Voting for Sanders in the Primary but voting 3rd Party in the General Election

I'm going to dispute the arguments I think many socialists here believe, arguments I've heard before from other lefties, because unfortunately you didn't actually make any proper arguments and instead just kept telling /u/zellfire that they're wrong and also a liberal. Exactly the quality of comment I've come to expect from many socialists on this site, but I digress.

Clinton is really, truly awful, but I think Noam Chomsky (read on before calling him and/or me a liberal please, he's not wrong about everything) made an interesting point during the 2004 presidential race - there might not be a big difference between the candidates (Bush and Kerry at the time), but the little differences can have a huge impact on the working poor and the unemployed. It's not just conjecture either, look at the rise of food banks, NHS strain and overall poverty since the Conservatives were elected in the UK - even though Blairite Labour and the modern Tories were two sides of the same neo-liberal coin. (I'm going to mention the UK a lot here, there are a lot of parallels, and our election was only a few months ago so the political climate is still the same.)

Now, I don't think you should spoil your ballot or simply abstain. I know what you're gonna say, bourgeois democracy this, liberal that. At the end of the day though, spoiling your ballot or abstaining doesn't actually accomplish anything, further socialism or help anybody. In the recent UK general election, the bourgeois British political system, and especially the Labour party, were rocked by people voting for 3rd parties en masse, not by people abstaining or spoiling. Voter turnout/apathy got nothing more than a brief discussion on BBC political programming and maybe an article in the Guardian, just like in every other election. Sure, if voter turnout hit an incredible low, less than maybe 40%, it'd be a big deal. But that's not going to happen in either the US or the UK. With that, it seems to me there's no point in refusing to vote then, outside of sleeping better at night because you didn't participate in the joke that is Western Democracy.

Around this time, you might say 'we should vote for a third party and upset the system like the UK did', and I'd usually agree, but do you think the political climate in the US is conductive to this kind of mass protest voting? I don't. Even the less moderate candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, are members of the dominant two parties, as opposed to Nigel Farage and Nicola Sturgeon who were both 3rd party candidates in the UK elections. The two party system is obviously deeply entrenched in the American mindset, more so than in many other bourgeois democracies, and there's nothing you can do in the booth (or at home on election day, or on reddit) to change that. That change comes in the streets, talking to the people, helping the working classes (see SAlt and it's $15/hr wage) and showing them that you and your party can be relied upon to help people. It's a long way away though, and if you live in a red or blue state, then go vote for a socialist 3rd party - it doesn't matter anyway, your vote means nothing. Regardless, we're talking about swing states here.

So, the American electoral system is a total sham. The only "choice" you're given is between a racist lunatic and a neo-liberal imperialist, or you can just throw your vote away in the manner that best pleases you. Now we come back to the original point; one of these candidates is going to make your life even more miserable if you're working class, and you'll get hit especially hard if you're an immigrant, a Muslim, mentally or physically disabled, or if you're any other kind of minority. The other candidate, terrible though she is, will pretty much maintain the status quo, though things might get even worse - which is also really, really bad - they won't get Trump-level dystopian. Neither option is even close to ideal, but those are the options you're given, and one is obviously worse than the other. As Bob Dole said, "It doesn't matter which one of us you vote for, either way your planet is doomed."

For me, though, it comes down to what is best for the working class? You are correct in that both outcomes are bad for the working class. You are also correct in that voting for the lesser of two evils will not further the cause of socialism, and does not promote the interests of the working class. However, you didn't really explain how allowing Trump or Cruz to win does promote the interests of the working class, and unless you're an accelerationist, I really don't see any reason not to vote for the lesser of two evils in this case. America isn't having it's own Red October any time soon, and there's no chance in hell of a 3rd-party winning yet, so what is wrong with voting for the party that will erode working class rights the least? Socialism isn't won or lost by voting (or not) in a bourgeois democracy anyway, so you might as well vote for the candidate that won't deport, starve or kill you as quickly as the other.

Also, can we not downvote and insult people just because they disagree? This is a political subreddit for serious political discussion - simply retorting 'what the fuck is wrong with you' or repeatedly calling the other person a liberal would not be accepted in any political debate, within a party or between different parties. I understand that MLs have never been particularly good at dealing with dissenters in a civilised manner (oooh sassy), but this isn't just a single tendency, it's a common problem on this sub from socialists of all tendencies. I'm not saying we should entertain the right-wing nuts who occasionally wander in, but /u/zellfire is obviously a socialist and put forth a reasonable argument and they shouldn't be insulted and belittled. They really ought to make calling people 'liberal' a bannable offence on this sub, we should be attacking the argument, not the person making it.

/r/socialism Thread Parent