Don’t vote third party

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By Connor Tee

There’s another piece out there floating in the aether of Google Drive, an article none of you will ever see.

It’s angry, preachy, self-aggrandizing, and in no way worthy of this paper or the ideas it attempted to get across. Obviously, I would only speak this way about my own work; I like to think I’m somewhat nicer to my writers.

Everyone in this election is just so… angry. And I am no exception. So many aspects of this election push my buttons more than they have in the past. I could and, as stated above, did, go on and on about all the varying issues that inflame my liberal rage as this election drags ever onward.

But I’m here to specifically offer a counter-opinion to one that appears elsewhere in this paper. The concept of a third-party vote.

I’m not going to split my focus by talking about who you should vote for between the major two, but rather why you should at least pick one of them. There are plenty of other opinions, and even facts, out there telling you who you should pick between them.

I get it. Especially from the Republican point of view.

If the Democratic party ever fielded someone who was as genuinely awful of a human being as Donald Trump, I’d have a hard time picking between any Republican and the idea of just going third-party. Unless that Republican was Alan Alda’s character from the 7th season of the West Wing, of course.

But, the fact is that this election is important, perhaps even more important than previous presidential races. And there’s one other fact, which is that this is a two-party country. It just is. It has been for over 200 years.

I’m not saying that it can’t or won’t ever change. But an election year isn’t the time to make that change. And it’s not just this election year, but any election year. And, of course, now we get to the part where I’m in danger of starting to yell.

Every year, there are people who complain about the two-party system. They make a huge fuss, and then they try to make a point by throwing their vote at the Naders and Perots of the world.

And then, nothing. For four long years, these people go about their lives without giving a second thought to their mighty principles of variety and representation in the next presidential race.

Now, I should make something clear. I’m not trying to generalize, or even imagine what goes on in the minds of my fellow Americans. I’m judging them by their actions.

But, of course, this label doesn’t apply to all who vote third-party. There are those who are actively committed to changing the nature of politics in this country — some who dedicate every moment of their lives and careers to it, and many, many more who simply do what they can. These people stay involved, in much the same way that others involve themselves at multiple levels with the Democratic and Republican parties. In much the same way that we should all be involved.

Which isn’t to say that we all have to pick a party and dedicate ourselves to it until our dying breath. Party loyalty run amok is half the reason Congress can’t seem to get anything done these days except come up with new reasons why Obama’s presidency doesn’t count anymore.

My point is this: Our little democratic republic was founded on involvement from informed citizens. So be informed. Be involved. And if this election cycle has been a wakeup call for you as to the follies of the two-party system, then change it.

But you won’t change it by voting third-party in this election. And this election is just too important for us to screw it up. So, suck it up, vote for one of the two major party candidates, and then start getting your hands dirty.

Or don’t — I’m not your boss. And while I genuinely believe that I’m right about this, I can’t force you to do anything. But if you aren’t going to do the work, then you don’t get to complain.