This week's debate takes on the topic of third-parties.

Don from Present Discontent and the Conservative Hideout 2.0, goes once again (after last week's opponent disappeared), and Scratcher of Makes My Brain Itch takes him on!

The debate is moderated by Steve from

See Question 1 here: Conservative Blogger Debate: Third-Party?

Question 2:

Is a third-party vote “wasted?”

If so, how? If not, why?

Blogger Debate Series Continued – Third Party Viability question 2

The simple answer to that question is, “No, a vote that is cast is never wasted.” To vote is to speak your conscience, to announce your choice for the candidate you want to represent you in public office. So in the purest sense, a vote cast is never a vote wasted, even if cast on a candidate you are sure won’t win; third party or no.

Now if the question presented were to ask, “Is a vote for a third party what is needed to, A. send a message to D.C. and B. the way to get our country back on track to the principles and concepts of our founding?” In that case the answer would be a resounding “No!” Why you ask? The answer lies in what the electorate wishes to accomplish. Change of ‘regime,’ be it Democrat OR Republican; or more specifically, change of ideology in either party can only come about via infiltration and usurpation of said party. You cannot effect change by presenting a third party. You can go on all day how the Republicans blew it after they took power in the ‘90s, and I will not argue with you on that point. They did blow it, big time. At first, they were gang busters, presenting America with a balanced budget four years in a row, but in due time, the temptations of power caught up with them. But is the answer to this really the development of a new political party? Even a viable third party would only offer that a new kid on the block, once in power would succumb to the temptations and vices that both the Democrats and Republicans have in the past.

That being said, we are left with two options:

  1. Conservatives need to take back control of the GOP
  2. We, the Conservative electorate need to remain vigilant and hold our party to the highest standards and keep them on track to the road of smaller government and more individual liberties

This is by far, the hardest path to carve in today’s political landscape, but as my Dad once told me, doing the right thing is rarely the easy thing. It is much easier to sit back and take the populist route by spouting third party rhetoric and trying to capture the energy of the Tea Party Movement that is present in America right now, bending it to your will.

Lastly let me say that if people want third party choices, then let those choices be in the primaries. For then you don’t have to worry about splitting the vote and this might be the only viable way a third party could work in this country. A healthy, robust primary race with Republican and third party candidates could put a fine point on the message we need to send to D.C. Mounting a third party in the general presidential election would only serve to spell disaster for the conservative movement in America.

Make sure you go read the whole post. Before offering my opinion, let's take a look at Scratcher's response.

Conservative Blogger Debate - Is A Third Party Vote A Wasted Vote?

[Don] makes sense. In a sane world, it might work. But in what time frame? Realistically, we can only be thankful right now that the progressives haven't been able to force their agenda of change on the schedule they'd hoped to. A bottom-up infiltration of an unwilling and aware entity could take decades... if it succeeds at all. And if I may speak just for myself, I don't care if we ever change the ideology of the party. Party means little to me, personality and principle mean much more. Just bring me better candidates.

The trouble with NY-23 wasn't knowledgeable voters resisting a RINO liberal and breaking for the third party candidate. The problem was an arrogant Republican Party that ignored those voters, then sent Newt Gingrich to tell the common folk what was best for them. Had the Republican establishment thrown their support behind the popular and desired conservative candidate, Hoffman and the GOP would have both won - as would the voters.

I guess if you want to believe in changing the Party, a third party vote may seem like a waste. But if you're like me and believe the Party can't - or rather won't - be changed, then a third party may be the only way to go. It's got to come down to what you want to stand for come election day...

I, for one, have grown weary of choosing the lesser evil. Or the evil lesser, whichever the case may be.

I'm going to vote for the person I think is best for the job, and never mind the Party choices. Will it reform the Republicans? I doubt it. But if they lose enough elections due to independent-minded conservatives like myself breaking for the third party, perhaps they'll start looking for more appropriate candidates. Sadly, I think losing more elections - or the threat of such - might be a more effective goad toward change than trying to work our way in and change them from the ground up.

My thoughts ...

Right now, the Republican Party is the most viable option to "win," but it's what we win that truly matters, not the party itself. If conservatives rally around a progressive like Mitt Romney, as they did with George W. Bush, and hesitatingly so with John McCain, even if they "win" ... in reality they've lost.

What happens to the conservative movement if it keeps backing Big Government so-called "conservatives?" It dies.

Politics has to be about each individual politician. Party membership too often blinds people to the reality of the actual legislation that gets passed. There's no such thing as a conservative form of progressivism.

Look. There is simply no historical evidence that proves the Republican Party wishes to limit government. In truth, the federal leviathan grows under Republican and Democratic administrations alike. And sorry, but if you think they've suddenly changed, you're just fooling yourself.

Vote your conscience. No matter what that means. If it means supporting a third-party candidate, then so be it. Because the lesser evil is still evil.

Blogger Debate Series Continued – Third Party Viability question 2 rebuttal

Okay, if you only want to look at this topic via what it means to you, personally then yes; I agree with scratcher. Voting for a third party is what you need to do; which goes to the original point I made that a vote cast is not a vote wasted. But does that vote cast do anything to keep the liberal statists from advancing their agenda? It isn’t just that you vote for a third party, it is what your vote does to aid the opposition.

Wow. Obamacare, Cap and Tax, Card Check, Amnesty for Illegals – I can only ask, does anyone think that we can afford to lose enough elections due to independent-minded conservatives voting for third party candidates to force a change in the GOP that way? Personally, I don’t want to take that chance.

Well ... Lindsey Graham and John McCain support Cap and Tax and Amnesty for Illegals, then there's RomneyCare, and Bush's Head First and Prescription drugs ...

The bottom-line is that Republican does not equal conservateve. Therefore, a Republican win doesn't necessarily mean all of the above are off the table. So in times like these, it's ever more vital that people vote their conscience (and yes, make the primary fights brutal too).

  • Don

    I understand what you are saying, but if a third party fractures the conservative vote, the Democrats will win - every time. What you need to ask yourself is are the likes of John McCain, Mitt Romney, etc... better or worse than Obama, Reid and Pelosi? It is true that they sometimes do things no real conservative would do, but they are followers. So if libs are in power, they follow the libs. If conservatives are in power, then they follow the conservatives.

    • theCL

      Honestly, I see John McCain and Mitt Romney (and even GWB) as virtually the same as Obama. Romney did socialized health care, McCain wants so many left-wing things it's a waste of time to list them all, GWB nationalized schools, prescription drugs, banks, stimulus, TARP, etc.

      I mean, if you ask me, the end of Bush's last term looked like it was carefully coordinated to usher in the era of Obama. Bush laid all the groundwork for what's going on today.

      You're either limiting, thus reducing, the size of government, or you're not a conservative in my mind. I'm old school. I never learned to love the State.