Besides someone saying “it is what it is” no comment gets me more riled up than, “if you vote for a third party candidate you are throwing your vote away”. Using this set of logic in the 2016 presidential election, if you vote for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump wins anyway, then you threw your vote away as well. You could also say if you vote for the victor and they win by more than one vote you also threw your vote away. The only vote that has value from this school of thought if you take it to its extreme, is an election where there is a tie, and your ballot will break the deadlock.
Voting in a population as large as ours is a symbolic act. The 2000 presidential election, the closest one on record, was decided by the 537 vote margin in the state of Florida. Those 537 ballots, lawyers argued fell within a margin of error where there needed to be another recount. If 537 votes could easily be misread, what difference does one vote make?
One vote is a voice saying I will not support two flawed candidates who promise war, just because this is what the Republican and Democratic parties served up. Yes, Donald Trump might model his rhetoric on some weird combination of Richard Nixon, Benito Mussolini, and Andrew Dice Clay. He is most probably the Anti-Christ he presents himself to be, but in good conscience neither can I back a candidate in Hillary Clinton who promises in her Democratic Convention speech “we will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground.” Previously she bragged how as Secretary of State she wanted to get more aggressive in Libya and Syria and most famously voted as a Senator to go to war in Iraq.
In protest I will vote for the Green Party’s Jill Stein for President even though she has zero chance of winning. Contrary to the political slogan a vote for a third party candidate is not a vote for Trump.
A vote for Trump is a vote for Trump.
If enough liberals make the same principled act and if enough conservatives vote for the Libertarian Party, perhaps in the next election the major political parties will take notice and give us options where we do not have to vote for the lesser of two evils.
One thought on “In Defense of Third Parties”
In New York or California a protest vote for the Green Party will not affect the outcome and I support such a protest. But I cannot support such an act in a swing state such as Florida where every vote counts. In Germany in 1933 the division on the left allowed the Nazis to take power with only 33% of the vote. The moral of the story is that candidates such as clinton or Obama, although only half of what we want are the candidates we can live with and we must compromise until we can get a candidate like Bernie….meanwhile we must organize between elections to make that happen