Columns,Editorial

Third party votes matter

13 Sep , 2016  

By: ,

This November is a very important month, but not because of Thanksgiving. No — it is election month. The month we get to choose who leads our country — Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. From what I’ve seen, many people don’t seem to actually want either one, but those are our only two choices, right? Wrong. There is another option — third party voting.

Most people would say voting third party is a wasted vote. Well, I couldn’t disagree with that statement more. My Republican friends say a third-party vote is a vote for Clinton, and my Democratic friends say a third-party vote is a vote for Trump. Then there are my friends who don’t like either candidate, like me, but are going to vote for one just so the other doesn’t win, in a voting for a lesser-of-evils type of situation. But voting for the lesser of evils is still voting for an evil.

Let’s think of it this way — imagine a world where Voldemort and Dolores Umbridge are running for president. Both are terrible choices, but you vote for Voldemort because you think he is slightly better than Umbridge. Well, congratulations, you have now ensured that every person on earth becomes a Death Eater. You don’t have to make that choice though, because Dumbledore is running third party, and is a vote for him really a wasted vote?

I firmly believe that the government is horribly corrupt and that our current system of voting is just not working anymore. So what better way to express my distaste with the system than to vote for someone who is running out- side of the current two party system? If your choice is to either vote or not vote, then voting is the best option even if the candidate you vote for doesn’t win. Voting registers your protest in the best possible way. It shows that you are dissatisfied with the way things are and with the choices that are made available. Choosing to not vote is harmful, as it conveys the message that you don’t care and that you have given up. In turn, it gives politicians the green light to ignore you because you don’t vote. Not voting is the opposite of what you want because then things are never going to change, and your voice is not going to be heard.

My colleague, while I respect his opinion, says voting third party would take away the people’s voting power, and I just don’t agree with that. Voting third party shows political parties and politicians which way the electorate or you are leaning. The main reason the Democratic and Republican parties are able to maintain the two party system is because they have a large base. If they see voters starting to stray away from them, they would probably adjust the system to gain their voters back, meaning there will be more or better voting options. The new options would, hopefully, convey what the people want, allowing for more diversity in voting.

Also, he states that having more than two candidates would be confusing for voters, as they would not be adequately informed about the other candidates. Although, I believe the people are better informed on potential candidates than my opponent suggests. There is a lawsuit that was filed Sept. 9, 2015 by third party nominees Gary Johnson, James Gray, Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala that would eradicate that issue. In this lawsuit, it challenges the exclusion of candidates from Commission on Presidential Debates sponsored debates saying that the CPD is in violation of the current antitrust law. If this lawsuit were to be successful, there would be more candidates on the debate stage during the general election. If this were to pass, it would allow the people to be better informed of their other choices. While this lawsuit might not have any effect on the current election, it certainly has an effect on future elections and shows that change is on the way.

People don’t tend to jump on the bandwagon of a new political party unless they see others doing so. If you want your political party and candidate to have a better chance of winning, you have to start the domino effect by voting. That’s exactly how the Republican party came into existence. It started with a few loyal followers and then grew from there — eventually replacing the Whig Party-Democratic duo, which were the dominant two parties at the time, and becoming the Democratic- Republican duo we have now. This shows that things can change and will change if enough people want it to happen and are persistent.

I am voting for Jill Stein not because I necessarily think she will win, no matter how much I wish she would — I am voting for her because I believe she is the best choice. A vote for someone you believe in is never a wasted vote. So if you want to vote Trump or Clinton because you wholeheartedly believe they are what is best for the country, then go right on ahead. Exercise your right to vote and do it with confidence. At the end of the day, you can sleep peacefully knowing you exercised your rights truthfully and to the best of your ability. You eat your vegetables because it is good for you, you exercise because it is good for you. So why not vote for a candidate that you think is good for everyone?

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