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Why I Want Barack Obama to Win, But Won't Vote For Him

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Four years of President Mitt Romney is not something I wish to contemplate. A Romney-Ryan win would be an unmitigated disaster for this nation. I would prefer that President Barack Obama be re-elected. The incumbent President is a pleasant, smart guy and has some accomplishments of note under his belt.   But when I mark my election ballot in November, it won't be for the moderately liberal, corporate-friendly Democrat. I'll be marking my ballot for a third-party candidate, either Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party or the Green Party's Jill Stein.

Here's  why:

(1) I cannot in good conscience vote for a president who has condoned torture and other abhorrent war crimes, as well as the biggest white-collar crime in American history, the 2008 Financial Meltdown. President Obama did not cause either one, but by refusing to hold the perpetrators accountable, he is in effect, condoning them.

By allowing George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and their friends to escape accountability for lying us into an illegal, unnecessary war in Iraq, and ravaging the constitution and our civil liberties in the name of the "War on Terror," and by continuing many of the same unconscionable practices, the Obama Admistration is in effect owning a share of these egregious crimes against American and international law.

And by allowing Wall Street to wreck the economy, and the lives of millions of innocent American families, and enabling the banksters to profit from their misdeeds and to persist in their misadventures, is another inexcusable offense.  The President's appointments of some of the perpetrators to key spots in his administration makes a case for Obama as an accessory to those crimes.

Despite all that, there is no question that a victory by Mitt Romney and the Republicans would be far worse for this country, and would endanger the hard-won accomplishments of progressive Democrats over the past eighty-some years. Just the prospect of President Mitt Romney picking the next justice on the U.S. Supreme Court is frightening enough. Yet.....

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(2) The antiquated American electoral system being what it is, I feel comfortable voting my conscience and marking my ballot for a true third-party progressive. I can comfortably do that because I see no reasonable scenario in which my third-party vote will hurt Barack Obama or help Mitt Romney.

That's because my state, California, is solid Blue and Barack Obama has a lock on its 55 electoral votes. Obama won California by double digits in 2008, polls show a similar double-digit lead now, and he will win by double-digits in my state November 6.  The Obama and Romney campaigns understand this and will not put significant campaign money in California this year, instead concentrating their resources on the handful of swing states (Florida, Ohio, Virginia, etc) that will truly decide the election.

It is our 18th Century electoral college system that allows me that flexibility. Ultimately, it makes the presidential vote of the majority of the American voters virtually meaningless. Realistically, only a relative handful of undecided voters in a few key "swing states" will decide the winner of the 2012 presidential election. That, along with the unrestricted flow of billionaire and corporate money enabled by Citizens United, makes a mockery of our so-called American "democracy."

Good luck, President Obama, I hope you win. Just don't count on my vote.

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Arlen is a writer/blogger living in Monterey, CA. His political blog is He writes a weekly quotation quiz "What's Your QQ?" (Quotation Quotient) for the Monterey Herald, as well as a website and (more...)

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What's the use of a democracy in which your vote h... by Arlen Grossman on Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 at 2:59:57 AM
And I think these times are so extraordinary, voti... by Gentry L Rowsey on Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 at 7:47:45 AM
As long as you live in a state that is a safe blue... by Shirley Johnson on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 12:13:28 AM
Great! Be sure to read Rocky Anderson's response t... by Charlotte Scot on Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 at 7:49:37 AM
Thank you for the great article. Everyone should r... by Charlotte Scot on Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 at 7:53:29 AM
Apparently you don't remember how much of an issue... by Michael Toth on Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 at 11:08:02 AM
If I were in a swing state I would vote for Obama.... by Arlen Grossman on Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 at 1:57:00 PM
Nader had ZERO to do with Gore failing to deliver ... by Hooker Jay on Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 3:53:24 AM
even though gore ran his campaign so incompetently... by zon moy on Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 6:04:28 PM
The vote for John Anderson probably cost Humphrey ... by Shirley Johnson on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 12:20:41 AM
Florida is a swing state. In Florida and the othe... by Randy Moor on Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 at 11:53:07 AM
Swing State or not, a vote for Obama will be read ... by eesabi on Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 at 3:30:25 PM
That's why it is important for people in non-swin... by Randy Moor on Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 at 6:43:35 PM
Immediately after the election, get involved with ... by Shirley Johnson on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 12:36:05 AM
Thank you for the great article. Everyone should r... by Charlotte Scot on Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 at 4:28:38 PM
We have been not only dumbed down in this country-... by Deborah Dills on Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 at 8:28:56 PM
Your not voting will be read as consent for  ... by Randy Moor on Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 8:24:29 AM
exactly the same as a vote for the democrats. ... by zon moy on Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 6:05:38 PM
... not in a swing state, at least not if people i... by Randy Moor on Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 7:06:14 PM
You folks do no-one including your selves a favor ... by Bia Winter on Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 7:48:08 AM
Count me in your column, Bia. How many toss away v... by Gary Brumback on Monday, Sep 17, 2012 at 6:12:07 PM
Fellow Obama supporters, HEADS UP ! This big R... by Richard Lucas on Thursday, Sep 20, 2012 at 10:13:12 PM