After the Republican National Convention and the weeks leading up to the convention, I have seen an increasing number of people say that they are going to vote for a 3rd party candidate or just not vote at all because they can’t possibly choose between Trump or Clinton. Now, I’m as baffled as the next person by this election cycle, but I’m sure as hell not going to vote 3rd party in November. Here’s why..
The American democracy is based on 2 major parties, the Democrats and Republicans, but of course most people know that. Most people also know that there are other political parties out there that have candidates in this election, the main 3 being the Libertarians, the Green Party, and the Constitution Party of the US. There are many, many more as well as write-in candidates and independents. The list just goes on and on and as you can obviously see, you are not short of 3rd party candidates to choose from. The most popular online right now, is Libertarian Gary Johnson from New Mexico. So, a lot of people are happy because they don’t have to choose between Trump and Clinton. However, unless you’re one of those people who can only vote for the candidate representing your party, you should not vote 3rd party.
If you know anything about electing a president, you know that America uses an Electoral College system and has since the very beginning of our country (almost). For those of you who don’t know what an electoral college is, based on population, each state has a number of electors who vote for a candidate based on the popular vote in their state. What a lot of people like to assume is that this means that the popular vote doesn’t mean anything and therefore they have no reason to vote. But this is wrong, just wrong. Not voting in the general election makes it extremely difficult for your electors to accurately represent your state.
So, number 1 reason to not to vote 3rd party: it will decrease the accuracy of your state’s electoral votes.
Many people question why we still use the electoral college system and while it’s true, there are definitely negatives to using it, the biggest positive is that it allows all states to have a say in who becomes president. Without the Electoral College, candidates would focus on having rallies and events in the most densely populated areas in order to reach the most of voters in the least amount of time. The Electoral College also clears the path for the Democratic and Republican candidates, eliminating the possibility of a 3rd party candidate getting elected.
Reason number 2 not to vote 3rd party: with the Electoral College, it’s not possible.
Most people considering voting 3rd party are non-conservatives who “just can’t vote for Clinton”. We all know that in reality the majority of republican voters are going to vote for Trump. Now, here’s why this is important. With the Electoral College, a candidate DOES NOT need a majority vote to be elected. They just have to have the most electoral votes. This is another issue with the Electoral College relating to winner-take-all, which is a different issue for a different time. If non-conservatives split up their vote between Clinton and other 3rd party candidates, it decreases the influence that they have. It doesn’t matter how many non-conservatives vote 3rd party, it will not be enough to block Trump because he doesn’t need the majority vote. This was seen in the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. If you don’t remember that one, go look it up. Seriously. Do it. It’s super important that people understand that the popular vote does not elect the president (and if you’re now under the impression that your vote doesn’t matter, go read this whole post again).
Reason number 3 not to vote 3rd party: voting 3rd party is just as bad as not voting at all – neither have an influence on the electoral votes.
Dividing the democratic vote ultimately weakens the party as a whole. It gives power to the GOP because most republicans and conservatives WILL vote for Trump. If you can’t decide whom to vote for, I get it. I really do, but vote strategically. Don’t “follow your conscience” and vote 3rd party because you’re throwing away your chance to have a say in this country’s future. I don’t care who you vote for, I’m not here to lecture you on why Hillary is better or how Trump will make America great again, just vote for a democrat or republican. Choose who you think will be better for this country. 3rd party candidates have absolutely no chance of winning the election and remember that when you go out in November for the general elections.
Also, just a side note that not voting is not an option. Don’t just think that everyone else will vote so you don’t have to, that one single vote doesn’t really matter. Imagine what would happen if everyone in the country said this. And remember, if you don’t vote, you are contributing to whatever happens that you don’t like in this country. If you don’t vote, you don’t complain. Be an adult and consider your choices.
And to others my age: don’t let the older generations take control of OUR future. Vote for whom you think is better for our kids and us. Being out of state is not an excuse. You can have a say in what happens to our future.
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