Workin’ on the goat farm

People seem to expect me to regret having voted for Kinky now that Perry is back in office. “Wouldn’t you have preferred at least someone other than Perry?” they ask.

Well, yes. I’d have preferred Kinky Friedman.

Between the smugly indifferent Perry, the indignant fratboy Bell, and the sour-grapes “tough grandma” nobody really wants to go visit, there simply wasn’t a candidate even worth a compromise.

I get this kind of question mainly from what I call “strategic voters,” these people who endorse the bizarre practice of voting for a candidate other than their favorite in an effort to depose a widely-despised incumbent. But their strategic voting is a policy of failure and a crippling social disease. It robs the favorite candidate of crucial votes required to win, thereby helping to secure a loss. And if everyone voted this way, we’d have no way of knowing who everyone’s favorite candidate actually was. We’d be deliberately electing everyone’s second choice instead.

This kind of nonsense is what we should be voting out, but my guess is that people are opting to vote it in under the misguided impression that voting it out could never win.

If it’s concentrated voting power we need, then we need to beat it into the national discourse that the only votes wasted are those pre-emptively cast for second choices. As it is, the dominant political parties are beating it in that people’s votes are wasted right off the bat, and that the only way to get even a shred of what anyone wants is to vote for one of the parties they — the parties themselves — declare to be the frontrunners.

This might play well with the original-sin types at church, but in a democracy, this is horse-shit. A candidate who can’t win without another candidate’s votes doesn’t deserve to win at all.

People should be outraged when this kind of intimidation is used as a campaign tactic. No massive, cumbersome political party with vague ideals has any right to declare my vote or anyone else’s vote “wasted.” Fall for what propaganda you will, but the people of this country should refuse to be demoralized into voting under any circumstances.

Bell can’t garner enough support to win the election? Maybe he shouldn’t have been filling a blank on the ballot in the first place. Do we really want a governor who was only elected because he was the only existing alternative? Where would Kinky be if the Democrats hadn’t been able to scramble a flimsy placeholder in time?

Thanks to the dominant two-party system (of which I’m well aware, thank you), we will of course never know. The essential lameness is that the Democrats have to run someone, and straight-ticket Democrats need someone to blindly endorse.

If there’s any blame to be assigned for the outcome of the 2006 Texan gubernatorial election, it’s with the parties and candidates themselves.

But I have no sympathy for anyone who voted for any candidate other than their favorite.

It’s not Kinky’s fault that Perry has been re-elected. That determination has been made by the voters… fraud notwithstanding. The losing candidates who look at Kinky’s tally and wish they had it for themselves should be advised: those votes were never yours to begin with.

I’m no more heartbroken that Perry is back in office than I would’ve been if the election had been won by any other candidate besides Kinky. As far as I’m concerned, all but Kinky were equally bad for Texas. They’re all spineless, self-serving, and so far detached from what really goes on with the people of this state that one disastrous project’s cuts would only have opened funding for another.

I’m proud to have voted for Kinky. I’m proud to have made a selection as an informed and empowered member of our society, and to have voted according to my principles, beliefs, and ideals.

But now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to apply for work on Kinky’s goat farm.

3 Responses to “Workin’ on the goat farm”

  1. Brian King Says:

    Why not Instant Runoff Voting?

    Perhaps it would give 3rd parties more of a chance.

  2. Rick Says:

    screw IRV. Condorcet is the way to go.

  3. John Says:

    I don’t think a *more complicated* ballot-counting system is going to solve our problems until we can accurately count the votes we’re already casting.