“This is the vote to defeat fascism, this is the vote to defend democracy” seems to be the messaging the Democrats are using to defeat Trump this election season, insisting everyone needs to fall in line with the party, no matter how little that party does for an individual. The way the Democrats are using “fascism” as a buzzword doesn’t feel entirely different from Republicans insisting milquetoast, neoliberal Democratic candidates are radical socialists hell-bent on destroying the economy. Both “fascism” and “communism” have lost almost all meaning in an American politician’s mouth.
The Democrats are right, of course, to point out the fascist talking points Trump embraces. I’m not here to waste ink over the tired debate of whether the Republican party is fascist – Umberto Eco’s 1995 article “Ur-Fascism” makes that clear enough. But the fact that Democrats fancy themselves as better when it comes to issues of democracy and fairness in elections, while refusing to acknowledge their own disregard for democracy, makes their statements that four more years of Trump will be the death of democracy ring hollow.
Democrats have recently pushed to remove their largest third-party rival, the Green Party, from ballots across the country. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are the most recent states to give the finger to Howie Hawkins and the progressives that support him, removing their choice from the ballot. The Democratic Party seem to worry that the Greens will act as a “spoiler ” in 2020, taking votes away from Biden, even though they only received 1,457,050 votes in 2016. When you compare the Green Party to the Libertarian Party, the spoiler with which Republicans contend and which received 4,488,931 votes the same year, it seems silly to be so concerned. Libertarians are a significantly more powerful electoral force than the Green Party, but the Republicans do not waste their time suing to remove them from ballots. The reason for this is obvious: a third-party voter is incredibly unlikely to cast a vote for the party that sued to remove their candidate from the ballot.
Republicans understand how to deal with a third party that threatens their power: by leaving them alone. You can’t vote-shame a third-party voter into a different alignment. You can’t suppress third parties out of existence. You can compromise with them, pick up some of their ideals, use their talking points and hope a reasonable number of their votes in important states go your way. However, giving those voters no option will never work. When you attack the party, you only demonize yourself in the eyes of their supporters. The Democrats would have much better luck walking the streets, knocking on doors and manning the phones to convince voters to get on board. The millions of Americans that did not vote in 2016 or 2018 are obtainable, but you have to call them. You have to knock on their doors. You have to do actual outreach. The 1.5 million Green Party voters are not worth your time. Removing their candidates from the ballot is a waste of energy, a gross display of authoritarianism and a losing strategy.
The Hofstra Chronicle