Sunday, October 28, 2012

Voting for a third party candidate ...

My home state Tamil Nadu, India is notorious where its politics is concerned. It has two main political parties(DMK and ADMK) which come to power alternatively. India has a parliamentary democracy, unlike the US people do not vote for an individual like the President or the Governor rather the leader of whichever party wins the majority of seats in the legislature becomes the Chief Minister of the state (akin to a governor in the US). He also runs for election in a constituency and is the member of the legislature.

Occasionally these two parties make alliance with either of the two national parties (Congress and BJP) or other regional parties(mostly popular in the district level or among a certain community) to form the government. There might be a dozen or more of these smaller regional parties which by themselves cannot challenge the supremacy of the two big ones.

One party is not better than the other but one of them is sure to win as there is no viable alternative who can match up in money and power to mount a serious challenge to their supremacy. Tamil Nadu also has another deadly curse, only cinema actors can garner enough votes to win elections. The last 3-4 decades has been dominated by a guy who once was a reigning matinee idol now dead (MGR), his leading lady the current Chief Minister (Jayalalitha) and a movie screen writer who also wrote movies for the afore mentioned matinee idol and now the ex chief minister (Karunanidhi) and very old. They challenge each other not only to win elections but also to win corruption awards the likes of which cannot even be imagined. Karunanidhi though takes the crown, he and his extended family have amassed enough wealth to buy out all of Tamil Nadu if not India. Larry Ellison's purchase of the pineapple island in Hawaii will pale in comparison.

Do you see similarities between the situation in TamilNadu and the US Presidential elections? Simple math if there are only two major parties a candidate from one of the parties has to win. At least in India any other candidate belonging to any other party can run making it difficult for the frontrunners. Here no one has heard of the third party candidate and he is not even be on the ballot in all of the states.

Look at the two major parties in the US today, in the last couple of decades though they have opened a vast gulf between them on social issues they are pretty much indistinguishable from each other on other issues. Special interest and monied groups get all the attention. Oh! how I hate the word Middle Class when uttered by politicians like they really care. There is stiff competition to win this group of voters who will promptly get forgotten and whose economic prospects have never been dimmer.

I am pretty disgusted with the politics of Obama and his party. The other party is even more scarier. They of the kind who are dying to walk women back to the stone ages and Talibanize America.

The candidate from their party, Mitt Romney has changed his position so much that I have no idea what he stands only that he will be willing to change when the situation demands. His healthcare reform in Massachusetts is the model for ObamaCare but he does everything in his power to disparage it like he has nothing to do with it and willing his association with it will simply disappear.

And the other quirk of the US electoral process is the electoral college. In America just because you vote don't assume that your vote is equal to the voter from one of the battleground states namely Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania or Virginia. Voters here are wined, dined, non-stop advertised and campaigned to. I have never heard anyone being called in my home state of Maryland because this is considered a very safe Democratic state. Obama is confident he will win even if he or his campaign does not lift a finger. Mitt Romney will not win even if he turns heaven and earth. Majority of the states than those mentioned above fall into being a safe Democratic state or Republican state.

If you watched the two candidates and the issues they covered and if you have never heard of the US you'd think it is another country fighting the two wars we are engaged in right how. Both candidates studiously avoided mentioning the word war. Not even a peep about Global Warming but plenty about drilling and pride about natural gas production but who cares if the ground underneath is shifting and nobody knows if fracking has anything to do with it.

How much ever you drill oil prices are controlled in the global market and being self sufficient does not automatically bring down the price of gas. Ask our neighbors to the north who have been energy sufficient for a long time. Nothing at all about financial reform. If only jobs grew in trees Romney would pluck 12 million of them. Both of them competed with each in providing non specifics. Moreover I want both of them and the government out of my personal life. How about true healthcare reform? Delink the employer from health coverage. Why can't pay into a pool and who I work for not affect my health insurance coverage.

There are soldiers fighting in 2 wars and it is shameful that both of them did not find it important to talk about them. How about the vast gulf between the rich and poor. If we vote for either of these candidates it is like voting for 2 black boxes whose details are clear to no one.

In this scenario What choice do I have? Perhaps none. I bet the majority of voters in this country fall into the same category. Why don't we grab the electoral process back to the people where it belongs? If everyone of us votes for the 3rd candidate on the ballot, I am sure somebody will notice!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by. Appreciate you taking the time.
Comments embedded with links, spam and in poor taste will not be published.