Lessons in the Political Duopoly

My oldest child was telling me about how he is going to vote for Romney in his elementary school election.  My youngest said he was voting for O’Romney.  Of course, he was just confused about the name of the Republican candidate; he’s very young so it was an innocent mistake.  But perhaps he had a higher wisdom in mixing the two names up since it is hard to see a difference sometimes between these two candidates (see the 3rd debate) and the two major parties!

Anyway . . . I asked my oldest son if he had considered voting for Gary Johnson instead.  He said, “Who is Johnson?” despite having met the man and watched me talk with Johnson for a decent stretch at one of the Porcupine Festivals.  I’ll forgive him his short memory.  When I explained who Johnson was and noted he wanted to maximize individual freedom compared to the other candidates, he was intrigued.  However, he then informed me that he could only vote for Obama or Romney.  I asked why and he said they were the only two on the ballot.  I noted that he should ask his teacher about it but that will probably only give him his first lesson in the political duopoly in the United States.  For those who don’t like what a good friend of mine calls “the binary,” you can be further depressed about how early it gets locked in.  But then again, what would we expect in a first-past-the-post electoral system if Duverger’s Law is correct?  So, sorry son, get used to it.  

Like Reason magazine, I hope that we’ll be able to discuss our votes here in the next two weeks.  Of course, I’m more interested in peoples’ pairwise preferences between the two major party candidates than their (expressive) votes.

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