Why I Am Strongly Against Voting Third Party

I think we can all agree that the 2016 presidential elections have been extremely disappointing and wildly unpopular for a good majority of people in this country. We are left with two candidates who both have flaws that would bring into question their abilities to sit in the White House. I would like to start off by saying that neither of these candidates would be my top choice for President of the United States, which is easily arguably the most important and powerful job in the world. I am not going to go into details on either candidate’s ideals, claims, etc., however I will endorse the truth which is that one of them will be President. 

 

I would like to start by saying that I understand the frustration. I was also frustrated, disappointed and in disbelief when I saw our two candidates. However, it was clear to me from day one who I was voting for and even though I am in strong support of this candidate, I am in stronger support of having a say, having my vote count and my opinion heard and reflected in our government. I will admit that for me, personally, it may have been easier to come to this decision because of my strong opposition towards the other nominee; however, I understand that this is not the case for everyone. But, no matter what your belief, I strongly discourage third party voting and here is why: America is a Two-Party Democracy

This may not be a popular opinion. This may not be what everyone wants. However, it is a fact. I understand wanting a third party to reflect more personal views or feeling frustrated with the lack of options; I, myself, identify as a libertarian. The fact is, though, that America offers two broad political parties and one of them will be represented in the Senate, House of Representatives and as President. Many third-party voters do not want to choose a lesser of two evils but it has to be done. We make the voting age 18 because, as an adult, you should be researching and becoming educated so that you can make an informed decision and make your vote count. By not voting for a “lesser of two evils", you may unknowingly help sending your definition of a greater evil candidate into the White House. No one says that the system is perfect but we are not going to change it by third party voting. 

A Third Party Candidate Will Never Win the Election

While unfortunate, it is true. Third parties have no power. Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate is currently polling at 12%, which is considered great for a third party candidate. The numbers may even rise more because of the wild unpopularity of this election. However, it will not make a difference when we finally elect a candidate. The highest a third party nominee has every reached is 20% which was in the 1992 elections. This may seem high, however this candidate did not win one electoral vote and came nowhere near the White House. Both main third parties candidates in this election have run for presidency multiple times without success. Third parties do not demonstrate change. Like it or not, either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be our next President of the United States. 

Your Protest Does Not Mean Anything

I understand that some voters may want to “take a stance.” They may not feel morally comfortable with voting for either candidate. But the harsh reality is that your third party vote, whether it be a protest or not, is not helping. Voting has been designed as private and no committee opening your ballot will feel, have or create any impact based off your third-party vote. In addition, you are voting for a generally unqualified candidate that you may not be as informed with, because you are frustrated with your other options. Third party candidates tend to be less educated, less aware of current policies and issues and should not be looked at as an outlet for protest. Their unpopularity and lack of prior experience, exposure in the media, etc. has led to them being uninformed. Your movements to vote and rally for them are not accomplishing anything. If you have a true problem with our democratic system, you should look to get more involved with the process (this does not come from silent protests-voting) 

I do want to reiterate that I understand the frustration with this election. However the stakes are too high to allow those frustrations to get to you and not allow your vote to mean something. I have had friends, family, etc. approach me to talk about how they don’t feel that they can morally vote for one of these candidates. I am not here to sell one candidate to them or to you. I understand that, for many, this choice is difficult. The number one piece of advice I would give would be to become educated. There is never enough you can read on both candidate’s stances, beliefs, moral guidelines, ideas for change, etc. For many readers, this will be your first time voting. Whether you recognize it or not, that is a huge deal. You are being allowed to have a say in the structure of this nation and the way that it is run and your vote does count. You don’t have to listen to the opinions from articles you read, promotions on TV or what your friends and family say but you can listen to the facts about the candidates and decide which one you more strongly side with. Even if it is voting for “the lesser of two evils”, this election is holds too much at risk for a large majority of people and individuals to not make an impact with their vote. Whether it is your first election, tenth, or twentieth, make your voice heard and make your vote truly count. 

Editor's Note: The opinions and views expressed throughout this article does not reflect Her Campus at the University of Utah, the University of Utah or Her Campus as an international media presence.