7/23/2014 11:16:00 AM Write-ins achieve 'worse than nothing'
I read your front-page article on a person running a write-in campaign for governor of Illinois and was somewhat perturbed. Not by the person or his views, which I believe were admirable, but by what write-in and third-party candidates normally accomplish. They accomplish worse than nothing because they generally help elect the person diametrically opposed to what they believe in.
Ralph Nader took enough votes from Al Gore in Florida to elect George W. Bush as President. Ross Perot took enough votes from George H. W. Bush to elect Bill Clinton. Do you suppose either of these two individuals are truly admired for helping to elect someone whose policies they didn't agree with? Did they accomplish anything for their party, or the country, or did they just become pariahs in their own parties?
For better or worse, we have essentially a two-party system, and no matter which party people support, the individuals running for office are never perfectly in line with what each of us believes. This sometimes leads to "voting for the lesser of two evils." Often times electing a person whose beliefs are "too conservative or too liberal" creates situations like we have in Washington today with both parties being ideological and unwilling to even meet to discuss compromises that might move the country forward. Frequently it's all about "how can I position myself to get re-elected" rather than what can I do to make my state and country better.
I fully support everyone's right to run for the office of their choice and believe every voter should vote their convictions and their conscience. I just hope that in local elections or the national ones to come that write-in and third-party candidates don't have exactly the opposite effect of what the candidates hoped to accomplish.