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The problem with voting third-party as an American is simple: it prizes principle above result. Farwell3D’s promise to vote for Jill Stein is a good example of this: he cites Obama’s defense of the NDAA provisions as a dealbreaker. And yes, I will freely agree that Obama’s civil rights record is not good at all (to say the least). But voting for Jill Stein will not make this in any way better, and more importantly will not improve civil rights in the United States. There is zero chance of that happening. Voting for Jill Stein arguably makes it worse, because a vote for Jill Stein is, essentially, a proxy vote for Mitt Romney when the election is so close. (I don’t care if you’re in a safe Obama state – popular vote in this election is likely going to matter for rhetorical purposes at least.)

By any reasonable metric, Mitt Romney is going to be much, much worse on the issues F3D is angry at Obama about. All of them. Much worse. Here we are looking at the utilitarian argument, which is that if you withhold your vote from Obama – who is the only potential choice for President who A) can win and B) might make things less bad – you are at least declining to vote for “less bad things” and at worst proxy-voting for “more bad things.” (Which of these two is more accurate, I leave up to the philosophers. But neither is especially good.)
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