A Voting Strategy for Arab and Muslim Americans

By Sam Husseini

The vast majority of Arabs and Muslims totally disagree with McCain/Palin and Obama/Biden on the issues many of them care most about. But they will likely on election day vote for one or the other. Most of the independent and third party candidates are far closer to the views of Arabs and Muslims on foreign policy issues.

People — in the same family — will be divided. One voting for Obama/Biden, another voting for McCain/Palin. One thinks Obama/Biden is a little better, so she votes and hopes. Another thinks McCain/Palin is a little better, so he votes for them, and hopes. Divide and conquer. Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, parents and children, cousins and uncles. All cancelling each other out. Voting for people who mean them ill.

This is silly.

The Arab and Muslim communites should vote their convictions by voting for independent and third party candidates: Ralph Nader (Independent), Cynthia McKinney (Green) and Bob Barr (Libertarian) have been critical of U.S. foreign policy in ways that most Arabs and Muslims — and others in the U.S. who are attuned to the horrors of U.S. policy — would find most in concert with their own views.

The solution is for would-be Obama voters and would-be McCain voters to team up. This works best if they are in the same family or friends or know and trust each other. They can both vote for the third party of their choice. They can vote for different candidates or for the same candidate. They don’t change the balance between the establishment parties, but they build a block and send a strong message by helping build up candidates who are critical of U.S. foreign policy. I outline this at VotePact.org.

Insteed of cancelling each other out, the voters double their voice. The key is the personal relationship and trust.

The Arab American and Muslim communities are hardly the only ones that could do this. The most obvious other example is the Latino community, especially with Matt Gonzolez as Ralph Nader’s running mate and Rosa Clemente as Cynthia McKinney’s.

-Sam Husseini is the founder of VotePact.org. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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