Many disaffected Democrats see Hillary Clinton as dishonest and corporate-bought, but they absolutely fear for the future of humanity over a Donald Trump presidency. A lot of alienated Republicans view Trump as a RINO bully, but see Clinton as one of the most corrupt politicians ever.
Even though Clinton and Trump are among the most disliked Presidential Candidates ever, people who dislike both are being guilted into strategically voting for their “lesser evil.”
If they want to vote for Libertarian Party Candidate Gary Johnson or Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, they are told that they’re wasting their vote or worse, helping their worst nightmare.
This social pressure is spoiling our democracy.
It’s understandable for someone to vote strategically to prevent a certain candidate from becoming elected. If that’s how they feel morally obligated to use their vote, that’s the right decision for them.
What’s wrong is when those same people shame others for not voting strategically and instead, deciding to vote for a third-party candidate who shares their principles.
That’s like making fun of a hipster for not listening to mainstream music. If that’s what they enjoy doing, let them have their fun. And without hipsters to hype up the obscure bands, how would they become known in the first place?
The same idea applies to third-parties.
Someone who’s socially liberal and economically conservative has Libertarian principles. A person who is passionate about racial, environmental and economic justice would be a good fit for the Green Party.
If people with these values didn’t join those parties, how would they ever gain support? The answer is simple: they don’t because people get guilted into supporting the two major parties.
Johnson and Stein have 8% and 4% support respectively in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. That’s higher than in past years, likely due to widespread dislike of Clinton and Trump, but most Americans don’t even know the two third-party candidates.
Without 15% of support, the largely unknown candidates will be unable to appear in the Presidential Debates. In other words, without 15% of support, those candidates won’t get the publicity they need to become known by most Americans.
If there aren’t enough hipsters willing to vote their principles and support third-party candidates while they’re unknown, how will those candidates ever make it into the debates?
That’s where protest voters come into play.
Many Americans, who are disillusioned by Democrats and Republicans, are willing to vote for Johnson or Stein just to break the two-party system. These people believe lifting up the Libertarian and Green parties gives principled voters more options to choose from.
Other protest voters are so upset at the two major parties that they feel the only way to teach them a lesson is by voting for someone else.
If your conscience tells you that’s the right answer, then that’s the right answer. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Not everybody fits into these examples perfectly.
Some Republicans are strategically voting Green just to divide the Democrats in the future. There are Democrats and Republicans who by principle love Clinton and Trump. Others are so disillusioned with all of the candidates that they can’t bring themselves to support anybody.
Voting is the most powerful way we as citizens get to voice our opinion of which direction we want the country to go.
Take it seriously. Use it personally. Vote your conscience.