Trying to figure out the calculus here

Trying to figure out the calculus here October 3, 2012

I’ve been continually instructed that when I urge people to vote their conscience and not be slaves to the party system, I am effectively urging them to cast their vote for Obama since, as I am constantly told, a vote for a third party is *really* a vote for Obama because it’s not a vote Romney, whom we must all serve and obey.  I’ve been as resistant to the right wing idea that our job as citizens is to serve the party as I am to the left wing idea that our job as citizens is to serve the state.  I have this crazy old-fashioned notion that Americans should recover the pre-Servile State idea that both party and state exist to serve us and that an election campaign is a job interview and we, not the candidates, are the boss.

This has been roundly denounced, of course, and appeals to “the math” keep coming up.  “The math” somehow is supposed to show that a vote for Candidate C is not really a vote for Candidate C, but a minus vote for Candidate R and a plus vote for Candidate O.

Imagine my confusion then, when one of my readers wrote me today saying:

I would say this, as someone who supported Obama over Hillary in 2008, that he ran against our deadly escapades in the Middle East, torture and was one of the few who voted against the Iraq War ten years ago.  That was my primary driver in voting for the man.  Since his election he has doubled down on these failed policies, and added a few deadly, precedent setting wrinkles of his own.   It is why I will be voting for Gary Johnson in November.

So, is this guy still *really* voting for Obama? Or is he minus voting for Obama and plus voting for Romney?  Or could it just be that there is no such thing as voting against anybody and only such a thing as voting for somebody–in this case, Johnson?  What if, mirabile dictu, a whole lot of people were to think like this guy and vote their conscience and not simply be stampeded by the magic word “viable”?  What if people realized that “viability” depends entirely on what we choose as the bosses in the hiring process, and not on what some statistician commands us to believe about the future?  Suppose we voted as though we were in charge of the process and not working for the party or the state?

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