I’ve written about this before, but I continuously see this line of thought popping up in various circles. If you’re voting for anyone other than an R or a D, you’ve likely heard it yourself. If not, go ahead and try it as an experiment.
Tell people you’re voting for Gary Johnson, Evan McMullin, or Jill Stein. Eventually, and shortly, you will receive the response that what you’re really doing is casting a vote for whichever candidate that person in particular is opposing. If they’re a Trump supporter, you’re actually just supporting Hillary, and vice-versa.
You can hear this said to you from family, friends, activists, media outlets, and even recently from our own First Lady. She flat out told a crowd that a protest vote is a vote for Hillary’s opponent.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) September 28, 2016
This is a symptom of a two-party system being around too long, and it has given the populace the idea that there are really only two ways to actually vote. It keeps us in that two-party rut, and the duopoly maintains it’s position at the top, giving you fewer options, and them more power.
This position makes this argument easy to fall for, but when you step back it’s an argument that is shallow, selfish, and relies on fear mongering and guilt tripping to get you to cast your vote for someone you might not even like.
For one, the candidate who has earned your vote has done so because you believe in what he or she is standing for. You think his or her plans are solid, and best for the future of America. If you believe that person has the right ideas for you, then that person deserves to have the lever pulled for them by you.
Someone coming along and saying that you shouldn’t vote for the candidate you like, because it would mean it wouldn’t help their candidate win against an opponent they don’t like is the equivalent of saying that your hopes, thoughts, stances, and beliefs don’t matter. What matters is that their candidate – a candidate you don’t believe in – wins, not that you stay true to yourself. They completely dismiss the reasons you’re not voting for their candidate, and even attempt to guilt you into doing so by putting their opponent’s plans on your shoulders.
As I said in my previous article on the subject:
It’s saying that selling out for a chance at winning something you don’t really believe in is better than sticking to your guns and going down fighting for something better.
It gets worse if you lean one way or the other, left or right. For those, like me, who are former Republicans, they believe that your vote rightfully belongs to their nominee, and that you must bring it back.
The truth is, your vote is yours to do with as you please. It belongs to you, and whoever you want to give it to. As an individual American in a constitutional republic, you don’t owe anyone your vote. Not a candidate, or a party, not a voting bloc, or a movement. You’re a free individual, not a slave to a party.
If for any reason you feel squeamish about lending your vote to a candidate you find repulsive to combat a candidate you find more repulsive, then don’t. If you do, you’re doing it wrong. Give your vote to who you want, whether or not you think that candidate can win. Don’t take whatever bad ideas, plans, or mistakes that candidate will then create on your shoulders should he or she win. Don’t make that your fault when you knew you wanted something, or someone else in charge.
So no, neither Donald or Hillary are entitled to your vote. If you want them to have it because you like their stances – if you can figure out what those are – then fine. But if you don’t like them, like I know a lot of you don’t, then feel free to take your vote elsewhere. Give it to someone you actually believe will be better.
And when someone tells you that you’re wasting your vote, or voting for their opponent, you remind them that this isn’t how voting works, and you owe them nothing.