It’s election season again; that time when we are all asked to go to the polls and pick one of two people to be the next president.
Right about there is where someone will inevitably stop you and point out that there are actually other candidates, before delving into the problems of the duopoly that controls political power in America.
While I don’t disagree that we don’t pay enough attention to the third parties running in this race, I’m also not that concerned about it either because both of the major third parties vying for attention are pretty terrible.
First, we have Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. As proven by his history governing New Mexico, he definitely knows how to win elections and how to govern. I may disagree with this underlying ideology, which I’ve gone into many times (Insert links to past articles) which is my primary beef with the Libertarian party in general, and Gary Johnson specifically. However on top of that, there’s the sloppy campaign, with it’s juvenile tagline of “Feel the Johnson” and it’s commercial that despite being held up as outstanding by his supporters, is actually pretty lackluster by any objective measure.
But I’ve gone into what’s wrong with libertarianism and the Libertarian Party many times before. It’s time I turn my criticism inward and take a look at my side. And having done so, all I can say is that Jill Stein is possibly the worst candidate in race this election. She’s Trump-lite, proposing policy ideas that I largely agree with.
Before addressing the problems with Stein, lets look at the Green Party itself, particularly, their party platform.
Right off the bat, in the preamble to their platform they claim that they have “real solutions to real problems” setting up the anti-science tendencies they’ve recently become criticized for.
One of these “real solutions” is an inane plan to shift over to 100% renewable energy without using nuclear in response to our very dirty current systems.
Now, Oil, Coal, Gas, etc… are very dirty ways of meeting our energy needs, and I absolutely think that pushing for more renewables, even to the extent that we advocate for 100% renewable energy to meet our needs is a worthy goal.
However, I also don’t think that reaching 100% renewable power sources to meet those goals is something that the science sees as viable today. Something like that is what I would consider a Moon Shot. A lofty goal that is going to require a lot of innovation and a good amount of patience too. Where it gets tricky is that the problem we face is very real, and requires immediate action, whether it’s shifting away from coal and oil and relying more on natural gas, or even using what is probably the safest form of energy generation we’ve ever devised: nuclear.
Nuclear energy is safe as can be, having done significantly less damage to the environment as cola has. Yes there are some high profile incidents, but those are the exceptions that prove that Nuclear is about as safe as it gets when we look to figure out how to supply our massive power needs.
In many ways, the Green Party has given voice to a faction of left wing science deniers who had long been lacking any kind of voice. While I may be a lefty myself, I’m also a man of science, and I vehemently oppose science denial no matter where it comes from.
In the last few weeks, it’s emerged that Stein is either pandering to the anti-science left by indulging their unfounded fears about things such as GMOs, vaccines, and even wi-fi are somehow dangerous despite the overwhelming body of scientific evidence pointing out that if any of those do any harm, it’s negligible.
Moving beyond the anti-science concerns, there also seems to be a shared vision from both major third parties of a world in where the US can simply stop using any kind of military might in all but the most dire of circumstances.
On paper, it looks like a great idea, and in a perfect world it would be a viable option, however, we live in a very messy world, where simply withdrawing from the conflicts we’ve gotten mixed up in would serve to make things worse.
I’m as anti-war as the next guy, up to a point, and that point is when we actually use our military might. Way I see it, once we go into a country to wage war, we have a moral obligation to leave that country as good, if not better than it was when we went in.
We waged proxy wars in places like Afghanistan for decades. Sometimes we thought we were being sly and sneaky, and that the locals wouldn’t realize were mettling in their affairs. Other times, like Vietnam, our actions were more overt.
Either way, if we leave people with nothing more than the wreckage of a country, they will not be pleased, and when left to simmer after being used by us, they eventually get mad enough to lash out, and that’s one way that we get terrorists attacking us at home and abroad.
While everything mentioned above is important, from a policy perspective, I think my biggest problem comes down to the message they are running on. And for both of our third parties, it seems more predicated on how awful the other guys are, or how unfair the system is. In other words, it’s a campaign built on cynicism.
And therein lies my core issue; yes, I do want a viable third party to come along, however, I want a third party to wow me with their ideas, and not expect that I vote for them simply because they aren’t one of the two parties currently in power.
After all, I’m disappointed with the duopoly because they’re not offering up appealing ideas. Why should I jump on another party’s bandwagon if they also can’t offer up any appealing ideas?