Congratulations, Jef Rouner of Free Press Houston.
Every four years we get together and play American President Idol, electing either a Republican or a Democrat. And, every four years this is when some fringe kook or two tries to tell us about all those parties outside the system, man. The ones who are really woke, as my white ass should probably not be saying, and aren’t corrupt by Big Scaryword.
See, Noah Horwitz, this is how you move to the head of the class. Note that a clear path could involve going "anti-vaxxer" a full week after that smear has been debunked. If you truck in lies that have been demonstrated to be lies, you're a pretty big Jackass. But this is Rouner's moment; let's allow him to revel in it.
Between the carnival of carnage that was the Republican primary choosing the form of Gozer the Destructor and the bitter hold out of Bernie Sanders to the end of the Democratic one, emotions on both sides got a little high. I’ve never seen so much announcing that people were voting third party, and every single bit of it is as bloody useless as the Republicans offering their thoughts and prayers to the victims of the mass shooting (does it really matter which one I name?).
Which is why voting third party is mostly an empty gesture meant to telegraph a person’s own virtue without actually involving real work. If Stein really wanted to do some progressive good or even pass her bonkers woo ideas, she’d be a Democrat or at least an Independent who works with Democrats like Sanders. If Johnson actually cared about letting you smoke weed hassle-free, he should have done something about it when he was a Republican in actual power.
I was a Democrat who worked for ten years attempting to to pull the Texas Democratic Party to the left. I wasn't alone; the Progressive Populist Caucus was, in 2006, the largest in the TDP, with several hundred members. You have perhaps noted over the past decade how successful we were.
There's a better analogy if your intention was to crack on both progressives and religious extremists simultaneously: "the best way to make change for the better in ISIS is to join them and transform the organization from within". Not ludicrous at all, is it?
Nothing Stein or Johnson say matters. At all. Their platforms are meaningless because neither of them will ever be called to do any of it or have to answer for the promises that they made to voters. Theirs is a consequence-free existence. Politifact is never going to check them on the Johnsonmeter or the Steinmeter like they did for Barack Obama and will certainly do to whoever wins this long-ass trudge to the future of the country.
Actually what they say and do does matter, as history has demonstrated. Where do you think all this "spoiler" nonsense comes from? It's that sort of progress that duopolists fear. Even Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton's not-so-useful idiot, fell for the 'spoiler' BS right from the beginning of his campaign. See, you can't really spoil an election that's already spoiled.
More importantly, the two major parties often co-opt the messages of the minor parties (Tea Party subsumed into GOP, sad attempts by Dems to occupy Occupy, Green becomes 'green' without those dirty hippies). So they must be doing something right if their best ideas are being shoplifted.
Most importantly, political scientists get it and have for a long time.
"The irony is that no leading political scientist who studies political party systems believes that it is necessary to squelch minor parties in order to 'defend' the two-party system. The true definition of 'two-party system' is a system in which two particular parties are much bigger than all the others; it doesn't mean a system in which minor parties have atrophied into non-existence. The last leading political scientist who believed that it is socially useful to squelch minor parties was Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, but he changed his mind over five years ago, and now advocates that election laws treat minor parties equitably." -- Richard Winger, Ballot Access News December 12, 1996
Logic needs to stay out of Rouner's way, however. He thinks he's on a roll.
That’s politics, and more importantly, that’s America. It’s not a place built by storming out of the room in a moralistic crusade, and it’s certainly not a place where sitting on the side-lines free from any blame deserves virtuous acclaim. There’s a reason Hillary Clinton wrote a book called Hard Choices, and even Donald Trump recognizes that if his vision for America is to matter he has to actually get in the game on a team that can win. So did Sanders. You have three choices. The last one is “do nothing,” and voting third party for president is just doing nothing with a big old bowl of sanctimonious bullshit on top. Just like praying for shooting victims who need blood donations and cities that need lead out of their water.
Maybe I've missed it, but did Democrats get the lead out of the water while I wasn't paying attention? Have they stopped the police from killing unarmed black men? Have they banned fracking yet? Repealed Citizens United? Halted the TPP?
Ohhhhh: they just need more help in Congress, where all the guys and gals on both sides of the aisle are already owned by the banks, the pharmaceutical companies, and the NRA. I think maybe Rouner missed the whole 'revolution' part of the equation.
As you might imagine, today's Jackass has been excoriated by the readers of FPH on the original page and on the Facebook page, very few of which happen to be orthodox Democrats or Republicans waiting to be scolded about not conforming. This seems more like a successful clickbait trolling excursion, and if you read only a few of the responses at either place, you'll see our boy has been roasted and then seared in his own juices to a greater degree than I need to add to.
Much like the Texas Observer, Free Press Houston used to be a radical, iconoclastic, unabashedly liberal-before-progressive-was-the-word newspaper. Then they went out and hired all these angry Hillbots, and then wonder why their subscriber base has abandoned them.