What Our Dear Third Party Voters Miss About the Parliamentary System They Say They Want

I know and love third party voters.  But they’re not comprehending a big component of the parliamentary system they advocate for.  I mean besides the part where it’s not our system and will most likely never be.  There is that.  And this is probably a dollar short and a day late.  But that’s me.  It’s not that Green voters would have made a huge difference if they’d just given their votes to Hillary Clinton, but the Green Party itself could have been a partner to the Democrats and helped each other to coalesce leftist power.

In a parliamentary system with multiple parties you vote for a party and representation in the legislature is distributed proportionally.  But executive leaders are then chosen by the representatives by deal making, coalition building and consensus.  So if you’re on the left the goal is to get a prime minister (or president) as far left as you can possibly get.  Leftist parties create coalitions with left of center parties to get the left-most leader and stop the right wing parties from getting their goal: the right-most leader.

Translated to our system, maybe poorly translated, if you’re a Green, then you vote Green down ballot to your heart’s content.  But for the Chief Executive you make a coalition with the center left party to elect the left-most candidate (in 2016 that’s Clinton) and frustrate the right-most candidate (Trump).

The anger and hatred for Clinton that a lot of our leftist third party people show was misguided and ultimately self-destructive.  It ends up being a nihilistic exercise, a circular firing squad, that masquerades as superior morality and ethics.  It’s not.  Especially when all of their anger and vitriol is aimed at tearing down their fellow progressives, competing with them rather than the common enemy on the right.  In fact, the Green Party’s representative and followers became useful idiots for Trump and the GOP.  The most dishonorable and disingenuous game they play is when they claim false equivalence between the two big parties to justify their misplaced antipathy towards the people in their own ideological foxhole.

The Democratic Party may have screwed up and chosen the wrong nominee, it wouldn’t be the first time.  But saying “fuck you” and giving comfort to the right wing doesn’t even begin to address that.  It’s pointlessly self-defeating and punitive.  Reveling in the Democratic Party’s failure as their own throats are cut does not exhibit integrity so much as a deep misunderstanding of everything going on around them.  Like a person in a burning house saying up yours to the firefighters because they’re using the wrong kind of extinguisher.

They need to grasp that an election is when you suck it up and come together towards your long term and short term political goals.  Greens don’t exhibit any understanding of that simple truth. It’s hard to see anything coming from a vote for Jill Stein, ever. There’s no there there.  And that’s on the Green Party and their followers.  Merely showing up every four years and screaming about your moral superiority isn’t as productive so much as it is grating.

You want to talk about a dysfunctional, useless waste of time party?  Let’s talk Green Party. Except there’s nothing to talk about.  The Democratic Party has been around for 216 years old give or take, depending when you start counting, and has elected hundreds of thousands of candidates.  There are thousands of elected Democrats across the country at this time.  A president and vice president (until January 20), senators, congresspersons, governors, state legislators, mayors and more, up and down the line from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to school boards in Alaska.

There are 136 elected Greens in America right now.  Period. None in the federal government.  A few fire district board members, some school district board members. This lack of position viz-a-viz the levers of power, their lack of a substantial stake in the governing of the country has proven to be a serious impediment in their ability to affect the national debate or push themselves forward as a partner in government. But no matter, every four years they still step forward to claim an ideological seat at the table .

Which would be fine if they exhibited an understanding of what that means for them and the country.  If a Green candidate for president spoke about how they could leverage whatever power they have on behalf of the common goal of governing, then maybe the Democrats would be  more amenable to rules that allowed them on stage for debates.  If the Greens were a reliable partner to the larger party, rather than a bitter ankle biting competitor, I can imagine them getting something from a grateful president, governor, mayor, etc.  Rather than standing on the outside of the rooms where decision are made, they could be invited in and build something of their own, the old fashioned way – by dealing, compromising, coalition making, legislation writing.  You become a useful partner, albeit junior, and build.  Better a useful partner than a useful idiot.

Nobody ever built any power proclaiming their moral superiority and bitching about the unfairness of the system without shedding their own blood, working with others and proving their worth and worthiness.  The Green Party should start doing that.

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