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News & Analysis > All
News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
Attention Amerikans: Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have the same chance of winning as Kasich and Sanders
April 21, 2016
Gary Johnson and Jill Stein don’t appear on any of the election prediction and betting sites this writer checked. However, at the time of this writing after the New York primary, u.$. presidential candidates Kasich and Sanders have exactly the same tiny chance of winning the general election (not just winning their respective party’s nomination), 1.5%. That is according to the Election Bettings Odds site based on Betfair numbers.(1) The odds may be settling on a higher or lower number. Chances can increase or decrease as June approaches.
In other words, non-Amerikan gamblers are behaving as though Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, John Kasich, and Bernie Sanders—none of whom have been nominated—and various other people such as actor Mel Gibson, all had no more than a 2% chance right now of winning the presidency. One could be infinitely many times higher than the other, but 2% and approximately 0% are both within a couple percentage points of zero. It doesn’t mean Kasich and Sanders don’t have much higher percentages of the vote in primaries, but the 1.5% chance has to do with the likelihood of winning, many things considered, not how many voters, supporters or delegates the candidate has. A candidate could have almost a majority of a category and still be highly unlikely to win, in fact have only a 1.5% chance because of what would have to happen from this point on to win.
Usually, when outcomes have probabilities that low they don’t play a big role in decision-making unless they involve extreme consequences, high stakes. It isn’t clear that militarist, warmonger Kasich or militarist, warmonger Sanders would do anything different than militarist, warmonger Cruz, Hillary and Trump regarding “ISIS” and other alleged concerns. All of them flatter the Amerikan so-called working class and middle class. All of them have problems with Muslims or Islam. All have problems, of one kind or another, with migrants. When one ignores issues of war and repression, it is easier to perceive differences as great. Even some Sanders supporters critical of Hillary Clinton have acknowledged that Amerikans don’t care about international affairs as an explanation of why Amerikans support certain candidates (or care about them in a reactionary way), without mentioning that Sanders supporters have the same problem.
Who are Gary Johnson and Jill Stein? Exactly. Most non-Amerikans can be forgiven for not knowing who Johnson and Stein are. Amerikan so-called leftists and progressives cannot play dumb at least with respect to Green candidate Stein, or they are ignorant by choice. They are aware of the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, but they and Democrats/independents/Republicans telling them what to do, and “leftists” making veiled suggestions, have been acting like supporting Kasich or Sanders will make some big difference. They are still acting like that after the primary in New York, and they were acting like that in the days and weeks before when Sanders’ and certainly Kasich’s chances weren’t that much higher. People can talk all day about why this or that candidate is good (at least for a Democrat or Republican) or has the best chance of beating another candidate, but the betting odds—as imperfect as they are— don’t lie, and the odds already represent consideration of various things and insights.
People supporting Kasich or Sanders, especially when their chances are so low, show they aren’t serious about opposing the Democratic Party and/or the Republican Party or the Amerikan political system. They show they aren’t serious about limiting u$ ability to wage war, or they would support another candidate with no chance of winning, who is calling for a budget reduction. They show they aren’t serious about democracy either. Non-Amerikans should look at this and judge accordingly. There are other underdogs with fewer problems. If the goal were to build something for the next election, that could be done with Johnson or Stein, discussing others running for the Libertarian or Green nomination, or by waiting for the Libertarians or the Greens to pick their candidate. Even if the reason is this is primary season and people just want certain candidates to be nominated by the two big parties, the chance of winning the presidency is, again, still 1.5%, or just 4-5% in Ted Cruz’s case. Also, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party have their own primaries. Allowing Democratic and Republican candidates including Sanders and Kasich to dominate in media to this extent isn’t just about trying to help Democrats and Republicans figure out who to nominate while preferring a Green or Libertarian. Many don’t even know who Johnson and Stein are, and Democratic and Republican domination in media will continue after the conventions. Several months of opportunity to talk about the Greens and the Libertarians have already come and gone.
Clinton, Trump and Cruz of course represent imperialism and anybody who ends up in the u.$. presidency would be imperialist, but the reason for preferring another candidate over Johnson or Stein could be imperialist privilege and gender privilege, including Amerikan-female gender privilege that some Amerikan females perceive Sanders as supporting. Jill Stein panders to the Amerikan labor aristocracy, too, but not to the extent Sanders does while signaling a continuation of aggressive foreign policy, existing military spending, deportations, closed borders, and repression of migrants who want to be in the united $tates more for employment and family than for the parasite-level living standards of citizens. Gary Johnson, who has eir own problems, is attractive as an underdog for some of the same and other reasons. Of course they are different and anti-imperialists may not agree with either of them ideologically or agree with most of what they have said. Most Amerikans don’t know who Johnson and Stein are, but they do know various third parties exist. Yet, they associate with the way things have been done—that is, through the two major Amerikan parties—despite grumbling about “the establishment” and dissatisfaction with the options they have in the two parties.
Fascists also have complaints about “the establishment,” “crony capitalism,” “big money” in politics, and corporations. Support for Kasich and Sanders to the exclusion of a Green or a Libertarian can actually reflect a fascist tendency. There is a phenomenon of so-called progressives in Amerika supporting both Kasich and Sanders or willing to support either, which translates into support for militarism and war, economic benefits for Amerikans at others’ expense, and a “revolution” that preserves imperialism.
To those who have made the calculation they stand to benefit economically from supporting Sanders or Kasich, this writer suggests going to a casino and wasting hours of life in front of slot machines before spending a hundred dollars on a straight-up bet in roulette. That is the kind of odds we are talking about. Or spend the money on bandages for the homeless. That would be better than supporting Kasich or Sanders when doing so has the effect of making the Democratic/Republican Party, Amerika or Amerikans look good internally and internationally. Many Kasich supporters and Sanders supporters do understand their candidate has practically no chance of winning either a nomination or the presidency, but support them anyway because of the effect of doing so in the short- and long- terms.
Even if Sanders had better chances of winning and even if turning the united $tates into a ginormous version of Denmark were possible, social-democracy in a parasitic country like the united $nakes would require closed borders and repression of migrants.(2) Supporting Sanders builds support for a future labor aristocracy “dream” ticket that is both strongly pro-equality and strongly anti-migrant as well as anti-Islam. Sanders talks about “political” revolution. It is “political” because it would leave the economy of imperialism, and imperialist power, in place.
None of this is to say that Johnson or Stein is a socialist or that they don’t represent imperialism. They do, as do various fascists calling themselves “socialist.” Johnson and Stein of course claim to belong to different political traditions. Jill Stein and the Greens have been trying to work with and win over Sanders supporters, because there is an underlying politics of sharing the spoils of war and international exploitation. Gary Johnson, who has contributed to warmongering about Muslim countries, doesn’t claim to be a socialist or imply ey is a socialist and is less confusing than Stein in some respects.(3) However, continued neglect of Johnson and Stein relative to Kasich and Sanders can build support for war and repression.
At the moment, some are saying the Greens and the Libertarians are poised to get a lot of interest when Clinton and Trump are finally nominated. If that happens, Johnson and Stein may take over from the Kasich, Sanders and Cruz campaigns in functioning to prop up Amerika’s image globally while having zero chance of winning this election. The campaigns of Kasich, Sanders and to a lesser extent Cruz have that function right now. (Among other things, support for Cruz reinforces Amerika’s “moral” image with the religious domestically and internationally.) But at the moment there is a fast-closing window of opportunity for Amerikans and observers to contemplate why it is that Amerikans prefer underdogs who offer so many bribes without talking about cutting overall military spending. Kasich is openly campaigning on a platform that includes increasing military spending by a hundred billion dollars. If there are going to be bribes, they should come with military spending cuts and intelligence spending cuts. Bribes without such cuts is just f*cked-up politics as usual or worse.
According Election Betting Odds, Trump is unlikely to win the general election (15.9%). Because of that, there should be even more willingness to let Trump hurt Amerika’s global image. Many globally dislike Clinton for the invasion and bombing of Libya, but Clinton unfortunately hasn’t offended as many people as Trump.
There are different things at play and in motion. A simple idea like “don’t vote” takes care of various problems. Politics is more than voting or supporting candidates, though, and people in the First World generally contribute to problems even in non-election areas of politics. Some of those Amerikans who can see in their own ways that Amerikans generally mess things up when they aren’t apolitical show more resolve than many of those saying positive things about Kasich, Sanders, or their supporters. Even so-called leftists criticizing both Democrats and Republicans, while flattering their supporters and not mentioning third parties, are producing appearances and building tendencies useful to imperialism. ◊
“Comrade Trump is ruining Amerika’s image globally,” 2016 April 5. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-04-06-news-Comrade-Trump-is-ruining.md
2. See: “Danish children’s rights activist fined for people trafficking,” 2016 March 11. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/11/danish-childrens-rights-activist-lisbeth-zornig-people-trafficking
3. “Plan B after Bernie,” 2016 April 19. http://isthmus.com/news/news/green-party-candidate-jill-stein-plan-b-after-bernie/ ““We reached out in many ways, [but] at this point he does not acknowledge third parties,” says Stein. She finds it ironic that Sanders has given the Greens the cold shoulder. “He’s kind of the socialist who doesn’t talk to other socialists.””