Friday, September 28, 2012

US Presidential election : help required!

Just wondering if Scot Goes Pop readers would be interested in helping me with a small dilemma. As some of you know, I'm a dual UK/US national, and I'm in the middle of trying to work out who to vote for in the US election. The problem is as follows -

Opposition to the death penalty is pretty much my most fundamental political belief. I've therefore always followed the principle of voting for an anti-death penalty candidate, unless there wasn't one on the ballot paper. I do this even if it's a fringe candidate.

There is no real cost to doing this, because I vote in a strongly Democratic state in which Republicans (or at least Republican presidential candidates) have no chance whatsoever.

However, the only left-of-centre, anti-death penalty presidential candidate in "my" state this time round is Peta Lindsay, who represents an out-and-out revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party, and who regards Cuba as the template for the rest of the world to follow. Now, I'm all for acknowledging the good side of the Cuban system as well as the bad, but such views are a bit strong for even my taste.

Nevertheless, it remains the case that Barack Obama favours the death penalty in principle. Although he would perhaps be keen to significantly reduce its application, he has spoken approvingly about the idea of putting terrorists to death. I find it very hard to vote for someone with that position when there is a clear, cost-free alternative. Lindsay also has an exemplary stance in opposition to Israel's oppression of the Palestinians, something which can hardly be said of Obama.

So what do you think I should do - vote for Obama in spite of my beliefs, or vote for the Bolshevik? I've put a poll at the top of the sidebar, but you don't have long to vote, because I want to make a decision today!

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UPDATE : Here are the final results of the poll -

Barack Obama 30%
Peta Lindsay 70%

Many thanks for all the votes and comments. I think using my 'ask the audience' lifeline has proved sufficient on this occasion, and I won't need to resort to going 50/50 or phoning a friend. But, alas, I still don't think I'm about to win any "life-changing money".


  1. Cuba is living sustainably the US isn't.

  2. A difficult decision. Finding credible anti-death penalty candidates in the US is difficult. In your situation, assuming that there is absolutely no chance of the state being carried by Romney, I'd vote for the anti-death penalty candidate.

    In my own state, in spite of disagreeing with Obama on a number of important issues, I am in a state that only leans Obama. While the chances of Romney taking the state are small, they do exist so I won't take a chance. The Republican stance on too many issues makes me throw up.

  3. It's a sticky one, James, but only for your own conscience. As you say, your vote will not detract from Obama carrying the state or in any way aid Mitt Romney.

    Like you I am fiercely anti death penalty, for anything, and were I ever in a position to make that opinion clear in a vote, I would do so.

    Lefty though I may be, I have grave doubts about Marxist Leninist parties, and though there is a lot of good stuff in Cuba (their health and education systems are, I believe, impressive), there’s sure as hell a lot of bad stuff too; otherwise it’s unlikely that so many people would risk their lives trying to get the hell out of the place.

    However, you can be pretty sure that Peta will not become president and initiate a Cuban style People’s Republic of the United States of America. ..and, given that you feel comfortable with two out of the three areas of policy that you have mentioned, I’d be inclined to advise you to vote Peta!

    After all, have you ever had the luxury of voting for a candidate with whose policies you agreed 100%?

  4. Afterthought:

    I’m assuming that the state of which you speak, which is presidentially blue, will be a state that doesn’t allow the death penalty?

  5. Interesting dilemma. In your position, I think I'd go for PETA, especially as she has such a cool surname. If the death penalty is your big issue, you have little choice.

    Her aims in her 10 point plan are unachievable but many are laudable & she has been through some tough things.

    You could do worse - although, of course, she's too young to become President even if she' by some miracle got on the ballot in every state & win.

  6. I voted for the anti capital punishment candidate. If your State is not a 'swing-state' then vote for her.

  7. Thanks for all your advice. You've won me over - I'm going for Peta!

    Caron : Of course technically the election only decides the composition of the electoral college, so I presume if a candidate who had carried a state was barred because of age, his or her electors would still be able to vote as a bloc for someone else from the same party even if that person hadn't originally been a candidate. (For example Ronald Reagan received a vote from a faithless elector in 1976, even though he hadn't been a candidate in the general election.)

    Tris : You're right, the state has abolished capital punishment, although unfortunately the federal and military death penalties apply throughout the whole US.

  8. I myself am pro-DP but ONLY if the crime is cbm or uncontrolled violence or a psycho who enjoys his work. And ONLY if it can be absolutely proved that the defendnt did it without even recourse to beyind a reasonable doubr -- basically, reliable non-interested parties as eye-witnesses. Why because there have been far too many sent to their deahs who were innocent. That bstrd Scott Peterson for example wouldn't get the DP but Mark David Chapman would -- that's my view. All that said, if you have a principal whereby you choose a fringr candidate then exerise that vote in such terms -- otherwise the US will never have a 3rd political choice, or a 4th and that leads to poor political politics since both parties are chasing after the same constituency and policies then become very similar. A pressure candidate signals to politicians that there are other constituencies which may require attention -- stick to your principals.

  9. 'poor political politics' -- it's late my end