Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Logic of Protest

November 2nd, 2010 · 8 Comments

If you haven’t already, be sure to hit your local polls before the day is through. I’ll be taking Microkhan Jr. into the voting booth this afternoon, and I’ll let him pull the lever at the end (though he won’t actually get to make any ballot selections).

For the umpteenth time since I turned 18, I will once again be voting in a state and district where there’s not a single close contest. New York’s gubernatorial race was decided long ago, and the odds of my 20-term congressman getting ousted are between nil and zero. As a result, I’m seriously considering casting a couple of protest votes this time, opting for third-party candidates whose entire campaigns are basically just exercises in futility. But I keep on asking myself, What’s the logic in protest voting? I have no expectation that any third-party candidates will garner enough votes to nudge the victors’ behavior. And I fear that most of these candidates have ulterior motives for running—namely to heighten public awareness of their personal brands, with an eye toward cashing in once the election season is over.

I’d be curious to hear from the Horde: Have you ever cast a protest vote? If so, why? And if not, do you believe that protest voting is deeply illogical, and a waste of one’s democratic rights?


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8 Comments so far ↓

  • shothotbot

    I am so tired I completely forgot about the Rent Is Too Damn High guy. I want a do-over

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    The third-party candidate who’s been bombarding my mailbox is Kristin Davis, she of the catchy “Vote Homo, Not Cuomo” campaign slogan. Other than Cuomo, she’s been the only gubernatorial candidate to send me any sort of literature. (My zip code is a major Dem stronghold, so Paladino didn’t bother). I’m sympathetic to her views, but wouldn’t actually want her to serve as governor. Does that mean I’d be violating Kant’s categorical imperative by casting my vote for her?

  • Jordan

    The parties have to change every once in a while. Seems like a good time for a revival of the Bull Moose Party. If only because that’s an awesome name.

  • scottstev

    Why limit your protests to just voting, when you could get the action figure

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    McMillan has actually made some appearances in my neighborhood, before he became a politician. He’s bombastic but naturally charismatic. And he’s certainly done an admirable job of enhancing his personal brand by running for governor. All that said, he didn’t get my vote…

    One of the stranger ballots I’ve ever cast. And all of it meaningless, since there is virtually no electoral competition in most of New York City.

  • jackal

    As a Canadian, I regret not being able to vote for my favorite absurdist party: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinoceros_Party_of_Canada

  • Captured Shadow

    I cast a protest vote for Nader over Gore, since I felt confident that Gore would carry the state. Just to push him to the left a little. I think that is why he went on to do that whole power point movie……….