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The Agony of Being a First Time Undecided Voter


The Agony of Being a First Time Undecided Voter

Steven Singer

Is there anyone else out there like me?

I’ve never been an undecided voter before. I’ve always known early which candidate I’m supporting and why.

But this election has my head spinning. One minute I’m ready to vote for Hillary Clinton to stop Donald Trump. The next I can’t live with myself if I do that and am willing to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein even though she has very little chance of winning.


If we need a revolution and Bernie can't give us one by becoming President, who else but Trump can?


Not Trump. Duh.


Third parties have had limited success because of the self fullfilling prophesies that too many US voters perpetuate.

Vote Green and the party will grow. Greens hold 10% of the seats in the German Bundestag. All it took was the voters' will to make that happen.



If you really believe that taking another dive will somehow produce positive results, then by all means, take another dive. Vote for Clinton. And watch the USA and the world continue accelerating toward utter catastrophe.

That said, it's not so much about your vote. It's about your life. If voting for President is the path toward the future, we're screwed. Vote with your life. Do not support things that you do not support! For example, do not pay taxes that go to charter schools. Or on another note, do not pay taxes that go toward "upgrading" the bloated nuclear arsenal of the "sole superpower."

i know, it's so much easier to just vote, and pretend that a President will "lead" us. Actually refusing to go along with crimes of looting or crimes of war is so much more risky!

But please show us the "political revolution" that dis-empowered a rampant looting and warmaking cabal, by a vote.


Germany also has a different political system than the US. There are deeper structural and institutional roadblocks to getting a party represented in Congress than in the Bundestag.


Well, it isn't really as simple as that!

The Green Party actually had candidates for the Bundestag.


Although Singer considers leaving a ballot blank as an option, that should never be done except where only one candidate is on the ballot. If there are two or more candidates, all undesirable, for an office, voters should mark the write-in box to eliminate the opportunity for tampering in the chain of custody of the ballot.


Perhaps other parties would grow if we could plant seeds in folks' minds that it is possible for them to win.

Language can be a powerful tool. I always refer to the parties who are not the "two parties" as "alternative parties." Third party in a two party system is a specious connection. The use of "alternative party" opens up the mind and thus possibility. Of course accomplishing it is a whole different beast.

That said, this voter is no different than millions of other long-time voters, except it's pretty clear he'll vote for Clinton. This whole piece is a rationalization to vote for her.


A Clinton victory will lead to more choices just like the one we have now. Somehow we have to stop this cycle. Trump is clearly not an option for most of the people visiting this site. I personally feel he will be totally ineffective and more of an embarrassment than anything, but there's no guarantee of that, and I understand why many don't feel that way, fear him viscerally, and would vote for almost anyone else as a preferred option. Another option is to just throw up one's hands and give up, not vote, figuring our nation is beyond help and collapse is inevitable. I, personally, will vote for Stein, hoping that if enough people do so it will not only send a symbolic message but will also position the Green party as a viable third option in the future. If we don't start voting for some third party in large numbers this will never happen. It sucks that positive change can't happen this November (especially b/c it probably needs to) but a slow laborious change is better than no change at all.


What concerns me the most- and by the way great article, Steve- is that this "symbolic" vote might bring us not just four or more years of Trump; it will bring us his Supreme Court picks who will be around much longer than that, plus a whole bunch of crackpot laws and such that will take years to overturn. I totally agree with Steve in his writing, as I too am just as frustrated, confused, and undecided as he is.


It really doesn't matter much whether Trump or Clinton is elected - the corporados, Pentagoons and all the other oppressors of the 99% would be richly served in either case.

How then is a vote for the Greens a wasted vote?
That vote would reject the dictatorship by the duopoly and help build the Green Party for 2018 and beyond.

Dump the dismal duopoly.
Jill Stein for president.


I’m voting my conscience: Jill Stein. I feel Trump and Hillary Clinton are both morally abhorrent.

You say (my bold):

“ I’ll vote Stein and go back to bed only to wake up an hour later with grave doubts about letting Trump win and how he’ll destroy the fabric of the country.”

Is a dictatorship possible in this country? Are the checks and balances completely gone---- if so, then the “fabric” of the u.s. is already destroyed even without Trump.

Even if Trump could have carte blanche . . . the “fabric” that you speak of is tainted as it was stitched together via slavery and genocide. I'm not getting the sense that ole HRC is going to make amends and heal the problematic (to say the least) foundation of this country.


From article:

Even the most forceful modern presidents, however, quickly discover the limits of what they can do.

"It's not that he can come in, start with a clean sheet of paper," said Andrew Card, who worked for the last three Republican presidents, including 5 1/2 years as George W. Bush's chief of staff. Congress, the courts and the bureaucracy of federal agencies guard their own prerogatives.”

"Governors tend to understand that better than CEOs," who have far more authority over their companies than a president has over the government, Card said.
"When you're the president, you're not a dictator."


Thanks for the essay, Steven.
When I reached your moment back in the '90s, I went with my conscience. I've never regretted it.


On July 31, 2016, how can you be Sane and an "Undecided Voter" at the Same Time?


Trump's would be the wrong revolution.


The link you have provided lists states where Stein is and is not on the ballot.

Whether "there are Green candidates all over the place" or not, the fact remains that the Greens have no presence in Congress.

I would be delighted if I were to be proven wrong and by some miracle, Stein were successful. But even so, she would have a tough time getting anything done with a Congress in which she would have few allies.

When the Greens focus on developing a credible presence at the state level, they will stand a better chance of success at the national level.


How could anyone vote for Hillary after she stole the nomination? And Bernie delegates were mistreated during the convention (YouTube is full of examples), denied access and seating, their voices were drowned out by white noise masking and their floor presence edited out of mainstream media with camera angles and green screen tricks. Now the Wicked Witch is pivoting towards her base (Wall St. and the Military-Industrial Complex) and she must be stopped. Most Bernie Backers I know are going to vote Green up and down the ticket, and that's great. But a vote for Jill Stein is nothing more than a protest vote, since she is being frozen out of mainstream media and the election apparatus is rigged against her, just as it was for Bernie. I want to defeat Clinton, so I'm voting for Trump. Four years of Trump won't be all bad -- he'll at least try to pull us out of our many endless wars and "free trade" screws.


Many readers here have been often asking why there have been no pro-Stein articles this season. Perhaps this article is an answer to this.

Don't get confused, however: "No clear path to victory," is really the same argument as "lesser of two evils." It means in no way should you vote for somebody who doesn't seem to be able to win, leaving only the evil candidates left to vote for. Here are some problems with using this argument.

  1. This was one of Bernie's major obstacles in the primary season. People who said they thought he was great wouldn't vote for him, because he didn't have a "clear path to victory." But it's the primaries. There's no spoiling in the primaries, so the argument, prior to the convention, doesn't make any sense.

  2. As Carlin pointed out, if we're screwed anyway, there's no point in voting for someone who does have a "clear path to victory". Thus if you vote at all, there must be some other reason than to try to elect the person you'd vote for. Possibly, thumbing your nose at the two evil candidates, or showing the public that the Greens are worth voting for in future elections and more local offices, so the next time (or for some offices, this time) they really do have a clear path to victory."

  3. If you spoil the vote for Hillary, maybe the next Dem candidate will wake up and realize they can't continue to ignore us.


Steven, I feel your pain. I too have had sleepless nights this past week, though the cause was slightly different. I watched the DNC convention and followed both progressive and MSM to see how it would be portrayed. And I am literally sick to my stomach.

We've been given the "opportunity" to vote for a woman who embraces horrific policies and who needed to bring in "supporters" to refill the auditorium after the DNC locked out ALL of Bernie's volunteers after just a few hours so they couldn't add their voices of dissent. There's much more awfulness that occurred in Philadelphia, but for me, the refusal to even listen to dissent (no Sanders delegates were allowed a microphone) has discredited HRC and was a complete betrayal of what used to at least pretend to be a democracy.

I can't vote for Trump, for all the reasons we know. However, at least the repubs did not subvert the will of their constituents. Yes, they wanted to, and they even tried. But in the long run, their constituents decided who they would nominate. Not true for dems.

Trump will not be able to implement most of his agenda. Hillary will hit the streets running to enact her vision of more war and more corporate power. She doesn't need congress (these days) to approve her foreign policy. And her domestic policy will flounder for years in that same congress.

ANY third party vote is a loud protest - one that needs to get louder. Even if there is no path to victory, it is absolutely a protest. I believe that the protest over this cycle will be much larger than any agreement as to the validity of the major party candidates.It may not come out in voting - we are, after all, a fear-based culture. But when both major parties put forth the most despised politicians and ask to to pick one, my vote is HELL NO.