My Presidential Endorsement Strategy
by Okla Elliott
I have an odd dual endorsement this year for President. I am endorsing both Barack Obama and Ron Paul. Wait a minute, you might be saying, how can you endorse two candidates for President? Here’s how: I am endorsing Ron Paul for the Republican nomination and then endorsing Barack Obama for the general election.
I have been an open critic of many of Obama’s policies, but right now, I am much happier with him as President than with Romney or Santorum. I am not, however, happy merely to have more of the same discussion in this country. I want a real debate on our foreign policy. I want a real debate on our civil liberties. On our drug laws. On our money policy. On our foreign aid policy. And so on. If Obama is debating Romney or Santorum, these will not be the issues of the day. It will be more of the same old tired nonsense we hear every election year.
But wait a minute, you might be saying again, what if Ron Paul actually wins? First off, I do not think any of the Republican candidates can beat Obama, but Ron Paul pretty much guarantees that Obama will be re-elected, because Ron Paul is simply too radical for Americans to elect, too old (a problem that hurt McCain in 2008), and simply too wacky on too many issues (like returning to the gold standard in the 21st century). So, not only will Ron Paul not win the general election, he’ll guarantee an Obama victory. But this way, we would get to have a national debate about cutting our military spending, ending our needless wars overseas, repealing the Patriot Act, revising our draconian drug laws, and so on, but we won’t actually end up with a libertarian guy who would close public schools and deregulate everything from lead paint to carbon monoxide emissions.
With the way the economy is (slightly) improving and with the mess the Republican Party has made of itself so far this election cycle, I think Obama can and will beat whichever Republican candidate happens to win the primaries. But if Ron Paul wins the nomination—which he could do, given the proportional delegate distribution the Republican Party is doing this year—then we would get to have a real debate about real issues in this country, instead of pretending things like the Patriot Act are fine and noble, which is exactly what we’ll get if Obama and Santorum are the nominees (since both voted for the Patriot Act and have defended it). And perhaps hearing Ron Paul denounce American militarism abroad and civil rights infringements at home will allow Obama to adopt some of those measures while retaining his willingness to protect the environment, improve our healthcare system, and fund public schools, etc. Minimally, it will make those issues part of the national discussion, which we desperately need.
And so, I am making a call for all progressives and independents to vote for Ron Paul in the Republican primaries, and then to vote for Barack Obama in the general election. It’s a strange strategy, I know, but I think it is one that could yield the greatest results for the country’s political discourse and future.
But since the Green Party is the only political party in the US I truly agree with, I am only suggesting that progressives vote for Obama in the swing states in the general election. Being in Illinois, which Obama will win handsomely (20-25%), I will vote for Ron Paul during the GOP primary and then will vote Green Party for the general election, with a smattering of Democrats and Green Party candidates for the other races. Were I in Ohio, however, I would vote Ron Paul and then Obama. This seems like the right mixture of idealism and practical voting for this year. (In 2008, I was living in Ohio, but since it was clear to any sane person that Obama was going to dominate that election, I voted Nader/Gonzalez for the Presidential ticket and mostly Democrats [and no Republicans] for the remaining races. In short, I believe our voting strategies change election to election, state to state, and candidate to candidate. My above proposal for a progressive 2012 voting strategy is not to be considered a universal rule, but rather my choice of action based on my assessment of the current situation.)