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Make your vote count. Vote third party

(Credit: Politirazzi)

Libertarian Pary presidential candidate Bob Barr

By Jeff Akston

Barack Obama is going to be the next president of the United States. Further, I think it will be tough for McCain too make Tuesday night even remotely interesting. Both 538.com and electoral-vote.com predict Obama getting over 350 electoral votes. Even intrade.com, which has been more bullish on McCain this entire election, has Obama with over 360 electoral votes.

It's going to be a very early night. We'll know by 9 p.m. since the polls in Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia all close at 9 EST. My unscientific research (i.e. my memory) has found that polls typically overstate Democratic votes, so I think the electoral vote will end up somewhere around 338 for Obama and 200 for McCain (with Obama winning swing states Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia and McCain winning Indiana and North Carolina.

I will be voting for Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of Barr. He's not run a very passionate campaign. He doesn't support many of the core Libertarian principles, and he doesn't make a very convincing case for those which he supposedly does support. The reason I'm voting for him, however, is to increase the Libertarian vote total and its profile.

To those who say I'm “wasting” my vote, so are you. Anyone in New York is “wasting” their vote since they aren't impacting the outcome. Obama is going to win 70-80 percent of the vote in New York. It's pointless to vote.In fact, I'd recommend people who plan on voting for Obama or McCain to vote third party instead since it will make the margin more influential. The masses are calling this “the most important election of our lifetimes!” (again). I don't see how that is. There really isn't much difference between McCain and Obama from a policy perspective. If you were to vote for the Libertarian, Green, Constitution or (if you really like redistribution of wealth) American Socialist parties, you would be strengthening parties with a truly different message. The more votes those parties get, the louder their voices will be in future elections. While they aren't going to win, with louder voices and more money, they can influence the narrative of future campaigns and force the major parties to adopt major parts of their platform.

Were I forced to pick between Obama and McCain, I would choose Obama. I would typically identify myself closer to the Republican candidate, but I see Obama as the better choice this year, more due to McCain's failings than anything else.

Sarah Palin (AP)

The Sarah Palin choice was an abomination. She's clearly way over her head in national politics. Even basic vetting would have uncovered this. Either she wasn't vetted or the McCain team just didn't care about her ignorance. Either case is unacceptable. Their only choice was to hide her from the public, and if you saw the Katie Couric or Charles Gibson interviews you know why.

The lure of Republicans has been reigning in government spending. But it's more of a myth. The difference between the Obama and McCain economic plans are about $100B in spending in 2013. Since the federal budget will be well over $3 trillion by that time, the difference between the “socialist” Obama and “small government” McCain is about 3 percent of the budget. It's a sadly negligible difference.

I really disliked the tone of the McCain campaign. Their core message was fear or Obama rather than promotion of McCain. Fear of his presidency resulting in a flood of terrorist attacks. Fear of the United States becoming a socialist nation thanks to Obama's redistributive tax code. Fear of Obama's “anti-American” allies. A major turning point for me was Guiliani's keynote address during the Republican National Convention.

The George W. Bush foreign policy has been an unqualified failure. While I don't want France or Sweden picking our president, it hurts American interests abroad when so many view America as a “force of evil.” Obama's diplomacy would go a long way in beginning to heal many of those broken relationships and ill will.

More than anything else, I want the Republicans to lose and lose badly. When the Democrats hold a dominant majority in both houses of Congress as well as a liberal president, a lot of policies will pass that make many conservatives throw up in their mouths. The G.W. Bush wing of the party is going to erroneously think that they will lose this election because they “weren't conservative enough.” I think it's because they have pandered so much to the anti-everything religious crowd that demonizes anyone who is different. Conservative economic principles have proven to win elections time after time. As long as Republicans promote divisions with an “us vs. them” mentality in terms of gay rights, drug policy, terrorism, foreign relations, religion, the list goes on ... they will continue to get their butts handed to them.

If the Republicans continue to get less popular using these tactics, it's more likely they will stop and pivot more towards being Republicans via economic conservatism and less towards being Republicans via right-wing social divisions and fear.

Tags: bob barr , third-party candidates , sarah palin , barack obama , national budget , green party , jeff akston , third-party politics

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