We know all about the voting option. Or at least we know about what the Two Corporate / Legacy Party System wants us to know, and lots of people make the necessary extra efforts to know more, including about other parties. There’s a group of citizens / voters who are taking a different tactic. Boycott the 2012 Presidential Election describes itself as “Election Resistance for the Defiant Citizen.”
“Resistance” is something that, quite frankly, we don’t see much of from We the Electorate. While there are, of course, good numbers who are engaged, informed voters, the “defiance” is generally limited to whichever side of the Duopoly we oppose.
I listened this morning to a report from Travis County, Texas, where Austin is located. It was the kind of story you hear from lots of places this close to an election, one lamenting the low voter turn-out that characterizes our elections in general. In this case, the report included the fact that Austin actually has a population strongly engaged in civic and political actions. But those actions don’t result in a comparable high voter turn-out.
Every time I hear this kind of story, I wait for someone to focus on the System at least as much as the voters. That seldom happens. Bits and pieces of the System will be mentioned, maybe criticized. But the idea that low voter turn-out is linked to a skewed and gamed System isn’t a part of the story.
It’s this System that motivates ‘Boycott the 2012 Presidential Election.’ Others apply other ideas: “third” party; work from within the Democratic or Republican party to make changes; vote down-ticket only, vote only in races that include a candidate you feel you can support, write-in, etc. The Boycott group is focused on the presidential election, and explains:
A Presidential Boycott is the organized boycotting of the ‘election’ of the POTUS by collectively abstaining from voting.
Presidential Boycotting used in this way is a form of political protest where voters have determined that the electoral system is fraudulent and that the polity organizing the election lacks legitimacy. …
The 2012 Call to Boycott the Presidential Election includes not just simple refrain from voting on Election Day but also calls for a collection of DIRECT ACTIONS … .
The Call to Boycott the Presidential Election is an expression of outrage and systemic rejection and is not an indicator of apathy or defeat. It is a strong, collective act of resistance.
In the Why Boycott the 2012 Presidential Election? section, the emphasis is on the action being “against a system,” on a “corrupt and broken” government, on boycotting as a way to “withhold our consent”
… to have our leaders chosen for us by an Electoral College system that is defunct; to be governed by leaders that are being purchased by silent corporate donors via SuperPACs …; to lend legitimacy through our votes to any of these defective systems. We do this not out of any sense of futility, apathy or lethargic disinterest. We boycott out of outrage, and we do it actively. We are vocal, we are visible, we are informed. …
Those who are willing to vote in rigged elections have no leverage with which to demand honest elections. Why should the government give you more if you’re willing to settle for less?
There’s also a section on Boycotting vs. Third Party Voting or Write-In.
‘The problem with voting for a Third Party is that it legitimizes the two-party system by falsely pretending that there are viable choices beyond the Dems and the Reps. …’ -Election Boycotter Ted Rall.
In the same section:
(Terri Lee) There is no way to alter this structure – which is the core of the problem – from within the voting booth no matter what you do in there. …
(Glen Ford) ‘We see you and we know full well what you’re doing and what you’re about. We refuse to be props in your electoral theater sham.’
There are, of course, other strategies to address the same System concerns. I’ve written about and cited the work of one of those, Fair Vote, multiple times. One primary focus of their work is the National Popular Vote initiative.
Everyone’s vote should be equal when electing the president. Our current Electoral College system … leads presidential candidates to concentrate their resources on voters in a handful of swing states, relegating the vast majority of the country to spectator status. FairVote advocates for direct election of the president … .
The National Popular Vote plan (NPV) is a state-level statute in the form of an interstate compact. It would use the states’ powers over the allocation of their presidential electors to award those electors to the winner of the national popular vote, making every vote for president equal.
It’s a very big, multifaceted, and long-term task, seeking to fundamentally change the Duopoly’s campaign and election We Always Win System. Different ideas and strategies are needed, and it’s at least somewhat hopeful to see them growing. At the very least, maybe the efforts can provide some education. Whether the idea of boycotting the presidential election works for you or not, a critical, open-to-change look at the System seems like a good idea for all of us. From Boycott the 2012 Presidential Election:
They need us to believe in their illusion of choice, so that we feel empowered and want to participate. They need us to believe in their illusion of differences, so that we feel represented. They need us to believe in their illusion of fears, so that we dread consequences for not validating them.