A Safe Vote: Third Party Candidates and Supporters

It’s the worst argument I have ever heard, for why someone would vote for a candidate. I’m sure people more intelligent than myself can come up with worse ones.  But I’ve heard this argument on social media, during this election season.  There are Clinton supporters.  There are Trump supporters.  Then there is this faction of people who fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Won’t vote
    • Their vote doesn’t count
    • Don’t like any of the candidates
  2. Will vote 3rd party candidate because they believe in that candidate
  3. Will vote for 3rd party candidate as a protest vote
  4. Will vote 3rd party candidate because it is a “safe vote”

It’s that last one that really irks me.  For one, traditionally blue or red states are not staying true to their traditions this year.  We have had a slew of newly motivated voters this year.  These are people who have never voted or are just unlikely voters.  They aren’t going to show up in all the polls we see, but if they show up to vote, it will turn everything upside down.  You can count on this happening, although no one knows exactly what it will look like at the end of the day.  Anyone who claims to know, is pulling your leg.

But the biggest reason that this doesn’t make sense to me, is why would you want your vote to be “safe”?  This is suggesting that is is good to vote for someone, who you know can’t win, and it will be safe because it won’t affect the outcome. What the hell is the point of voting, if you are trying to make your vote NOT count? NOT have an effect?  Sure it raises the profile of the 3rd party, and can hope to raise the legitimacy of their party, but not if they aren’t going to get a significant vote at the end of the day. None of the 3rd party candidates today have that chance.

So let’s look at this objectively.  Hoping that you would want your vote to not be thrown away, but to be for a good, qualified candidate.  No 3rd party candidate running for President is qualified for the office, in the realest sense.  They don’t have the international experience to be a leader of the free world.  They just don’t.  I’m sorry that it seems unfair, but let’s get real about the Presidential election.  Not just this one.  All Presidential elections.  People seem to come out of the wood work, crying that we don’t have better options.  We need better candidates, than the 2 party system produces.  It’s easy to blame Democrats and Republicans for producing the candidates that they do, but the blame is on all of us.  Those of us in the respective parties, and those sitting around waiting for a legitimate 3rd party.

A lot of people started to pay attention this year, but when things didn’t go their way, or they didn’t get all they wanted, they all cried foul.  This process has been going on for 240 years.  We can always improve, but it will never happen en masse in one political season.  We have the candidates that we have earned, by how well we have all paid attention to our government and the candidates vying for office.  We have earned the process we have by our commitment to being registered to vote, being informed, and voting.

It will take us many elections to make a better system, and many more to keep it that way.  Democracy is a living concept. It is not a fix it and forget it ideal.  We must keep working it at and tending to it. To quote (who knows, Truman, Woody Allen, Aaron Sorkin?) “Decisions are made by those who show up

In the mean time, you should be insistent on making your vote one that matters.  I went to school for political science, but I am no Political Scientist.  There are many out there, and they will all tell you this: A vote for Trump is a vote for Trump.  A vote for a 3rd party candidate, will help Trump. Not voting, will help Trump.  Only a vote for Clinton is a vote for Clinton and the only thing that will prevent Trump from ending up President.

A lot of people hate Hillary Clinton, and will never vote for her.  I get it and I don’t, at the same time.  I get that some people have this blind hate, and others have their beef.  I would challenge those who don’t like her, based on anything that’s been proven.  The GOP has been working to smear her for something in the neighborhood of 30 years. There is a lot of supposed dirt on her, but none of it has really ever been substantiated.  That’s what gets me.

  1. 33,000 emails – you might want to look into all the emails the George W. Bush administration deleted.  I think it was something like 20 million. She is far from the first person to have deleted emails, and there isn’t even any proof that they were deleted in any intent more than the normal course of business (when you don’t need an email any more, you delete it, or run out of space eventually)
  2. Benghazi – Not only did the hearings find no wrong doing, but there are some important facts to note
    • As far as I’m aware, there has always been at least 1 embassy attack during an administration, at least in the last 30 years. That’s not an excuse.  It was a horrible tragedy, but it’s the only one people seem to know about. Maybe that’s because the GOP has shamelessly used this tragedy to go after Clinton
    • During the W. Bush administration, there were many embassy attacks, with many more fatalities, and 0 investigations
    • Clinton had warned congress that the embassies needed more funding for security, and they slashed it anyway. It’s almost like they didn’t want her to be successful in her role
  3. Anything else, you will have to ask her campaign.  I can’t respond to every allegation.  But consider this, is it a sexist claim? Is it saying she is “weak”, even though she likely works an 18 hr day, a lot? Ask who is saying it? Do they have something to gain by attacking her?

Hillary Clinton started her career as an attorney fighting to represent the poor.  Not special interest.  It seems there is a double standard though.  She became a successful business person, over her career, and she has been lambasted in a way that none of her opponents are.  If they make deals, give speeches for money, have a private email server, like Trey Gowdy did (led investigation against her use of private email server), this is all ok.  Why? For they are men.  I can’t find any other reason.  It is ok for men to be shrewd, successful businessmen, but don’t dare think a should woman try it.  Well, she has done it, and despite their attacks. You want a businessman leading our country? She is it! She is good enough at business, that she doesn’t have to hide behind an audit (which doesn’t legally work as cover) as a reason not to release tax returns.  She does release them, and they show that she gives A LOT to charity.

On the other hand, it is truly terrifying to imagine Trump leading this country, which is why so many people are making the call to ensure people who plan to vote 3rd party or not to vote, understand what their vote will do.  How it will affect the landscape.  Every person can decide for themselves, the effect they want their vote to have, but ignoring the reality and saying “well I want it to have another effect” isn’t enough. You have to work within reality, in order to get from A – B, or you won’t be able to find Aleppo on a map.

While I have your attention, yes you two people who stumbled on to my blog, I have one more plea to make.  This is for the third party candidates.  I’m sure they are all just anxious to read my blog, but nevertheless, I want to try.

Being a citizen in a free country, like the United States, is a great privilege.  So, I’m sure, is running for President.  But both duties are more than what we want for ourselves.  It seems counter-intuitive.  It’s my vote, not yours.  I’ll vote for selfish reasons, and what I want.  You can feel free to do the same.  But our democracy can’t function that way. We have seen how being selfish and divided creates a volatile atmosphere in our society. It is not what is in the best interest of the country as a whole.  To truly do our duty as citizens, we must think beyond what we want for ourselves, for our own selfish interest.  We must also care about what is best for our fellow citizens.  I can’t just want my rights and freedoms secured, if I want to also secure our democracy.  I must want the rights and freedoms of my fellow citizens secured, even if I can’t stand their opinions.

The same is true for the candidates running for President.  I feel confident that Clinton gets the self-sacrifice required to run for President.  I am confident that Trump never will.  He has spent the majority of his campaign bragging about himself. Notice that Clinton brags about the country.  She makes the conversation about us, not her.  He makes it about himself.

So here is my pitch to the 3rd party candidates.  You know you can’t win.  I’m sorry. It sucks that it can’t be “easier”, to push the needle.  But this is the reality. We have less than 2 weeks out, and the best you can hope for, is that you hand Trump the Presidency, by fracturing a vote that will never be anywhere close enough to allow any of you to win.

If you ran, because you genuinely and truly want to help this country, then do that now.  Do the unselfish thing and drop out.  Endorse Hillary Clinton as the only candidate who can win, and should win.  Who is qualified and the best person for the job. It seems outrageous to ask, I’m sure. I’m also sure you’ve been asked countless times to drop out.  But I have to try.  There are many reasons to be scared, during this election season.

  1. We will have a lot of unlikely voters this year
    • No, not enough for you to win
    • They won’t be in the polls, so they will turn the polls inside out
      • no, not significantly in your favor
  2. We will have, as always, people who won’t vote, because they want to be lazy and say “my vote doesn’t count” – that always helps the GOP
  3. Trump is dangerous to our Democracy, in a way that has never occurred, in the history of this nation
    • He wants to limit the freedom of the press
    • He wants to sue or jail anyone who doesn’t support him or lift him up (the exact rhetoric of a tyrant)
    • He doesn’t know or understand the constitution
    • He has had (at last count 11) numerous allegations of sexual assault, coupled with audio/video of him bragging about how his power let’s him commit sexual assault
    •  He wants to use nuclear weapons, while he has no education on the matter or understanding of the implications
      • Numerous generals and watch commanders have disavowed him on this point
    • He doesn’t understand the budget process, or the laws that govern our country
      • He has vowed to defund or do away with agencies and/or regulations meant to protect citizens, while telling us it will help us. It won’t.  It will help his businesses (not that much will, since I understand it’s all a bankrupt illusion)

I could go on, but as I said earlier, there are much more seasoned political scientists than me.  They can give you more insight, if the above is not enough.  My point is, that this is more than your moment of fame.  You are a part of this, and what you choose to do, is not just about you.  It doesn’t just affect you. It affects us all.  If you are really running for the good of the people, than one thing should be clear to you now.  In the interest of the people, it is time to bow out gracefully.  You will be remembered in far greater light, by dropping out now. You will be unifying the country behind a message of togetherness, over a division of hate and anger.

I would love for the 3rd party candidates to see that political reality. They aren’t really serving the interest of the country by staying in the race.  I would love for 3rd party voters to see that political reality, as well.  If you want a legitimate 3rd party option, then work for it.  You can’t do it by a protest vote in a Presidential election.  The only way it will be done is by getting good local candidates, building up state parties and creating a national charter.  Make a legitimate party that can actually compete on the national level.  That isn’t done by just propping up a candidate with no shot and not a lot of qualifications for the job.

For now, and for this election, I implore you. Consider not just what effect you want your vote to have on your moral and ethical claims. Consider not just what your candidacy will do for yourself.  Consider what your vote and/or candidacy will do, to or for the country.  It will have an effect, but maybe not the one you mean for it to have.  Regardless of what you want, there is a reality, and I think it is only fair that we be as informed as possible.  Our vote is not a selfish act.  It is one for the good of all people.  Democracy is more than just one person.  It is all of us, and we must work together.

Thank you.

2 thoughts on “A Safe Vote: Third Party Candidates and Supporters”

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