By Nelson Rosit
The Occidental Observer
September 22, 2020
LD (by way of introduction) : The subject of whether we ought to vote in the coming elections, or refrain from voting, cropped up recently on our website. My own opinion was that we should refrain from voting if our only choice was between two equally detestable candidates. That seemed to be only logical.
Here is an article that recommends the opposite: that we should vote regardless, if only to show we are taking an interest in life. The article provides no convincing reason, however, why we should force ourselves to vote for someone we dislike. “I hesitate to make a biblical reference,” the author informs us lamely, ” but we need to be in this world, but not of it.” That comment, I confessed, jarred on my nerves, with its implicit anti-religious assumption that no one quotes the Bible nowadays except a fool.
The author also makes the classic mistake of assuming that conscientious non-voters are “apathetic” when the opposite is in fact is true: there is such a thing as a passionate non-voter, too disgusted to vote in a rigged election that is a cross between a pantomime and a charade.
Feel free to give your honest opinions on this thorny issue: how can you vote when you can’t stand either candidate? How can you choose one of two dishes on the menu when you know both dishes are going to make you sick? [LD]
NELSON ROSIT: I recall having a discussion/debate decades ago with a well-respected White advocate regarding the efficacy of voting. I’m not going to mention his name because I don’t know if he still holds the same position today, but back then he claimed that participating in elections was legitimizing a perverted political order, or as another commentator put it, voting gives symbolic affirmation to the system. I believed then, however, as I do now, that voting is a worthwhile activity.
There is no doubt that our present political arrangement is malfeasant beyond reform. But is the passive resistance of non-participation in the electoral process effective? How about the old adage: silence equals assent? The establishment does take notice of voter turnout, giving lip service to promoting participation. The reality on the ground is they’re mainly concerned about motivating their own constituencies.
Even if boycotting elections sends a message that message is rather unclear. Are non-voters on the Left or on the Right? Are non-voters apathetic, or simply satisfied with the status quo? It should be noted that voter turnout in the US is already low by Western standards. About fifty to sixty percent of those eligible participate in presidential elections, and forty to fifty percent in off-year elections. Yet this low rate has not brought about beneficial political change. So nonparticipation is not an effective strategy for transformation.
A nonvoter might argue that his individual vote is insignificant, so why bother. In an election with hundreds of thousands, or even millions of votes what difference does one vote, more or less, make? Of course if everyone on our side had that attitude we would completely surrender the ballot box to the opposition. Plus low turnout can work to our benefit if we take advantage of it. Several years ago a referendum in my town had a turnout of seventeen percent. Thus mobilizing just nine percent of the electorate carried the day.
The Left appears to appreciate the efficacy of voting more than the Right. The Left is better organized and more motivated on the local level. Trump carried my city and county in 2016, yet the city council and board of education are controlled by Leftists. Shame on us for our indolence and apathy.
Another argument against voting: With no candidates worthy of support, it is tiresome to vote for the lesser of two evils. The lesser of two evils is still evil. First, it should be remembered that a ballot is not like a multiple-choice test. The voter does not have to take his best guess on every candidate for office. As long as one candidate has been selected it is a valid ballot. Vote for a third party candidate. Even if he or she does not completely reflect your views, it is still a vote against the establishment. Still no one to vote for? Most states have provisions for write-in votes that must be duly recorded.
Many years ago William Pierce made the oft repeated observation that we’re never going to vote our way out of this mess. Yet Peirce himself was a registered voter and voted in West Virginia elections. Of course what Pierce meant was that voting and electoral politics is not the solution, but it can be one part of our strategy.
Some might point to the 2016 election as an example of the futility of voting. Certainly Donald Trump has been a huge disappoint, even for someone such as myself who had a rather low expectations from the beginning. I have to believe that those who are most bitterly disillusioned had unrealistic hopes for the Trump presidency.
There were many indications during 2016 that if elected Mr. Trump would have a rough time of it. First, he ran against both the Democratic and Republican parties. Thus after his surprise victory he did not have firm control of his party in Congress. As for his own executive branch, he did not have a likeminded cadre to staff his administration. This might not have been an insurmountable problem if Trump had had patience and a firm ideological grounding. But his temperament interfered with finding and supporting strong lieutenants with administrative skills.
Trump was elected as an outsider, a businessman, a game changer. Is politics the only profession where a lack of experience is considered an asset? Reflect on Lyndon Johnson who came to the White House after thirty years as first a legislative aide, then a congressman, senator, and vice president. Johnson knew how get his agenda implemented. Who would want to fly with a neophyte pilot whose claim to fame is as an expert entomologist?
So now in 2017 Trump, without firm party backing and with limited experience, had to confront the Deep State. The term Deep State may have the whiff of conspiracy theory, but it simply refers to the permanent bureaucracy, especially the security and intel community. Any intro to political science textbook will confirm that career bureaucrats have quite a bit of discretionary authority when interpreting and implementing policy. This entrenched bureaucracy is guided by the neoliberal/neocon elite consensus. They saw the Trump administration as illegitimate, so, in coordination with the Democrats in Congress, they attempted what amounted to a not entirely unsuccessful coup attempt.
With his executive branch stonewalling and subverting his policies, with a largely hostile media and judiciary, and without the full support of his own party, it is no wonder Trump has floundered. It was naïve to believe that Trumpism could quickly take over the Republican Party whose operatives have long-standing vested interests. The party coopted Trump rather than the other way around. It is possible that a nationalist-populist ideology could take over the Republican Party, but it would take many years and much effort to accomplish.
To sum up Mr. Trump: The transformation he promised and we had hoped for in 2016 would have required a skilled and focused politician who could have rallied his party and public opinion to support the radical changes the system needs. That would have taken the determination of a revolutionary genius such as V. Lenin. In the end we received more rhetoric than action, and much of the rhetoric was not very articulate.
Did Trump energize the Left? To an extent yes, but any reassertion of White identity has and will continue to enrage the Left regardless of who is in the White House. The bottom line is this: would a Clinton administration have been better for our people? Will a Biden administration benefit our cause?
I’ve acknowledged that the system is terminally corrupt, and that electoral politics has limited capacity to effect change. Why then is it still important to vote? First, we should keep in mind that voting involves no risk, no expense, and very little effort. Thus any benefit obtained from this activity comes at a low cost. The main value in voting is derived from civic engagement. It is important for our people to stay involved in the process. Under present political and social conditions, it is easy to become discouraged and resigned to degeneracy. Our young people especially need to avoid the severe alienation that can impact their ability to function in the real world, to establish careers and families. I hesitate to make a biblical reference, but we need to be in this world, but not of it.
Participating in electoral politics can build connections and provide valuable experience. At present we cannot elect a president or senator, but how about a city councilman, school board member, or county commissioner? (One caveat: do not contribute money to establishment candidates or organizations. Our people and organizations need those funds.) Voting should be part of a broader community participation. While it is important to prepare ourselves and our families for stormy weather, we cannot retreat into a bubble or ideological ghetto. Write a well-crafted letter to the editor of your local fish wrap, join a local organization, a garden club or a gun club or both. Stay informed. If you live in an area where such opportunities are not available to you that’s strong evidence you need to move to a more congenial locale.