I’ve never been inclined to endorse voting for the lesser of two evils. In the four presidential elections of my adult life, I’ve voted for a Republican once (as a foolish child of 18 when my conservative upbringing led me to believe that Bush was a better option than Gore) and for a Democrat once (when I realized the error I had made with Bush and voted for Kerry). Since then, I’ve voted Libertarian, despite my irreconcilable differences with that party on economic issues, because they’re the third party with the greatest chance in Wyoming and I want to draw attention with the problems found in our electoral process.
This year changes that. I was a very hopeful supporter of Bernie Sanders over the last year. His candidacy not only led me to decide that the Democratic Party was the right place for me, but it inspired me, a delivery driver with one semester of college education, to run for office and do my part to take political power away from the establishment forces I’ve opposed since 2004. Sadly, the majority of voters in Democratic primaries and caucuses in our nation chose to vote for Hillary Clinton, bringing us politics as usual, and another choice for the lesser of two evils.
The thing keeping me from voting for a third party in protest this year is the greater evil, another anti-establishment candidate, but one who can not be allowed to win. We all know, from long years of experience in this political system, that politics as usual is safe. Despite the promises, there is a mix of slight improvement and slight deterioration with little real change. Hillary Clinton may not usher in a golden age of progressivism, but she’s also not going to jeopardize our national and global security.
Conversely, the Republican nominee is an unthinkable monster. Not only has he vowed to build an impossible wall to keep Mexicans out of our country and instate an unconscionable ban to keep Muslims out all while reducing revenue to a point where we could not have a functioning government, but he’s indicated that he would violate NATO (which has kept the western world at peace since 1949) and has suggested that preemptive nuclear strikes would be a useful tool against our enemies who he’s doing everything he can to increase in numbers. We can not allow this madman to take the presidency.
The time for third party candidates is coming. In the next two decades, we may have a President who has neither a D nor an R behind their name. For this election, though, we need to ensure that we have a president who will allow our government to continue to function through those future elections. If you’re planning on voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson in this election, I commend you on your commitment to voting your conscience, but take a moment to consider what may happen to our nation and our world if Trump wins. Successive generations are counting on us.