How Voting Perpetuates Evil

For many years Americans have justified voting for candidates they were not especially thrilled with by convincing themselves that the lesser evil deserved to win office.  The fraction of people totally committed to one of the two major parties is small.  Most Americans see themselves as independents, liberals, conservatives, progressives or libertarians, but not as loyal Democrats or Republicans.  Most Americans are fed up with both major parties, not just incumbents.

But this year’s mid-term elections will once again result in only Democratic or Republican candidates winning.  Other than staying home and not voting, nearly all voters will employ the lesser-evil justification.  Just one problem: That lesser-evil strategy has resulted in the dismal state of the nation that angers most Americans.

The only logical conclusion is that lesser-evil voting perpetuates all the cancerous evil plaguing the political system.  This should not surprise anyone.  Regardless of party affiliation, major party candidates convincingly lie to voters and the tons of money poured into politics create a mass propaganda machine from both parties that deceives voters.

Lesser-evil voting sometimes works in favor of Democrats and sometimes favors Republicans.  Negative advertising creates fear of some candidates and media pundits and celebrities use their considerable power to give voters reasons to vote for or against candidates.  The thirst for true reforms of government persists, as evidenced by the Tea Party movement and even the election of President Obama.  It is the force that moves the pendulum from one party to the other.

When will Americans wake up and realize that lesser evil still means evil?  Least bad still means bad.  Least corrupt still means corrupt.  Least dishonest still means dishonest.  Least stupid still means stupid.

But many people despairingly see no other option if they want to fulfill their civic responsibility and participate in elections.  That is because the two major parties have given Americans no real options.  They like the lesser-evil system that sustains the two-party plutocracy.  Only voters in Nevada can choose the “none of the above” option.  The rest of us can stay home or vote for third party candidates that stand no real chance of winning.  What to do?

Stop deluding yourself that any Democrat or Republican in Congress or the White House will actually do absolutely everything, even if it means not winning reelection, to reform the corrupt, dysfunctional, wasteful government system being controlled by wealthy people and corporate interests, and devastating ordinary Americans.

Your lesser-evil vote perpetuates evil.  Do you want to live with that?

Accept the ugly reality that voting within the electoral system is no longer capable of reforming and fixing our government.  Is that it?  Is there nothing else to do in our constitutional republic?  Actually, there is something else.  The Founders put an alternative path to reform in the Constitution.  In their wisdom they foresaw the possibility that the electoral system might fail we the people.  Very few Americans know about this option in Article V, which itself speaks volumes about the decay of our educational and political systems.  State convention delegates could propose reform constitutional amendments that would never be proposed by Congress, and they would still have to be ratified by three-quarters of the states.

Instead of feeling frustrated with lesser-evil voting take the time to learn about the Article V convention option and why Congress has refused to honor the hundreds of state applications for one.  Friends of the Article V Convention, a national nonpartisan group, makes those applications available on its website, something that Congress never did, as well as many other resources.

Political powers on the left and right have worked hard to prevent the Article V convention option from ever being used.  That should tell you that what they fear we the people need now more than ever before.  The main thing to fear is the status quo political system that your lesser-evil votes sustain.  Only vote for someone who you deeply believe without reservations is the absolute best person to have in office.  That may mean not voting for every office on the ballot.

Joel S. Hirschhorn was a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association; he has authored five nonfiction books, including Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. Read other articles by Joel.

9 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on October 20th, 2010 at 9:34am #

    Please don’t read this!
    Don’t most americans ONLY THINK [guess] that they cast that little piece of paper with zero power for lesser evil?

    In fact no ballot cast in US is for any lesser evil when it concerns aliens. In fact, biden, considered less evil, actually demanded US bomb belgrad ’99. And no ‘greater’ evil doer did– at least in my knowledge! ‘Greater’?? hey folks it is only an invent; so, salt or even pepper it a lot!

    It seems to me that people still haven’t espied that illnesses like sin, lesser evil, greater evil, democratic, republican are mere inventions and tho depicting a fictive reality, they are, nevertheless, evaluated as real by most people.
    “Sin” had been invented most likely by priests and thus founded an eterne gold mine. People actually evaluated that the sin actually existed and that it was bad.

    There is no such thing as sin, sociology, psychiatry, political science, religion, etc. out there but in people’s heads. Btw, haven’t nearly all psychplogists been ‘jews’. What do u think that means?
    And then to make matters even worse there are thousands of isms! Wld u believe even zionism, capitalism, state capitalism? To me all nightmarish nightmares.

    I just nod my head in admiration when i think how the darkest afrikans ever survived [giving birth to many voelken] without all these isms, religions, jails, taxes, police, army spy agencies, laws, govts-governance, senators, media, ‘schooling’, regulations, reforms, whores, wifebeaters, sport ‘legends’ movie ‘stars’, experts, constitutions, etc.
    Or, have they survived because they did not have any of it?

    Is it any wonder that europeans seeing just that in americas went into a rage! Devil help me, i cld have been one of those euros, asians!

  2. Joe Mowrey said on October 20th, 2010 at 10:05am #

    Those of us with the courage to suggest we finally give up on this sham electoral process are few and far between. Congrats to Joel Hirschhorn for being a part of this small but ever-growing club of rational thinkers. Having watched with disgust the recent “One Nation” march in D.C., I again wondered how so many intelligent people could be so insipidly stupid. Just who the hell do they think they are going to vote for that is going to make any difference at all? Pathetic, at the very least. Self defeating, in point of fact. I’m not a big supporter of the Article V approach, but anything whih establishes and alternative thought pattern in those who suffer from compulsive voters syndrome is a step in the right direction. Think, people! The “Vote” is a dead and rotting horse. No matter how hard you beat it, it still is going nowhere. It’s time to get off and walk.

  3. Gary S. Corseri said on October 20th, 2010 at 10:10am #

    I certainly do not agree with the first commentator’s exhortation NOT to read this thoughtful article!

    It should be read and considered with the same seriousness with which it was written.

    I heartily agree with Mr. Hirschhorn about the corruption–and let’s call it what it is, evil!–of our political system; every two-year election cycle now brings new absurdities, fraudulent claims, outright mendacity. Now, in 2010, we have the Supreme Ct. decision to allow covert interests to flood the system with tainted money in order to advance their agendas… and, all in the name of “freedom of speech.”

    What to do? Mr. Hirschshorn asks. The sheeple can go on voting for Tweedle-Dem or Tweedle-Repub, and, like Einstein’s definition of idiocy, keep expecting different results. “The rest of us can stay home or vote for third party candidates that stand no real chance of winning.” Mr. Hirschhorn avers.

    So, then… how to make an end-run around the corruption, extricate the “cancer” once and for all? Joel advises making use of Article 5 of the Constitution. Probably a good idea if we were living in a fairly educated nation like Finland, but in the heart of the Empire, where “Jackass 3-D” is the number one movie of the past week, probably a non-starter.

    Joel further tells us that “Very few Americans know about this option in Article V” and that we should, “Instead of feeling frustrated with lesser-evil voting take the time to learn about the Article V convention option and why Congress has refused to honor the hundreds of state applications for one.” So: this is the quandary… the ill-informed will mount a political movement around an entrenched Congress and political system fortified by tons of untrackable money?

    Here’s my idea: By all means, let’s educate ourselves about Article 5 and see if it’s efficacious to pursue the path suggested. In the meantime, let’s CONSCIENTIOUSLY NOT VOTE. I stress CONSCIENTIOUSLY because I don’t want Bill O’Reilley or some other media schmuck spinning the NON-VOTING MOVEMENT as apathy. NOT VOTING is to support withdrawal from this whorish system. NOT VOTING CONSCIENTIOUSLY sends a message to the world: the citizens of America reject the Global Empire that now runs the world through international organizations like the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, the Trilateral Commission, Bilderbergers, et. al. We WILL NOT RATIFY your sick system.

    That would be a real alternative!

  4. bozh said on October 20th, 2010 at 11:00am #

    i ‘implored’ people not to read my post and not hirschhorn’s piece. Actually, i say that from time to time, because there are number of people on DV who just namecall people. And i want to spare them self-inflicted agony of reading the post.

    I have reread hirschhorn’s piece just to make sure that my initial understandings of his piece is [in]correct. Alas, it wasn’t it. Astounding facts are missing. His piece, like thousands other, appearing in msm and its sinister sister-msm, offers solely lamentations and as usual there’s nary even a hint for causes of what is going on in US.

    and, of course the only solution [that i know of] tat wld cleanse US of mafiosos, never ever appears. Not even as postulate, let alone an affirmation-proof. And guess what the postulated or affirmed- proven solution is?
    And if one never mentions it, then one may conclude they know it or of it, but dissemble unawareness of it.
    So, gary, respectfully, i say it is waste of time to read such lamenting. It never changed much and it never will.

    The reason i read his piece twice was that i wanted to inform newcomers to DV about fallacy of such education.
    How is it that not single [or was there one or two?] scribe-for-hire ever sees what is going on in switzerland and why swiss haven’t joined nato and have no soldiers killing children and women in palestina, afgh’n, iraq, korea, nicaragua, veitnam? tnx

  5. mary said on October 20th, 2010 at 11:13am #

    Hear Hear Gary and Mr Hirschorn!

    Today the Coalition, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, neither of whom had an electoral majority, have imposed the most stringent cuts in public expenditure that we have seen since the 1920s. Then these were followed by or even precipitated the Great Depression. It is feared that the same will be repeated.

    Tariq Ali compares the actions of the French people (aux barricades, mes freres) to those of the British. I haven’t met one person here who is opposed to what is happening. The sheeple have been conditioned by some of the most outrageous propaganda put out by the media and especially by the BBC.

    Percy Byshhe Shelley wrote this stirring poem on the Peterloo Massacre which was an uprising of the people in the poverty and unemployment in England after the Napoleonic Wars.(

    The final stanzas from The Masque of Anarchy

    ‘Ye who suffer woes untold,
    Or to feel, or to behold
    Your lost country bought and sold
    With a price of blood and gold –

    ‘Let a vast assembly be,
    And with great solemnity
    Declare with measured words that ye
    Are, as God has made ye, free –

    ‘Be your strong and simple words
    Keen to wound as sharpened swords,
    And wide as targes let them be,
    With their shade to cover ye.

    ‘Let the laws of your own land,
    Good or ill, between ye stand
    Hand to hand, and foot to foot,
    Arbiters of the dispute,

    ‘The old laws of England – they
    Whose reverend heads with age are gray,
    Children of a wiser day;
    And whose solemn voice must be
    Thine own echo – Liberty!

    ‘On those who first should violate
    Such sacred heralds in their state
    Rest the blood that must ensue,
    And it will not rest on you.

    ‘And if then the tyrants dare
    Let them ride among you there,
    Slash, and stab, and maim, and hew, –
    What they like, that let them do.

    ‘With folded arms and steady eyes,
    And little fear, and less surprise,
    Look upon them as they slay
    Till their rage has died away.

    ‘Then they will return with shame
    To the place from which they came,
    And the blood thus shed will speak
    In hot blushes on their cheek.

    ‘Every woman in the land
    Will point at them as they stand –
    They will hardly dare to greet
    Their acquaintance in the street.

    ‘And the bold, true warriors
    Who have hugged Danger in wars
    Will turn to those who would be free,
    Ashamed of such base company.

    ‘And that slaughter to the Nation
    Shall steam up like inspiration,
    Eloquent, oracular;
    A volcano heard afar.

    ‘And these words shall then become
    Like Oppression’s thundered doom
    Ringing through each heart and brain,
    Heard again – again – again –

    ‘Rise like Lions after slumber
    In unvanquishable number –
    Shake your chains to earth like dew
    Which in sleep had fallen on you –
    Ye are many – they are few.’

    PS I did not vote in the General Election last May.

  6. bozh said on October 20th, 2010 at 11:15am #

    yes, i see now that the “don’t read this” cld be easily taken to mean not to read smbody else’s writing. So, next time id’ be more explicit! thanks fro the observation, gary!

  7. Ron Horn said on October 20th, 2010 at 11:39am #

    I agree with Coseri’s advice to register your protest with the governing class by not participating in their carefully managed elections. I may only vote for a few local candidates and ballot initiatives.

    However, I believe that pursuing legal changes through the Constitution is an exercise in futility which will only divert and waste political energy. The US Constitution was written by the emerging capitalist class in the US in 1789 which added a veneer of legitimacy to their assumption of power by creating the illusion that the US society would be based on the rule of law. This provided excellent cover for this class of people who had a voracious appetite to own land by any means at their disposal, and their government provided an excellent means. Any wording in the Constitution that got in the way of their pursuit of wealth was simply re-interpreted by their court appointed justices. So the Constitution does not give us any real rights that can’t be thwarted by the ruling class.

    Before this document was written and before the capitalist class took control of the US, the Declaration of Independence was written which represented the best thinking of that time by Euro-Americans were challenging the yoke of monarchic/aristocratic ruling classes. This document said some really astonishing things that rallied all Americans to the cause of separation from England. Most important of all is this statement:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

    Of course, once the US managed to separate from England, the capitalist class quickly took over and they have been consolidating their wealth and power ever since.

    We must not be suckered into playing by their rules because they will beat us every time. I don’t know yet where to start except to stop participating in their election games.

  8. mary said on October 21st, 2010 at 12:46am #

    The old witch Thatcher is in hospital and not yet dead on the day we wake to the realization of what lies ahead after the ‘cuts’ or ‘spending review’ as the ConDems have no neatly renamed them.

    This from the website of the state broadcaster, ZBC.

    ‘Rupert Murdoch – the businessman who owns a range of media interests including The Sun, Times and Sky TV in the UK – is expected to deliver the inaugural Margaret Thatcher lecture as planned later on Thursday.

    His address, entitled Free Markets and Free Minds, is expected to praise Lady Thatcher’s contribution to Britain’s economy and society.’

    Hollow laughter echoes down the bare corridors of the workhouses.

  9. Netrudeau said on October 26th, 2010 at 6:05am #

    I’ve often struggled with this issue when I myself go to vote. I find the democratic party far too conservative in comparison to my own position, but the more evil party is far worse. The Republicans are geared towards religious gun toting nuts who are, for the most part, out of touch with the problems of urban communities. I struggle to prevent myself from not voting against the party who considers the Bible more useful than science itself. I find it hard to believe that we would be in a better or same place with McCain than Obama, even if the difference is slight, its still something. The right wing nuts won’t give up voting, even in an effort to change the system, if it means losing the chance of voting against a pro-welfare candidate. I think instead, the democrats need their own version of the tea party. A far left sub-group within the party also aiming to control spending- but instead to control the massive defense spending, ending the US imperialism and reinvesting in our own country.