I’ve made it clear that I cannot support the Democratic and Republican nominees for President of the United States. If you support one of them, it’s OK. I really do understand. Both of them have policies that are appealing. And I really do understand the underlying fear that both parties have relentlessly stoked during this political cycle. I won’t condemn you for voting one way or another. I might not agree with you, but I understand. I honestly do.
I also understand the “lesser of two evils” argument. Some of you have chosen to follow this path. You believe that both Hillary and The Donald are horrible choices. The majority of the United States voting population agrees with you. But as you’ve analyzed this decision, you believe that one candidate is horrible and the other is only slightly less horrible. So you’ve decided to vote for the slightly less horrible candidate so the horrible candidate does not become President. I understand that dilemma. And I understand your choice. That major party candidate you don’t want to become President? I don’t want that person to win, either. I promise you that.
I almost chose this side. This Summer, I watched bits and pieces of the Republican National Convention and wasn’t very thrilled with what I heard and saw. And the I watched the Democratic National Convention. I listened to Tim Kaine. Having lived on the border of Virginia, I was familiar with him and his policies. I listened anyway. He invited disgruntled Republicans to consider joining them because there was room for them in the Democratic Party. It sounded appealing. A Big Tent Party sounds like a beautiful thing. So I cracked open that door just a little bit. Mrs. Clinton slammed that door shut in her acceptance speech. She and her running mate could talk a good talk, but it was made very clear that there is no room for someone like me in their party.
I’ve decided to abandon the major parties during this presidential election. Because it’s pretty clear they’ve abandoned me. It’s pretty clear that many other Americans feel abandoned, too. That’s what happens when you nominate the two most unpopular candidates in American history. I will not accept the false dichotomy that has been presented to the American public. I wish more voters felt the same. Because we are going to keep getting awful candidates if we accept the idea that we only have two choices.
“But, why do you want to throw your vote away like that?”
I’ve heard this argument a lot. In fact, I used to believe this argument. I have toyed around with voting Third Party for several years. I just couldn’t get over the notion that my vote wouldn’t matter. I realize now that I was wrong.
First of all, to the people who are making this claim, how dare you?
How dare you tell people it’s their civic responsibility to participate in the electoral process and then say that their votes don’t matter because they don’t agree with yours?
Are you telling me that some votes matter more than others? I realize within the context of the Electoral College, this really is the case. But this isn’t what you’re saying when you accuse me of throwing my vote away. You’re telling me that some votes are more equal than other votes. And that’s not OK?
Sounds like you’re trying to rig the system. That’s deplorable.
Voting for a non-major party is hardly throwing my vote away. Not voting at all would be throwing my vote away. Staying home – that’s how you throw away your vote. Voting is a right that I do not take lightly. I’ve spoken with people who live in countries where they do not have this freedom to choose our government. It’s a right I do not take lightly. Nor should any of us. Staying home and ignoring your civic responsibility to vote is throwing your vote away. Throwing support behind a candidate who is not a member of a major party? That just might be the most American thing you can do. After all, we say we’re big fans of the underdog. Right?
Besides, we aren’t gambling here. I don’t win any type of prize by voting for the winning candidate. The point of participating in the election process is to support a candidate, not necessarily to team up with the winning side. If I believe in a candidate and the candidate’s platform, does it really matter if anyone else votes for that person? I have nothing to lose by voting for the person with whom I agree.
I get it. We love winners. We probably love winners more than we love the underdog. That’s why there are so many bandwagon fans in the sports world.
But this isn’t sports. It’s our government. So how dare you say I’m throwing my vote away.
How. dare. you?
“Ok, why not just vote down ticket and skip voting for President?”
That’s one way to say you’re dissatisfied with the candidates. And I did that in the Primary. But I cannot do that during this election. Because my silence does nothing. Nobody hears my voice. Because I don’t use the voice I’ve been given. So I’m ignored.
You know what happened when the conservatives stayed home and didn’t vote for President because they didn’t like Romney?
He’s what happened. People didn’t vote and the pundits tried to decide what the nonvoting American public wanted. It doesn’t sound like he was their expected result. And now that we’re presented these two choices from the two major parties, we have to realize that if we keep voting for candidates like these, we’re going to keep getting leaders like these. It’s time to break the cycle. Silence won’t work. Placing support behind a different candidate, a Third or Fourth Party candidate, is the only way I believe my voice will be heard.
“But a Third Party vote is a vote for Hillary.”
“A Third Party vote is a vote for Trump.”
Stop it. Just stop it.
I’ve heard both arguments. Both are bunk. Talk about fear-mongering. This isn’t 1992 when Ross Perot took votes away from George HW Bush.
You’re assuming that the majority of the Third Party voters were going to vote for either Clinton or Donald. We weren’t. Neither one of them was going to get my vote, so voting Third Party does not make my vote magically support your opponent. So you can use all of the fear-mongering tactics that you want, but I’m going to sleep well Tuesday night, knowing that I was not complicit in electing either one of these candidates. You know, the two most unlikeable candidates in US history.
A third (or fourth) way.
Do I think a Third Party candidate will win the presidential election? No. Probably not. It’s my sincere hope, however, that a candidate or two will make enough noise to pass the 5% threshold that will qualify them for Federal funding in the next election cycle. It’s also my sincere hope that Third Party candidates receive enough support that it makes the Republican and Democrat leaders have a panic attack.
I’ve thought for a long time that we don’t really need just a major Third Party. We probably need a Fourth Party, too, if we’re really going to have politicians who listen to their constituents. We’re nowhere near that now, but we can make a start by giving rise to a Third Party. Do I agree with everything the candidate says? Nope. But I’m pretty sure the only person I agree with 100% of the time is me, myself, and I. And I don’t even think I agree with myself 100% of the time.
So I’m voting Third Party this year. And I’m hoping for a better future four years from now, where people will actually want to vote for a candidate instead of against one.
That, friends, would be huge and would make the country win. Bigly.