By: William VanOrder
If you vote for Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, or anyone else besides Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, you’re wasting your vote.
Or at least that is what a lot of democratic activists would tell you. Several liberal news sources have been citing a vote for Gary Johnson as a vote for Donald Trump, which is simply unacceptable in their eyes.
With such polarized candidates running for office, many are saying that now just is not the time to be considering a third party candidate. While it is true that a vote for Johnson, Stein or any write-in will (probably) not result in them being voted into office, there are several other completely justified reasons to vote for a candidate who runs without a nomination, or one who runs outside of the two dominant political parties.
One great reason to vote for a third party candidate is if you believe their policies will hold true to your convictions. Many people are considering this an election between two bad choices, and feel they are stuck without a candidate who accurately represents them. While your vote may directly affect the general elections, you could help spur whoever does win to examine the policies of those they beat out.
Another reason to vote for who you want instead of settling, and the one I find most important, is to combat the attitude idea of giving up. The importance of a single vote in the general elections is often argued as negligible in deciding who gets the electoral votes, so the argument of helping the enemy by casting a third-party vote is void by those same measures. What holds more value is the idea of wanting what you believe is best for the United States, not voting for who you believe will do “well enough.”
The final reason I believe people should cease their degradation of a third-party vote is because many voters are saying they are #JohnsonOrBust. Social media has all sorts of “#NeverHillary” and “#NeverTrump” themes coursing through their feeds, and odds are you have seen at least one of your friends or followers say something along those lines. If someone is between voting for a less-popular candidate or not voting at all, the right choice is always going to be voting.
I could dive into other reasons that the democratic and republican parties are inherently flawed due to Super PAC funding and heavy influence of lobbyists, but I think that would be missing the point of this opinionated editorial. My goal is not to convince of who to vote for, but rather to help us as a generation of new voters approach the polls with confidence in our decisions; an uneducated vote is dangerous, but an apathetic nonvoter is even worse.
To the people who are urging third-party voters to “pick a side” I ask on their behalf that you would cease your attacks. Instead, look at the 93 million voters who didn’t show up to the polls in 2012 according to a voting turnout report conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center. If the politically active can successfully use peer pressure and willpower to decrease the extremely high percentage of nonvoters, then we can truly see change in our political system.
Elections are fast upon us. In less than two months, the United States will be asked to cast their ballot for the next President of the United States of America. What was once a primary race muddled with crazed politicians and scheming leaders is now… well, the circumstances are largely similar depending on who you ask, but at least we have house-nominated frontrunners. On Tuesday, November 8 the majority of Americans who vote will be siding with either Republican Superstar Trump, or Democrat powerhouse Clinton. A few will vote for Libertarian Johnson, and even less than that will vote for Green Party nominee Stein. Barring an anomaly, it is a race between Trump and Clinton for who becomes our next commander-in-chief. Hopefully, whoever wins will look at the reasons behind other votes, and will be smart enough to adapt their policies to reflect the desires and protect the best interests of all voting Americans, not just the bi-partisan affiliated.