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by David Courtney

My name is David Courtney, and I am running for Texas Senate (SD17) under the Green Party. I know that you must be thinking to yourself, “He’s not going to win, so why should I vote for him?” The short answer is that your vote is not about winning, but about influencing public policy.

Here are the reasons why you should vote for me and every other Green on the ticket.

Let us start with the basics. Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are only interested in one thing; winning elections. This means putting out rhetoric to get votes but passing legislation that only benefits large corporations and special interests groups. It will not benefit you!

When you vote for either the Democratic or Republican Candidate, you are giving a strong message which says “Business-as-usual is OK.” If this is not the message that you intend, you are wasting your vote.

I feel that most of you are dissatisfied with the status quo. If you phone or write your representatives, you will get a polite brushoff. They do not care what you think, because they know that it really has nothing to do with them being re-elected. If you become disheartened and stop voting, then your views will certainly not be considered.

However, every vote for a third party sends chills down the spine of the political establishment. Just as certain states receive an inordinate amount of attention because they represent “battleground States”, third party voters receive a special attention.

So why do third party voters receive this special attention? Today’s elections are routinely won and lost with margins of two and three percent. Therefore, a third party candidate who gets five percent on a full race, really causes the political elite to take notice. It represents an untapped voter potential that they want.

This is why voting third party is the best way to see that your voice will be heard. But simply voting for any third party is not sufficient. It is also important what kind of message you send.

This is where ideology comes into the picture.

The Libertarian Party is also a third party, and is also on the ballot. But there are very good reasons why you should vote for the Green Party.

In the last few decades the Texas GOP, has moved so far to the right that they have completely detached themselves from reality. As the Republican party shifted rightwards, the Democratic Party also moved further to the right. This was to occupy the area of the political spectrum that was vacated by the Republican Party. The presumption is that anyone who is near right, centre, or left will automatically vote Democratic.

This is a tactical move which is intended to win elections, but this is a terrible move from the standpoint of developing public policy. When our public debate only encompasses right and ultra right wing positions, public discourse suffers. It is like a debate where two people are arguing as to whether the earth is flat and square like a table or flat and round like a disk. Someone needs to be in the debate arguing that perhaps the earth is spherical.

This is where voting for the Libertarian party has its limitations. By their own admission, the Libertarian Party avoids left/right identifications, but concentrates on the authoritarian/libertarian dimension of political ideology. But everyone knows that Texas Libertarians have strong right wing tendencies, especially in economic matters. Therefore, it is important that the Green’s left of centre position be added to the public debate, and voting Green is the only way for this to happen.

Don’t waste your vote. Vote the Green Party. Let your voice be heard for a change.

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