You misunderstand my position completely.
As a non political example. I have friends who have businesses that need strategic advice. While I might truly believe in them, if I look at their business and understand that it will not not grow or will not gain in the way they are projecting, I have to make the best decision for the advice I provide them. Do I advise them to put money in a project that they really like or do I make the best judgment that I can and recommend what I believe is best for their business. History has shown the second answer, while not popular is the best way to go.
In the political world, I truly believe we need more parties. I want the greatly as we need more choice, and more diverse debate than the two parties we have. I work to make that happen by financially supporting Independent and Libertarian candidates and parties at the grassroots levels. I have done so for 35 years.
Now, to voting on the National election [or a state election for that fact]. You suggest that it is irresponsible to vote for a candidate that you do not believe in. I infer from that that I should only vote for a candidate that I truly believe in. Let's look at my decision making now.
I want to do what is best for the COUNTRY [in my opinion]. I take that vote very seriously. I have missed just one primary or general election since I have been allowed to vote and it involved a trip out of country that extended.
My PRIME Criterion is "what is best for my Country [in my opinion]", I have to look at the candidates and weigh all the positions and what the balance is. That decision has had me vote Democratic or Republican, depending on the totality of circumstance throughout the 40 voting years.
Using that criterion, and knowing the statistical probabilities of a third party candidate doing anything more than receiving 5% of the popular vote and 0% of the Electoral College I find it irresponsible to place a vote for that candidate. It serves NO purpose to my Country, it serves no purpose to that candidate and it serves no purpose toward gaining a "third Party" foothold [If 1992 is an indication]. Using that criterion I have to make a decision that will make my vote actually count. And, at this point in time that means, voting for one of the two primary party candidates. Only they have the infrastructures in place to pull in 55-60 million votes and only they have the infrastructure to build a coalition between the White House and Congress, necessary to get work done.
If there was a legitimate Independent or Libertarian candidate, with a legitimate organized party running, I would imagine I would be one of his/her most vocal supporters. But sadly that is just not the case and while I respect anyone who votes their conscience, I truly believe that voting third party in today's political arena is simply a spoiler tact, intentionally or not.
On the contrary, I think I nailed your position precisely. While you make it sound quite noble above, you have been assimilated into the machine. If you will not consider voting for a candidate that you agree with because the machine has marginalized them, they will forever stay in the margin. It takes money to organize, takes votes to get money, a vicious cycle, the chicken and the egg thing. These days, money gets votes, and while I know that is unlikely to change, that ain't the way it is supposed to be. It is why our two major parties are bought and paid for, and the folks who own them don't have a reason to fund any extra parties. The first move towards legitimacy is with us.
So, while I expect that Obama still matches up with your thinking, if you are telling me that you would not vote for a third party candidate whose positions you agree with because, ultimately, they are not part of the machine, I think you are very very wrong.
The Borg Collective