Third party isn’t a waste; it’s a stand

Your vote doesn’t really count. My vote doesn’t really count. At least not in the way we think it does. If you look at the state you live in, how many voters are registered? How far one way or another does your state tend to lean? Then you may not really be left with much of a choice when it comes to the election this November.

Our Electoral College means that the populous vote sometimes falls to the wayside like in the case of Bush v. Gore in 2000. Congressional districting controls where our votes land in the large majority of cases. This is not to say that we should not vote, and yes if everyone who could vote did, then maybe the outcomes would change, but in reality we have been pigeon holed into thinking we only have two choices: Democrat or Republican.

Over my lifetime, I have seen every election become less about wanting to vote FOR someone and more about voting AGAINST someone else. I am not going to tell you who to vote for, because I think our freedom of speech includes whom we choose to speak for us. The problem is that we aren’t choosing anymore, we’re running. We are voting out of fear about what one evil will do to our country over another, and that’s not a choice, that’s cowardly.

We have the chance to stop running. We have third parties. Our choice is not just between a racist, orange baboon or a fairytale worthy, manipulative witch. We have dozens of options when it comes to parties and candidates, and more importantly, we have two that could actually change things. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein have made it their mission to give you a different option. According to the Washington Post third parties are polling around 11 percent of the total vote, with Johnson at 9.2 percent. This is a huge change from the last presidential election, where no third party candidate gained over one percent of the votes.

When over 1 in 10 Americans wants a different option it would make sense for there to be increased access to third parties. Sadly, some of us will not even have their names on our ballots in November. Even as the most popular third party candidate in years Johnson will not be allowed to enter into the presidential debates that start on Sept. 26. If you still believe the system isn’t rigged to limit your choices, and to keep a failing bipartisan system afloat, then I urge you to revaluate where you’re getting that idea.

Why aren’t more people voting third party? It’s simple. They are afraid if they dare to vote for a smaller party, then the larger party they hate will win. In reality most of America is disillusioned about our two party systems, and the votes are being pulled away from both major parties into the third party vote. This is not a case where a vote taken away from one automatically means a vote added to another. This is an opportunity to save our votes from getting swallowed into the political abyss and actually put another way of thinking on the map.

Change will not happen until we make it happen. I am not trying to convince you to agree with the third party platforms, you will never completely agree with one party, but consider your options. It is time we stopped voting out of fear, and voted for hope. It is about time our votes counted again.


— Erica Browning, Staff Writer

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