The importance of voting third party; never a vote wasted

Aidan Denehy, Opinion Editor

This election has been difficult for me, and it has likewise been for many others. As somebody who remains moderate, I am thoroughly disgusted by the behavior, actions, and blatant racism of the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, and I am ashamed of the poor character and political elitism that is portrayed by the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

What I find equally frustrating however, is that many Americans feel both a civic obligation to vote, and feel that they must vote for either a Republican or a Democrat, or their vote is wasted. However, as a confident third-party voter, I can assure you that nothing is farther from the truth.

The primary argument made when asking to vote for Trump or Clinton is, of course, that one is somehow less evil, less incompetent, or less harmful than the others. Trump is incompetent, hateful, and irresponsible; I thoroughly believe he is a super-rich businessman who is completely alienated from the opinions of most Americans, and divorced from reality.

However, I feel that Clinton is ingenuine, and a member of the political elite who feels the presidency is a title that she deserves rather than a responsibility to the people of this great nation. When faced with two terrible options, we should do our best to pick the option which will incur the least suffering. However, in this election, there are more than two options.

Many also argue that a vote for a third party is a vote wasted. My response to them is simple; if my vote is wasted on a third party because you feel an individual vote is useless, then your vote is likewise useless, for whoever you devote it to.

Logo of the Constitution Party.
Constitution Party of Utah
Logo of the Constitution Party.
Logo of Rocky De La Fuente's campaign.
Rocky De La Fuente campaign
Logo of Rocky De La Fuente’s campaign.
the logo of the Green party.
Flickr\Stephen Boyle
the logo of the Green party.
The Libertarian porcupine.
Wikimedia Commons\Lance Haverkamp
The Libertarian porcupine.

If every American felt their vote was useless and did not vote, then elections would be impossible so clearly, we do see merit in the power of our vote. It is also important to remember that until recently in this nation, the vote was denied to many people- and we now have a responsibility in their memory to make the most use of our vote as we possibly can, so that their struggle to make their voice heard was not in vain.

Your race, sex, gender, or sexual identity does not matter, because a vote’s value is not determined by any of these factors, but is determined to have full value or none by the individual who chooses to utilize their ability to vote or not.

The only way a third party will ever have value is if individuals in a voting society choose to believe that third parties are useful, that they have merit, and that they can be powerful. They should be; third parties give us the option to be more flexible in our political choices; we are given the option to speak more for what we want than to simply mark the box that reads ‘less bad.’

To be clear, I am voting for Gary Johnson in the 2016 Presidential Election. I do not believe he will win, but I will never allow the fear of defeat to discourage me from voting. Those brave people who came before us in this great nation- our Founding Fathers, the brave men who led the country through Reconstruction, women’s suffragists such as Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Civil Rights heroes like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.- all of these people believed that the vote has value, that all men and women should be able to vote, and suffered and in some cases even died for the right of others to vote. Our country was birthed from the cradle of violent revolution over the belief that those who were governed have a right to vote. In all of these situations, those who have historically succeeded were told that they had no value, but they suffered for the value of a vote. Although I, as a white male, would not have been subject to the restrictions they fought against, I refuse to succumb to the belief that they fought for nothing- they did not fight for a worthless vote.

They did not fight for a vote so that we could choose the ‘lesser of two evils,’ but fought for a vote so that we can make ourselves heard. By voting third party, I give these beliefs a voice. I vote for the belief that my voice does matter, and that even in the face of adversity, I will fight as hard as I can and make my voice as loud as possible so that I may be heard.