vote to get Obama re-elected, then it stands to reason that getting more people to support Johnson (and therefore ‘not’ support Romney by your own reasoning) is in Obama’s own interest. If in fact it is correct that Obama is an unscrupulous, political opportunist then he and his campaign/handlers will use whatever means he can to improve his chances of being elected. In short, if your assertion is correct, then if Johnson continues polling in states above 10% (such as he recently did in his home state of New Mexico) such as to make him more a more significant alternative than most third party efforts, then it is in the Obama campaign’s best interest to help him get to 15% to get him into the debates so more people will see him and (by your reasoning), more Romney voters will filter off to Johnson.
So, watch Obama. If Gary continues to show increases in the polls, and your assertions hold any validity to them at all, then Obama should start finding ways to get more attention on the Libertarian candidate. If not, then you are as full of crap as your assertion that anything other than a ‘vote for Obama’ is a vote for Obama.