General Question

phaedryx's avatar

Democrats, liberals, independents: would you vote for Sarah Palin in a primary as a political strategy to further your cause?

Asked by phaedryx (6126points) December 31st, 2010

It would be along the same lines as Rush Limbaugh urging people to vote for Hillary Clinton.

The idea is this: you vote for the candidate that you think is the least electable to prolong the primaries, cause more divisions among your opponents, and if your candidate actually wins the primaries, they are unlikely to win in the general election.

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47 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

I would want to kill myself if she actually became the president.

filmfann's avatar

The danger there is you give the candidate viablity. People will think she is electable because she got a lot of primary votes.
No, I would never vote for a candidate like that. Imagine if your candidate was suddenly caught in a sex scandal. The other candidate could win it all by people voting against your horse.

wundayatta's avatar

Liberals aren’t as Machiavellian as conservatives. Or perhaps they are too naive. I don’t know. But I can’t imagine more than a few of them voting strategically like this, especially, since they’d have to reregister as Republicans.

Also, remember Ralph Nader? Who did he bring us? Bush II? I’ve blocked it out of my mind. Anyway, everyone knew it could happen—voting for Nader could throw the election to the conservatives, and they did it anyway. And threw the election. And now we are where we are now, dug deep in a hole that Obama is only managing to get us out of (a little) with a herculean effort.

filmfann's avatar

@wundayatta That is exactly the kind of response that makes you so valuable here!

phaedryx's avatar

@wundayatta Many states have open elections or allow unaffiliated voters to vote in their primaries; no need to register as Republican. Others make joining or leaving the Republican party as easy as filling out a form on a website.

wundayatta's avatar

@phaedryx I know. But that’s not the case in many other states, such as mine.

I wonder if making changes in party registration easy makes a difference? I know that in the last election a lot of people came over to the Democratic party to vote, but it’s not clear if that’s because the party made a difference, or that’s the only way they could vote for Obama (or Clinton). I also don’t know whether they actually made any difference in the election.

phaedryx's avatar

What about the situation in the last election where Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucus and then fizzled out? It was enough to put McCain over Romney.

I should be more clear about the strategy: you vote for the spoiler in each stage of the primaries to split the campaign funds and cause infighting. If a candidate is “becoming viable” you wouldn’t vote for them.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta My father switched to democrat after being a Republican for 40 years. He finally came to the realization the Republicans are hijacked by the Christian Right, and even though he is independent minded at this point, his state only allows a person to vote in the primaries within their party, so he went Democrat to have what he figured was some infkuence on who would likely become president.

phaedryx's avatar

@wundayatta Total speculation question for you: do you think the Republicans will outmaneuver the Democrats and win the next presidential election?

Sarcasm's avatar

Politics are already dirty enough. I don’t plan on doing anything to make them even dirtier. So I won’t do any deceitful voting.
Besides, I’d have to register as a Republican in order to vote in the Republican Primaries here in CA. And, quite frankly, fuck that.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Hilliary Clinton is educated and has leadership ability. Sarah Palin attended 5 colleges before graduating with a communications degree, quit her elected job, and and her personal ideology is closely aligned with those who believe there were unicorns on the ark.

I’m not seeing a correlation here, except that they both gave birth.

SuperMouse's avatar

No I would not. I believe that Mr. Al Franken has the final word on Rush Limbaugh.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Voting is a political act, so I don’t think it is unacceptable to play politics with your vote. And since I live in an open primary state, this is a very real issue for me (especially since I am not a member of any political party). Still, I’ve never tried to help my preferred candidate by attempting to get him or her an easier opponent. If there’s anything I desire politically above all else, it’s an election cycle centered on the issues. Yes, yes—I’m a foolish dreamer. But I’d love to see two strong candidates who were smart and willing to engage one another on issues other than “your ten cent tax on titanium goes too far” vs. “your ten cent tax on titanium doesn’t go too far enough.”

If I were to vote for someone other than my preferred candidate in a primary, then, it would be for the opponent I most respected. And that would never be Sarah Palin.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@BarnacleBill The connection between Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton is that the opposing side each assumes that the other is unelectable. Limbaugh thought that Clinton would never win a general election, so he wanted people to vote for her in the primary to guarantee a Republican victory in the general. The question, then, is about the wisdom of Democrats adopting a parallel strategy regarding Sarah Palin.

Jaxk's avatar

Your question implies that Hilary was not a viable candidate. Not true. Hilary was actually more likely to win than Obama at that point. The push to get her on the ticket was not to put an unpopular person on the ballot but rather to put a more acceptable candidate on the ballot.

Right or wrong, I believe that if Hilary had won we would be in much better shape today. I still don’t agree with her on most issues but she isn’t nearly as radical as Obama and therefore would have been a lot easier to tolerate. The push was to get two viable candidates on the ticket rather than to get a loser nominated. But the question shows the lengths to which Democrats will go to skew an election.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I wish it had been Hillary, because I think she would have been more “radical” than Obama.

phaedryx's avatar

@Jaxk No, that’s not what I’m saying or implying at all. Hmm. Let me clarify.

At the time, there were two major candidates, Clinton and Obama. Rush Limbaugh thought that Clinton was less electable, and to keep her in the primaries it would weaken the Democrat position overall, so he urged conservatives to vote for her; McCain had already won the primaries for the Republicans.

In 2012, Obama will be the Democrat’s presidential candidate, but the Republican choice will be determined by primaries. Democrats already know who their choice is, so they could influence the Republican primaries without worrying about their own. My question is if liberals/democrats/independents/whoever would actually do that.

wilma's avatar

No I wouldn’t do it, but I know many people who do.
I had a lot of Democrats bragging to me about voting for McCain in the primary, so that Romney wouldn’t win. They figured that Romney was more electable in the general election than McCain was.

filmfann's avatar

@phaedryx Season One of Survivor: Kelly wins the final elimination challenge. She can get rid of one of her two competitors: Richard (the evil) or Rudy (the quiet Marine). She agonized over the choice. She had the chance to deny one of them the $1,000,000 prize.
She picked Rudy, figuring it would be harder to beat him than Richard.
The result was Richard won the money. She picked to face the worst one, and in the end he walked away with the winnings. She could have stopped it, but she used your strategy.
Of course in the end, Richard went to jail for not declaring his winnings.
I love happy endings.

phaedryx's avatar

@filmfann That’s a different scenario though. If she would have chosen Rudy, she would have lost. She had made enemies. It turned out that she was unpopular enough to lose even to the “evil” one.

In current polling, Obama is popular enough to handily beat Sarah Palin; against Romney or Huckabee it isn’t so clear.

What if, instead, the ones who had been voted off got to choose at each stage who would go up against her in the end?

CaptainHarley's avatar

That’s just being as manipulative as those who donate millions in “soft money.” I, for one, am sick unto death of political chicanery!

Paradox's avatar

I never heard of that strategy but I wouldn’t want to take the chance of my single vote being a factor in someone being elected I would never want to win. Things like that tend to backfire on me.

ragingloli's avatar

What if she then actually wins?
I think 2 World Wars are sufficient.

MrItty's avatar

I don’t think I’d be able to live with myself if I did that and she ended up winning the general election.

phaedryx's avatar

@Paradox, @ragingloli, @MrItty was if it were someone besides Sarah Palin? Someone you could stomach but has little chance of winning? (I dunno, like Ron Paul?)

Jaxk's avatar


Listen to yourself. Rush Limbaugh thought. That’s quite the assumption. Frankly I wanted Hilary to win the primary for the precise reasons I stated. I believe it is in our best interest to have the two best candidates to choose from. It means a loss is not a disaster, just less than what you really wanted. I believe that Rush thinks so too. Although I have to admit I don’t really know what is in that black bastards heart. He made no bones about saying that Obama was his worst nightmare (mine too).

Overall, play your games if you desire but be aware that when you try to play these mind games, they tend to backfire. It’s not just your future your playing with, we all have a stake. Cheaters never win and winners never cheat. OK that’s not iron clad but you get the point.

Paradox's avatar

@phaedryx I would vote for Ron Paul in a heartbeat. Ron Paul and Sarah Palin are worlds away from each other. I’m not ‘liberal’ but I’ve responded here. Maybe I should try this strategy out and vote for Hillary Clinton.

CaptainHarley's avatar


As would I! As a matter of fact, I’ve already changed my “Independent” status to that of “Liberterian.” : )

Paradox's avatar

@CaptainHarley I’ve switched from Republican to Independent then back to Republican (to vote for Paul). I thought about switching from Republican to Libertarian. Ron Paul runs as a Republican however so there would be no voting for him unless he made it to the general elections.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jaxk Limbaugh was quite explicit about what he thought, and the question only uses his comments as an example anyway. Quit scooching the jelly.

ragingloli's avatar

I could totally stomach Ron Paul, but I would not vote for him unless there was no suitable candidate on my side, and certainly not as part of some insidious political strategy.

MrItty's avatar

@phaedryx probably not. I mean, in my mind, anyone who has a shot to win the primary has a shot to win the general. Someone like Ron Paul doesn’t have a chance of winning the primary whether I give my vote or not, so it would seem like a waste of time. So it’s either waste my time on something truly ineffective, or take a large risk of doing serious damage. Neither circumstance is appealing.

wundayatta's avatar

@phaedryx Pure speculation, eh? Well, anything I say now is completely meaningless as anything other than trash talk. I do think that Obama has had a great number of successes in the last month. But I don’t know if there is any glow from that as far as the people are concerned. The Rasmussen Tracking Poll shows the trend has turned and his approval rating is rising while his disapproval rating is falling. Is this a response to his recent success? I hope so. Will it prove to be a robust trend? I hope so, but I wouldn’t venture to say.

The problem these days, it seems to me, is that people expect things instantly. It’s kind of an internet effect. The California cliffs fall into the ocean? The government better be there tomorrow, shoring things up and dropping new houses from helicopters. Seriously. That’s what people expect, it seems to me. A President has no room to move. It must be here, now.

I don’t think any President can stand up to that. However, there is one other thing that matters a lot, and that is employment and the economy. If the economy starts to improve, and people believe they feel the difference, then suddenly they get all fuzzy-wuzzy with the president.

So, if the current trends keep going—the economy improves at increasingly faster rate, and Obama capitalizes on his strength and can get the Congress to continue to work with him, so he looks like a moderate and a can-do guy, then he’ll win in 2012. If I were a betting man, I’d bet on that, with the caveat that a major disaster could change things right around, and a war could make people solidify behind him if he looks strong.

Two years is a long time in politics. Hell, so is two months. It is astonishing how quickly things can change.

Taciturnu's avatar

No. My vote is simply far too precious to throw away for the sake of strategy.

jerv's avatar

Let me put it this way; there are enough people trying all sorts of things like “Nominate Palin so the Dems can win” or “Lets throw a third-party spoiler into the tight race and hope Gore loses” mixed in with the radicals like me who vote for who they actually want in office that I am no longer sure if voting even really matters.

Too many people playing too many games… I almost think that people either are unaware that the stakes are real and that elections are not just a game or people don’t give half a squirt of rat piss any more. Then again, too many people on all sides get too uppity about politics for me to be totally convinced of the latter, so that means that people really are treating real-life as a low-sakes game.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Taciturnu In principle, I agree with you. But to an extent, we all strategize with our vote. It’s just that most of us have a straightforward strategy: vote for the person we want to win. We have multiple political concerns, however, which is why Nader voters in 2000 and 2004 were asked which was more important: voting for someone who had no chance of winning or voting for someone who could beat Bush. I disagree with those who say that Nader stole Gore’s votes. Candidates don’t own votes, they earn them. What matters, then, is the quality of the strategy; and we agree that this one isn’t very high quality at all.

Jaxk's avatar

May this really is the answer. All the Republicans should vote in the Democratic primary for the least likely candidate and all the Democrats can vote in the Republican primary for the least likely candidate. That way we end up with two totally useless candidates. But at least the other side doesn’t win either. We’re all losers but at least we get what we deserve.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I thought that all we had were totally useless candidates :/

SavoirFaire's avatar


“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”
— George Bernard Shaw

Jaxk's avatar


They don’t all start out that way. We make them that way. See @SavoirFaire ‘s post.

Taciturnu's avatar

@SavoirFaire I certainly understand the idea of doing it for strategy. My answer still stands, though.

If there were a third party candidate who I liked better that was not considered one of the viable two candidates we typically come down to, I may vote for the third party, or I may vote for one of the two candidates. I would still never vote for the person I did not like. I consider that game playing with a system that already has way too many games being played.

To me, it detracts from the straight forward and honest system we intended and have lost lives to preserve.

I suppose it’s a matter of ethics.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Taciturnu Then I think we agree: we’re not against strategy, but particular strategies. Specifically, we dislike strategies that we see as ultimately harmful to a system we wish to perpetuate and improve.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Hell no. I would rather drown myself in a vat of moose mucous, before I ever cast a vote from that vapid, money-grubbing, clueless, animal-hating harpy.

nosferatu27's avatar

I shudder to think of Sarah Palin as president of anything.

philosopher's avatar

No she is a moron.
She has less intelligence than most Politicians. She is a danger to the future of research and Science.
I pray she reaps exactly what she sows and learns what it is like to need help for a disease that is incurable.
Fascism is immoral and she is a fascist idiot.
She deserves an award for being a lousy mother too.
Having an illegitimate grandchild is not something to be proud of. It demonstrates that she was not a decent mother.
It makes me physically ill that a women in the twenty first century supports the reactionary philosophies she does.

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