I have been seeing SO MANY circulated ideas about third-party voting that I have literally lost sleep over the matter. And as a mom of a near-seven month old, my sleep is a commodity that I don’t squander at any usual cost.
There seem to be two predominant approaches to this upcoming election – voting for the person you want to win or voting against the person you want to lose. The only problem is I don’t see that many people voting for the person they ACTUALLY want to win! All of America seems to hate both Hump and Trillary (my 5am rage-session’s accidental monikers). Instead they vote for whomever they think is most likely to take the election from the person they least want to win.
The problem with this approach is that you are still voting for someone you don’t really want in office. The practical solution to this phenomena is to vote for the person who best represents your personal values and beliefs – the persona you most want to win. Unfortunately, and especially with this election year, that individual will most likely be considered a third-party candidate – and the media is working hard to convince us that a vote for a third-party candidate is in essence a vote for one of the primary candidates.
This is exactly the kind of fear-mongering, twisted logic that President George Washington was concerned with when he delivered his Farewell Address; a good portion of which was dedicated to arguing against bipartisan voting systems. He said:
“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely…to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men [and women] will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion” (Italics added).
This rhetoric that a 3rd party vote is a 1st party vote is the current means by which the two-party system infiltrates our lives and robs us of a meaningful vote. Voting only for a candidate you believe is more likely to win is the same as playing a game only with the purpose of not losing – a scenario that rarely ends well. Are we truly going to adhere to the same high school logic of “everyone is doing it, so I may as well too” when it comes to the fate of our country?
There is an phrase circulating to “vote your conscience” but it is almost always accompanied with the caveat “but don’t vote third party”. The fact is that my conscience would be strained by voting for a primary candidate as I don’t see either of them as an honest, trustworthy, benevolent leader for the country I love and cherish.
Come Election Day, I will vote for a third-party candidate and my conscience will be clear, even if a first-party candidate wins. Why? Because it isn’t my fault that they did. Indeed, that falls on the heads of those individuals who were voting only to not lose rather than voting for the person they most hope would win.
I hold out the hope that everyone would vote for the person they view as best suited for this privileged role. If we all did that, neither the Democratic nor the Republican candidate would take this election.