The 2020 general election is mere months away and unless something drastic happens between now and November, we can pretty much rely on one of two outcomes: either President Donald Trump will win reelection or his opponent, Joe Biden, will defeat him.
If you, like many Americans, don't find yourself firmly planted behind either candidate, this election season may seem like a battle that has no desirable outcome.
Even without regard to politics, it's clear to see that neither man is well-suited for the most powerful position in America. Trump, who had absolutely no political experience prior to his election in 2017, is known for his outlandish, bigoted statements, clear bias towards wealthy business owners, and tendency to lie, among other undesirable characteristics.
Knowing this, you may find it extremely difficult to bring yourself to vote for either man come November when there are so many superior candidates out there. You may be tempted to write in the name of a person you feel is better suited for the presidency, or maybe vote for a third-party candidate that caught your eye. Maybe you feel that by not voting at all, you cleanse yourself of any responsibility for the inevitable negative consequences of a Trump or Biden presidency.
At the end of the day, though, our next president is almost certain to be one of those two men.
That's the reality of American politics. By voting for a third-party or write-in candidate, you take votes away from the candidate that you feel, deep down, is going to do the least amount of damage to America's name and the welfare of her people. Evading voting altogether does nothing but remove support from that same "least bad" candidate.
Rabid bipartisanship, astronomical campaign costs, and internal corruption have all turned the modern presidential election into a game between two bad contenders. In this game, there are no winners, and the American people lose to some extent regardless of who actually becomes president. In such a rigid system, the only thing there is to do as a voter is practice damage control.
Take a good hard look at the two candidates before you and ask yourself what your country stands to lose under each of them. Look at their policies, their histories, where they stand on the issues that matter most to you, and figure out which one leaves you feeling a little less terrified about the future of our country. It's not going to be an easy choice, and voting for either Biden or Trump will probably leave you with a sick feeling in your stomach. It should. But trying to remove yourself from the consequences of electing either man to office is impossible, and by voting for neither you remove support from the candidate who aligns, at least marginally, with your personal viewpoints.
The best thing you can do as an American voter is swallow your pride, do your civic duty, and have a real say in how our country is run for the next four years.