Three’s a party

If you’re a freethinking individual who may be drawn to a candidate without a D or an R in front of their name this year, then you’ll likely have heard the common naysayers who try to guilt you into voting against your interests to further their own political agendas. To you I say: don’t let them. If you really want to vote for a third candidate, then you have every God-given right to do so. So let me take a moment to bust some of more popular arguments that may be hurled your way.

Myth #1: Voting third party is a wasted vote.

I hate to break it to you, but unless you live in one of about  a dozen very specific states, your vote doesn’t matter either. Are you a Republican in California? Sorry mate, your vote doesn’t matter. A Democrat in Texas? You get as much Electoral College representation as a prairie dog. Waterville is sadly also one of these places. Although Maine is one of only two states to split their Electoral College votes (the other being Nebraska) thanks to some nifty, slimy gerrymandering in the last district redrawing, Waterville has been moved out of the contested second district and into the first. That’s right, Waterville Maine is stuck voting with Southern Maine, in a region where the Portland Press Herald has Clinton leading by over 22 points and a place that has voted blue since 1988.

Myth #2: Your vote is just a protest.

Since when did voting for a candidate that represents my best interests count as a protest? Don’t get upset that my vote isn’t being used to directly benefit your political agenda. Voting for the candidate that you believe will run the country in a way that is best for you is how democracy is supposed to work. We’re supposed to vote for those we support. A third party candidate could have all of the favorability in the nation, but unless we actually act on our beliefs, it’s going to be virtually impossible for them to get elected.

Myth #3: You may not like X but Y is so much worse.

Voting for the lesser of two evils is still evil. This is like being given the choice between a poisoned burger and a poisoned carrot and eating the burger because it tastes better. Or picking Joe to pick up your child at school because he has kidnapped less people then Steve has. Do you see how this is a problem? If we as a people continue to show that we are willing to accept the general degradation of quality in our candidates, we should never expect anything to improve.

Myth #4: You are alone.

According to the Pew Research Center, satisfaction with the two leading candidates hit its lowest record in 20 years in 2016. According to a recent poll by Quinnipiac, 44 percent of young people expressed their intention to vote for a third party candidate. If you really believe in being third party, then you have never been presented a better opportunity in recent memory to gain the support that you need. There are literally millions of Americans just as dissatisfied as you are. However, it is only through collective action on all of our parts that we can expect any progress.

I wish to reiterate that I am not advocating that you vote for a third party candidate. What I am saying is that if you are, then you should not be shamed into voting against these interests. America was founded on brave souls who were willing to challenge conventional norms. Don’t be afraid to be one yourself.

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