Turnout will decide Tuesday's election in NC-09.

Unlike a presidential election, in a congressional election every vote counts the same. Staying home is a vote too. Do you really think there's no difference in the candidates? Then you can't complain about the outcome. In 2016, 78,000 stay-at-homes elected Trump. So what are the differences you might care about?

Vote for a Trumpist like Dan Bishop if you believe -

  1. a good way to improve the lives of working people is to cut taxes for the very rich.
  2. a good way to improve the lives of working people is to deregulate Wall Street in order to empower it.
  3. a good way to improve the lives of working people is to pack the Federal courts with as many reactionary, pro-business judges as possible.
  4. a good way to improve the lives of working people is to abolish minimum wages that prevent low-skill people from getting jobs.
  5. your medical care is your own responsibility alone.
  6. mass shootings have nothing to do with weapons designed for mass shootings.
  7. comprehensive immigration reform would be bad for businesses that depend on illegal immigrant labor.
  8. a strong economy is based on unpredictable rapid changes of direction to confuse our enemies - and friends.
  9. a good way to improve America's security is to insult our long-time allies and embrace our long-time enemies.
  10. in saying one thing to the voters and something different to the big campaign donors, then delivering for the donors.
  11. in institutionalized minority rule.
  12. it's all about Hillary Clinton and the Squad.
  13. American government is rotten to the core and the best thing would be to tear it all down and let Wall Street run the country.
  14. there's no such thing as objective reality, facts, or logic; only your feelings matter, so you might as well accept the reality that Dear Leader feels.
  15. America is a specific place and a specific type of people.

Vote for a Democrat like Dan McCready if you believe -

  1. a good way to improve the lives of working people is to cut taxes for working people.
  2. a good way to improve the lives of working people is to preserve regulation of Wall Street in order to empower working people.
  3. a good way to improve the lives of working people is to have as many progressive, pro-labor judges in the Federal courts as possible.
  4. a good way to improve the lives of working people is to adopt a higher minimum wage.
  5. government should help make affordable medical care available to anybody who needs it.
  6. the second amendment protects your right to firearms for personal protection and hunting, not mass shootings.
  7. America would benefit from comprehensive immigration reform.
  8. a strong economy is based on predictable evolutionary change that supports planning by American business.
  9. a good way to improve America's security is to embrace our long-time allies who share our values and oppose our long-time enemies who despise our values.
  10. unlimited dark money in politics is bad for democracy.
  11. in majority rule, while respecting the rights of the minority.
  12. no members of the Squad are running in North Carolina, and Hillary Clinton is not running for any office anywhere.
  13. many people voted for Obama and then Trump in the hope of making things better, not for the purpose of tearing things down with no definite plan for improvement.
  14. there is objective external reality that operates whether we feel like it or not, and effective government seeks to understand and deal with it.
  15. American government is a work in progress whose ideals are a light to the world that can become even brighter.

Vote for a third-party or independent or stay home if you believe -

  1. There's no difference between the above choices so it doesn't matter whether Trumpists or Democrats win.

In elections that are not in doubt, go ahead and vote your conscience - it won't affect the election outcome but might be important to the viability of your third party, depending on the laws of your state. This happens to be the case in NC-03, which is also having a special election on 10 September 2019, which everybody expects will be won by the Trumpist candidate. Political polling is not as accurate as rocket science, but it's advanced enough and the polls consistent enough that you can take them to the bank: NC-03 will be won by the Trumpist, and NC-09 will be won by the Trumpist or the Democrat. What polling can't tell is which of the two will win in NC-09.

So in elections that are a tossup between a Trumpist and a Democrat, voting for neither, or not at all, is an abdication of moral responsibility. Like it or not, "decline to vote for the lesser evil" might end up helping the greater evil win - just as if that voter had voted for the greater evil. Is that really what you want?

Greens and stayathomes made the difference between Gore and Bush, and Clinton and Trump. Do the Greens feel their cause was better served under a Republican than a Democrat?

One has to feel a bit sorry for traditional Republicans who are not Trumpists. The Trumpist train has left the station, taking for itself the name and structure of the Republican party. Take it from Brad Parscale - "The Trumps will be a dynasty that lasts for decades".

But not every Trumpist was pleased.

Traditional Republicans thought of the party as a party of ideas - not a cult of personality. Particularly - the defining idea of liberty, especially economic liberty - as opposed to the Democrat's defining idea of justice, especially economic justice.

There isn't any defining idea of Trumpism - loyalty is to a person rather than an ideal. Trumpists zig when Trump zigs and zag when he zags.

Traditional Republican politicians know now that if they exercise any independence from Trumpist thinking, they will be challenged from the right in the next primary. So some of them are giving up. It's tough being a minority within a minority party. And what if there is a recession before the election? Many Trumpist voters might be the most loyal in history, but Trumpist politicians, being opportunists like him, will jump off a train that seems headed for a wreck.

And the traditional Republican voters who are not Trumpists are left standing on the station. They don't want to vote for a Trumpist, and they don't want to vote for a Democrat. But voting for neither helps the ultimate winner - who can't be predicted in advance - that's why it's a tossup. Voting for neither is morally equivalent to voting for the ultimate winner. Your vote might have been the one that made a difference in who was elected. Is that really what you want?

If what you really want is to enable third-party and independent candidates to participate more meaningfully in American politics, that's a very worthwhile long term structural project - you need to learn about ranked-choice voting and sore-loser laws -

But don't use that as an excuse to be irresponsible on September 10. Why I don't register as Libertarian or Green any more.

Another very worthwhile long term structural project is to figure out how to build a lasting coalition around liberty and justice.

Resources on partisan issues

  1. Taxes
  2. Deregulation -
  3. Judiciary -
  4. Minimum wage.
  5. Medical care.
  6. Second amendment.
  7. Immigration.
  8. Economics.
  9. Foreign
  10. Campaign contributions.
  11. Minority rule.
  12. The Squad.
  13. Chaos.
  14. Reality -
  15. America is an idea and an ideal.

More from political scrapbook -

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