One of the sad truths of the internet is how easy anyone can write or publish content – and, as such, how hard it is to stand out as a voice among the crowd. It’s easy to follow the currents, the ebbs and flows, to “pick a side,” if you will – but to say something outside of the normal, outside of the popular – with so many voices, it’s not easy to expect people to listen to me.
If I didn’t expect, and wasn’t hoping for, “better” from you, I might just remain silent – it’s easier to laugh and say, “told you so,” than to try to do what you feel is best or most important.
Silence, however, fixes nothing.
The importance of that last statement can’t be stressed enough. This isn’t the first time in which there wasn’t a “like”-able candidate, and it certainly won’t be the last. America is full of people whose self-importance dominates any really help for their fellow man, and while I believe those people are still a minority, much like the comments on the internet, the vocal few stand out in the crowd.
Our biggest problem isn’t the main two candidates – it’s the lack of knowledge and confidence in the other presidential candidates. How many people have heard of Dr. Jill Stein or Gary Johnson?
Historically speaking, our country is predominantly a two-party system. The Republicans have always been a party, while the Whig party was eventually replaced by the Democrats. There have been independent candidates, as well as candidates from other parties, but most of our elected officials have consisted of the two major parties of that time.
More often than not, the third wheel would cause more harm than good – while most third-party nominees fail to get a state, they do make a tremendous impact on who eventually wins the oval office. The best they’ve done to date was the 1992 Presidential election – Ross Perot scored 19 million popular votes (19% of the total), and 2nd place in Maine and Utah, but failed to capture any of the electoral college’s votes. In this and the 2000 election, in which the votes were closer to even, it is believed that third-party candidates took votes away from the eventual loser.
You might be wondering: if these people never get electoral college votes and they never make much more than a dent in the eventual outcome, why are they so important? Why talk about them?
Let’s review our two main candidates again, hitting the major arguments of “how evil the other guy/gal is.” Trump wants to build walls and ban incoming Muslims. his rallies often involve “Jerry Springer”-esque fighting (which he often blames on the Democrats,) and his message towards his non-supporters has been hateful. Hillary’s involvement with Benghazi, her running to the millionaires and the rich for money for her campaigns, and her numerous lies and involvement with questionable, if not corrupt, people and groups means she should be in jail. Trump’s the non-Clinton; Clinton is the non-Trump. Supporters against either one are evil.
What happens if you tell people of others, however? Usually, if they know about any of the other groups, they’re either voting for one of them, or lack the confidence to break away from the main two. Most of the time, they don’t know. The media doesn’t help, either – if they’re lucky (or rich), they might share stage time in a debate.
This is where the real pickle of the problems lie: In what to do. We do have the option, and people like Dr. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson would be all-too-happy for your vote, especially with the unhappy campers who supported Bernie. As the candidates know, however, while we as people split somewhere down the middle between Conservative and Liberal, the parties lean in particular directions of the main two – The Green Party being more liberal and the Libertarian Party being more conservative, for example. If either party were to take away from their more famous brother, more likely than not the other major party will win – if the Green Party takes from the Democrats, as Stein (and, ironically, Trump) hopes, Trump will win.
We’re ultimately left with two choices:
- We throw huge support behind the third-party candidate, knowing they will be outnumbered in Congress (unless, of course, we vote the local representatives of that party as well),
- We continue down the unforgiving path of the two major parties.
My call to you right now isn’t to pick an independent: My call is to TAKE ACTION!!! Investigate the candidates, make a choice, and be vocal about it! Be open-minded to all of the choices, and if you’re supporting a third party, throw everything in! Most of all, quit making it a two-party system in which the major parties – and the money behind them – wins.
Change isn’t easy, voicing an unpopular opinion isn’t easy – but complaining about the sacrifices you make by settling for the same isn’t working either, is it? Nothing will happen unless we unite and take action – and we’re falling because we’re divided.