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I ask myself, what would I rather do? Vote for a guy who wants to close Guantanamo Bay but not enough, and who wants guaranteed-issue health care enough to stake his Presidency on it... or, implicitly or explicitly, vote for a guy who doesn't want to close Guantanamo Bay and who has said his first action after election will be to set in motion the repeal of guaranteed-issue health care?

I guess I'm just a dummy.

I know you're not a dummy and don't mean to insinuate that, but I've had this conversation with people over and over and am just trying to understand it. We are choosing between the lesser of two evils here and it's extremely frustrating. I feel like it's time to stick to principles here and affect change like we would want to see in the business world. When there is a major problem in business, our instinct is to disrupt it to make money. Why do we throw our hands up in the air and say 'oh well' when we see such major problems in government?

"am just trying to understand it"

Ok here's why I support a major party candidate (spoilers: O-bot) despite said candidates inability to spin cloth to gold:

(1) You can hardly expect either of the two major candidates to mirror your views on all issues. That doesn't make them evil choices.

(2) Throwing away every other issue over a pet issue seems like a bad idea. Obama mirrors my stance on many issues. Many of them I feel are vastly more important than internet privacy.

(3) The actual issue at hand is a lot more complex than the EFF party line lets on. The reality is that cybersecurity threats from you know who are as real a threat to your freedoms as whatever the us government is going to do with your private data. Sorting out the intersection of freedoms pulling in different directions is always hard.

(3a) That said, if we have to do something we can do a lot better then Lieberman/Collins and this Executive Order/PDD is a fundamentally worse proposition, no matter if it's more lenient in a few details, because these trade offs should to be done openly through the legislature.

(4) Romney's alternative energy plan is cold fusion.

"Why do we throw our hands up in the air and say 'oh well' when we see such major problems in government?"

I think it's mostly because true political change is messy. People are self-centered and if they are doing okay, they will prefer stability to revolution almost without fail, regardless of how rotten the system is or how many people it cheats and abuses. It's why the Sunni merchant class in Aleppo supported Assad just about to the point he started dropping bombs on their houses. Real change in America would mean short term strife and uncertainty, even if it vastly improves long term prospects, and there's always the risk that the attempt will fail and things will end up worse than before. That's not a trade that well-off people are historically keen to make, so they stick with the devils they know, quibbling over their relatively minor differences. Real change requires a desperation strong enough to break the seal on pandora's box through a willing rupture of the status quo.

You could vote (any) 3rd party. Not because you hope they win; they won't. And because they won't, a vote for 3rd party is a vote for none of the above (two). Which I think is the best possible vote, because the two current stewards of democracy, debate and engagement are failing.

It is too bad that Democrats and Republicans rule the political sphere. It would make the political environment much more interesting if the Libertarian and Green Party played a bigger role.

If you live in a decided state ( http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/ ), vote third party. Most states are decided.

Johnson or Stein? One or the other (could be) a more principled vote (I don't know what your full "checklist" is, although you clearly differ from Johnson on healthcare, at least).

Johnson looks very likely to be on all states' ballots in November (Michigan is the least likely, but still very possible) and Stein should be on the ballot in the majority of states.

Except for a few states (e.g., Colorado) it looks quite likely that any effect Johnson has will favor Obama's electoral prospects over Romney's, anyway.

Except, thanks to the current electoral system, changing your vote to a vote for any but the two most likely to win candidates is essentially half a vote for the other guy.

aidenn0, I explicitly addressed that in the last sentence of my remark.

Simple answer: Don't vote. Why provide legitimacy to someone who you think is not "good enough". Voting is not something you do by default. It is a choice.

Not voting is what people do by default. It's not an interesting choice.

I disagree - even in countries where voting is not popular, you usually get much more than 50% participation in the voting system. Less than 30% hardly qualifies as "default".

In the US, it's hovered right around 50% for a while, though it's climbed up between 55-60% for the past couple elections. More people don't vote than vote for any candidate. I would agree less than 30% isn't default, but 45% isn't less than 30.

And non presidential election turnout is abysmal.

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