Yi Zhang’s op-ed in your Aug. 8 edition made some good points about the current Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns, though Zhang didn’t discuss any of the big issues. But, Zhang ends the op-ed with the totally wrong conclusion that we should vote for the lesser evil. This type of voting and attitude is a major reason why the Democratic and Republican parties have drifted farther to the right since 1980. Voting for a lesser evil is definitely not what you should do, because it empowers and perpetuates this unrepresentative corporate system. What we need to do is to build a strong movement that would allow candidates of other parties, such as Jill Stein of the Green Party, to have a fair chance of getting elected.
Voting for the lesser of evils has culminated in having a choice between a boorish, immature, ignorant, racist, misogynist, xenophobic candidate for the Republicans and a war-mongering, imperialist, corporate Wall Street-supporting, yuppie Democrat as our only choices for president in the upcoming election. This is totally unacceptable, and we should not accept it by voting for either of them. The only legitimate way to vote is to vote your conscience. If you don’t like these candidates, vote for a third-party candidate in whose policies and ideologies you do believe. For progressives, which I assume that most people reading this paper are, that means voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party.
Furthermore, voting for a lesser evil further empowers that evil. If you “hold your nose” and vote for Hillary Clinton, for example, that just further empowers the mainstream of the Democratic Party, which is composed of corporate and pro-military people. What we need to do is to vote our consciences. If enough people withheld their votes from mainstream Democratic candidates and instead voted for a third party, these corporate pro-military Democrats would lose their power.
We need to break the stranglehold that the two gangs masquerading as political parties have over our country. The major remedies for this problem are proportional representation, ranked-choice voting for executive positions such as president, governor and mayor, an absolute prohibition of any private funding for political campaigns (replaced by fair and equal government funding) and mandatory equal TV time, including debates, for all candidates. Voting for a lesser evil remedies nothing and instead just makes things worse. Zhang’s call to do this was a totally wrongheaded conclusion to an otherwise decent op-ed.
— Jeff Hoffman