Solving the 2016 Election with Strategic Voting

Button from 1968 expressing dismay at the choices in the election.

As Sanders supporters, we don’t want to endorse Clinton, but we all want to stop Trump. And Clinton supporters don’t want Sanders supporters to vote third party. Instead of yelling at each other, what can we do to overcome this roadblock?

Many of us want to vote for Stein or another third party to show support for the values and ideas that brought us to the Sanders campaign to begin with. How can we stop Trump, give third parties the support they need to start breaking down the two-party system, and move Bernie’s agenda forward?

The solution to this problem is strategic voting. Here’s what that means in three short points:

1.

If Bernie Sanders works together with third parties and with Hillary Clinton — he can use his national network to build a new online system where we can sign up to vote strategically. I don’t want to endorse Clinton, I want to vote against her AND vote against Trump, but if that vote results in not defeating Trump, or even appears to I don’t like that outcome either. The myth of Nader as a spoiler won’t die, and once again, we face that challenge.

Updated version of the famous 1970s McGovern bumper sticker.

Many Sanders supporters will hate the idea at first glance, but look closer. There’s a detail you have to pay attention to. By strategically voting and/or by trading votes, we could work together as a progressive coalition and reduce the number of total votes Clinton gets. Stein and other third party candidates will get more votes, Clinton will get fewer votes than she would otherwise, and Trump will still be stopped. Strategic voting is NOT an endorsement of Clinton, it’s a means of stopping Trump and supporting third parties.

Strategic voting was used in Canada to stop Harper from winning, while allowing people to support the candidates and platforms they believe in.

A Canadian strategic voting web site.

2.

What we need is a web site based on this model but which allows voters to register and organize so that we can vote for the candidate we choose AND stop Trump. These two goals are not mutually exclusive.

UPDATE: A proof of concept for what a site like this might look like, ironically developed to help Trump in the primary, however the model still fits. It was brought to my attention on Twitter: bernietrumptradepact.com

Using a new online strategic voting network, as a voter in a swing state I could pair up with a voter in a state where Trump can’t win. My vote will still go to the third party candidate I choose, in order to help the third party reach the percent required to grow and play a more serious role in US politics, meanwhile, Trump won’t win. This is just one possible model.

Sanders in an updated version of the 1968 poster for Eugene McCarthy.

3.

Bernie Sanders is in the perfect position to orchestrate a new online system for strategic voting. If Hillary Clinton supporters want to ensure Trump is defeated, they will participate. Yes, this means Hillary supporters voting for Stein or Johnson or other third parties, and it means Sanders supporters voting for Clinton — but what we would really be doing is trading votes. And in the end, we will be showing the Democratic party that they can not hold us hostage.

We the people can organize to stop Trump, without giving in to the idea of lesser evilism. We the people can organize to stop Trump, without giving Clinton more votes to legitimize her neoliberal candidacy and the Democratic party shift to the right.

We the people can stop Trump by organizing nationwide strategic voting.

Join me today in asking Bernie Sanders to lead this effort.


This article is simply meant to start the conversation, organizing and building a great strategic voting system will require some of the greatest minds working in a coalition across the political spectrum. The only question left is: Can we work together, in peace, toward the common goals we do have? I hope so.

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