"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
-John Quincy Adams
Last week, Kristin Tate, libertarian firebrand and opinion columnist, said if you're not supporting Donald Trump, you're supporting Hillary Clinton. There are only two pragmatic choices for the presidency she claims.
And I believe she is wrong.
The simple fact is a vote for a third-party is not a wasted vote. And voting for someone other than Donald Trump is not supporting Hillary Clinton.
The same logic could be applied to Hillary Clinton. If you don't vote for Hillary Clinton, are you voting for Donald Trump? After all, many people who would vote for Hillary Clinton, such as Jill Stein supporters, some Gary Johnson supporters, and the Bernie or Bust crowd, aren't supporting her. Does that mean they are voting for Donald Trump?
US Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson walks in Lafayette Park across from the White House during an interview with AFP in Washington, DC, on May 9, 2016. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
No, it does not.
Many Donald Trump supporters will bring up Ross Perot. Perot received 19 percent of the vote in 1992, which arguably propelled Bill Clinton to the White House. But, many Clinton supporters will bring up Ralph Nader. Nader received 2 percent of the vote in 2000, which arguably propelled George W. Bush to the White House in one of the closest elections in American history.
So what does this mean?
It mean that a third-party candidate has the real chance of winning this election. They are not going to play spoiler, especially considering how unpopular both candidates are.
In the past week of polling, Trump has lost every single poll he's been in. In the current polling as collected by Real Clear Politics, he is losing by about a margin of 7 percent when going up against Clinton. When Trump is against Clinton and Johnson, that margin stays the same.
In poll after poll, Johnson has pulled more support from Clinton than Trump. And yet Donald Trump continues to lose in most polls. The excuse that Gary Johnson will put Hillary Clinton in the White House is as ridiculous as the excuse that Gary Johnson will put Donald Trump in the White House.
As Taylor Millard of Hot Air writes, "So let’s stop with this ridiculous notion that all Johnson does is take votes away from Trump. The facts show it’s a pretty even split or more votes are taken from Clinton."
But, some may say, Johnson isn't a pragmatic choice. After all, the Libertarian Party hasn't had much impact on any presidential election. The most they've ever garnered was 1 percent of the vote back in 1980.
This is true.
But that is where the buck stops. This election year is anything but normal. If the Republican nominee was anybody else, Johnson would not be receiving half of the media attention he is getting now. But unfortunately for the Republican Party, Donald Trump is their nominee.
Johnson will be on the ballot in all 50 states and the only third-party candidate to do so. He is polling at record numbers; last week he polled at 12 percent in a IPD/TIPP poll while also doing the best among voters aged 18-24.
Voting for the lesser of two evils is still evil. I cannot vote for Trump or Clinton and many Americans feel the same.
It is time to stop enforcing the two-party system and allow third-parties a chance to grow. It is time to realize that both the Republican and the Democratic parties are the problem. They are the parties of civil rights violations, violating the Constitution, increasing our national debt, and bigger government.
Both parties are the problem.
America, it is time to start voting for your beliefs and your principles. It is time to start voting your conscience instead of voting against a candidate. You are the ones who decide America's future, not the Republican or Democratic Party.
Ted Cruz said it best.
“Stand and speak and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”
Elias J. Atienza is a sophomore pursuing his bachelor's degree at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. These views do not represent the Cal Poly College Republicans, Young Americans for Liberty, or Mustang News.
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