The Sense of the Third Party Vote

Of all the people who could have written an article about young people needing to vote for Clinton that does not at all appeal to young people, leave it to a man named Mr. Blow. That’s a low blow, of course, but no one is going to win the votes of the young by telling them to grow up.

Young voters are not in middle school. They’re eighteen and older and can go and die for your country if they so choose. So don’t write to them like they’re anything less than powerful enough to hold your life in their hands.

As for how to actually convince young people both to not vote for Mr. Trump and not vote for a third party, here’s a better way to do it.

To start, in voting for a third party, young people are not de facto voting for Trump. They’re also not de facto voting for Clinton, since you better believe that plenty of disgruntled Republicans are eyeing third party candidates too.

In fact, voting third party is not de facto voting for Trump or Hillary. It is every eligible American’s right to vote for Hillary, Trump, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, or whomever they wish to write in on the ballot. I understand the argument of how either not voting or voting third party equates to voting for either Trump or Hillary, depending on your initial side of the fence, but the reality is that voting third party equates to voting for neither of them. The perspective of seeing third party votes as votes for the opposite party feels like both Republicans and Democrats reaching for a scapegoat for when their candidate loses.

Young people are anything but scapegoats. They’re incredulous that so many Americans are willing to vote for a bigoted demagogue like Trump or a deceitful flip-flopper like Clinton. Rather than being scapegoats, young people are the dreamers who envision a day when a third, fourth, or maybe even a fifth party candidate can win the presidency.

That dream derives from the young being sick of old politics. Money scandals here. Sex scandals there. Oh, was that another riot over a police killing? Ferguson, Charlotte, and all the others will calm down. America’s blights will vanish as if by magic.

But they won’t and young people are tired of the lack of progress. So tired of it that they’re searching, yearning for answers that neither major party candidate offers.

Clinton and Trump are both old politics. Clinton is big money, a political climber, and shady in ways that make it hard to trust her integrity. Trump is racist, selfish, and arrogant in ways unbecoming even for the leader of a Cub Scout troop.

Yet they’re the types of politicians who older Americans are used to and young people are disgusted still exist. That’s the essential divide you’re reckoning with when you confront young voters. Older voters can put up with Clinton and Trump. They’re used to Clinton and Trump. They’ve had Clinton and Trump as their president all their lives. Young people don’t want to settle for that.

But Americans are going to have to settle, right? We’re stuck choosing between the lesser version of the past’s despicable politics or the worse version, with the worse version viewing nuclear bombs the way middle schoolers view water balloons.

Somehow, older Americans think Clinton or Trump is an easy choice. They think young people are dumb for even thinking of voting for a third party. Well, you know what? Young people are not dumb. And most of them don’t want either Clinton or Trump to win. Young people are confused. They’re confused that their mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, grandparents and other admired elders can so easily believe that Hillary and Trump are easy to vote for, even if only because the other is so terrible to vote for.

Don’t you realize that both of their campaigns rely on the logic of them being the lesser of two evils? Two severely negative campaigns as opposed to more positive campaigns that Americans deserve. This election is not about voting for Hillary or Trump. It’s about voting against Hillary and Trump, which every single person who votes third party will do.

Yet the reality remains that unless America somehow rallies behind a third party candidate, making either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson a viable option in this election (Bernie?), no third party candidate will win. That means either Trump or Hillary will earn the Oval Office, and probably Trump if enough young people stick to their good morals and vote third party.

And you know what? Good for them. How can you fall asleep at night being someone who preaches that people can’t actually vote for who they want because who they want is not an actual choice? Don’t you see how broken that makes our voting system? Don’t you see that makes you a supporter of that broken system? Voting third party, at its core, is a plea for America to fix that broken system.

Fixing that broken system cannot be the only motive for voting third party, though. The other motive takes root in Trump. If the masses voting third party results in a Trump presidency, which I am viewing as the worse of the two options for the many good reasons detailed in Mr. Blow’s original article, then some good must come out of a Trump presidency that is better than whatever reality a Hillary presidency would bring.

There are over 50 judges seats at stake. Issues of income inequality and police brutality come to mind. How will America deal with the issues of Syria, Israel, and countless other foreign affairs? The trump card lies in the actual issues: While Hillary Clinton may not move America forward in those and other areas as well or as quickly as young Americans would like, she will not move us backward. Trump will move us backward. Either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson might do the best job of all, but we’re less than two months away from the election. Neither of them will win.

That’s because America remains a two party system. Unfortunately, those two parties gave us a couple of undesirable choices. But the way to earn the votes of young people is not by telling them to vote for Hillary or Trump because they are the lesser of two evils. Two wrongs do not make a right. The way to the young vote is to admit to the young, because they’re old enough and mature enough to understand, that while Jill Stein and Gary Johnson belong to nontraditional political parties, America is a two party system and will remain a two party system until passionate people learn to protest in the ways that provoke needed change far, far before an election.

So vote for Hillary not because you’re childish, dumb, or self-immolating, but because America’s political system is rigged, broken, and completely unfair and you’d rather demonstrate progress by electing the first female president than step back by handing your country over to a racist.


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