Friday, October 22, 2004

On November 2nd, I am going to do something that I have never done before. Twenty years after my first vote in a national election, I am going to vote for a third party candidate. I have never given much credence to third party candidates. They are often single issue candidates, and they usually don't amount to much once the votes are counted. Of the ones who do have an effect, the majority serve only as spoilers. My first inclination is usually to dismiss a third party candidate as either a zealot for whatever cause they are espousing, or a hopeless megalomaniac (Ross Perot and Ralph Nader come to mind).

A few years ago, I tried to talk a friend out of voting for the Right to Life Party candidate for Senator. My argument centered around the fact that the RTL candidate didn't have a prayer, and that even though the GOP candidate was relatively liberal, he was a damn sight better than his opponent. As it turned out, the RTL candidate lost, the GOP candidate lost, and my state wound up with the most liberal senator it has ever had.

Living here in the great(?) state of New York, I'm "fortunate" enough to be represented in the US Senate by two of the most liberal politicians in the country: Hillary "let's nationalize health care" Clinton and Charles "never met a gun he didn't want to ban" Schumer. This year Schumer is up for reelection, and I don't forsee New Yorkers ridding themselves of him this time around. Senator Chuckie is running an aggressive television campaign. He is taking credit for everything from new airline service in the upstate region to the morning sunrise. A few minutes ago, Chuckie was on TV promising to make medicines less expensive.

The GOP's candidate is Howard Mills. The only reason I know this is because I have heard his name mentioned in a Marilyn O'Grady campaign commercial. O'Grady is the Conservative Party candidate for US Senate. While not as ubiquitous as Schumer's commercials, O'Grady's commercials air frequently on local TV. As for Mills, I have not seen one TV commercial, heard one radio commercial, or even seen a flier from his campaign. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. If there have been any, I haven't seen 'em.

While I don't believe that O'Grady has much of a chance of winning, I'm going to vote for her anyway. The New York GOP's sorry performance in this election has me pissed. I am not going to reward this lazy-ass attitude with my vote. Mills may have what it takes to be a great Senator, but he's not playing to win. If the GOP wants to make inroads into traditionally Democratic states, they're going to have to make their case to the voters. That'll require actual effort. Just showing up is not enough.

This year I'm going to "throw away" my vote on a third party candidate. If enough people do the same, maybe the GOP in NY will wake up and smell the donkey shit. It's time to grab a shovel and get to work.

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