Maybe you’ve even had this thought yourself. I know it crossed my mind when I was younger. But before you commit yourself on Election day, consider this: the lesser of two evils is still evil. So why not take a principled stand and vote for a 3rd party candidate?
There’s really no reason not to – after all, if your reasoning has let you pick one candidate because they’re “not as bad” as the other one, then certainly one of the 3rd party candiates would be even less “bad” by that same reasoning. And wouldn’t it be nice to have some change for once?
I can hear your retorts already: “but voting for a 3rd party candidate is a waste of my vote!” Hogswash. A principled vote is never a wasted vote, for one thing, and need I remind you that the President is not chosen by popular vote? Go read up on how the Electoral College works and then see how you feel.
Of course, some people will argue that they don’t want “the other guy” to win – which tells me that they’re in a state that is pretty much assumed to give their Electoral College votes to one particular candidate. And sure, if your state instead gives its votes to a 3rd party candidate, that might mean one less Electoral College vote for one of the main candidates – which might be enough to give the lead to “the other guy.” It’s a possibility, for sure.
But consider this – this race is pretty close by all accounts. So the candidates need every vote they can get. But – and this is the important part – they need a majority to win. Not just the most votes out of all candidates, but more than 50% of all Electoral College votes. Just a few states giving their votes to 3rd party candidates – or even just one big state – could potentially rob both candidates of the necessary votes to win a majority.
Can you imagine the signal that would send to politicians everywhere in this country? Sure, the 3rd party candidate wouldn’t probably “win” (without a majority, the decision gets passed to the House of Representatives), but it would certainly shake things up a bit! It would break the strangle hold the two main parties of this country have on our government – bring a little “fresh air” into the process, so to speak. No longer could politicians just assume that all they have to do is beat “the other guy” – they’d have to work harder to keep their jobs, and that means they’d listen more to their constituents.
Just the idea of a little bit of a shake-up on that level gives me goose-bumps. And the best part is that it all starts with your vote. If you weren’t planning on voting (shame on you!), think about getting out there and voting – not for who you think has the best chance of winning, but for who you really want to win. In many places, a few extra votes could make all the difference.
That would be real change. So think about that before you make up your mind who you’re going to vote for in this election – and if you know someone who’s made the “lesser of two evils” argument before – maybe pass this on to them, and maybe they’ll join you in a principled vote. When a lot of people make principled votes, it’s no longer just principled – it’s real change. And isn’t that what we need right now?