Declare Your Independence from the Two-Party System

So, you’re repulsed by the idea of Trump or Clinton becoming president? I have good news for you, so is everybody else. I also have bad news for you, most people repulsed by them will still vote for one of them. Why? Because our country cannot wrap its head around a third choice. But have no fear, the end of the two party system is near! It happens every year and it’s all you hear: you have to vote for one candidate because the other one you fear! (OK, I’ll stop rhyming now). Why do we allow ourselves to buy into the lesser of two evils? Isn’t the lesser of two evils still evil? Does this make sense to anybody? Why would we vote a person we know will do our country harm into office? Does it have to be this way? Will it ever end? Will I ever stop asking questions in my own article and answer any of them?

The two-party system is a plague on our society and it has done little to better our country. Every year it’s the same old song and dance, “if you don’t vote for X candidate then Y candidate will win!” “A vote not for X is a vote for Y!” “Oh you’re voting third party? Way to throw your vote away!” First I’d like to address the fact that a vote for somebody you believe in is never a wasted vote. John Quincy Adams said it himself:

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”

If you have to compromise your morals, principles, or values, to vote for somebody, that person doesn’t deserve your vote. That being said, I understand there is no perfect candidate aside from yourself, and there are always issues you will have to compromise on.

The question is, are the issues you disagree on with a candidate issues that you could put aside and in good conscience still vote for them? If yes, then absolutely give them your vote. If no, there are more candidates out there, just keep searching.

Is a vote not for X really a vote for Y? No. if I vote for Z, that is all I am doing- voting for Z. Neither X nor Y receive a vote if I do not give them a vote. Look at it this way, I will use current candidates to make this easier to understand: If a vote not for Trump is a vote for Clinton, is a vote not for Clinton a vote for Trump? If so, I am not voting for Trump, so you’re welcome for the vote Clinton supporters. I am also not voting for Clinton, so you’re also welcome for the vote Trump supporters. I intend to vote for Gary Johnson, so according to their logic, I am voting for not one, not two, but three candidates while only actually giving my vote to one. I guess you can call me an equal opportunity voter.

240 years ago America declared its independence from politicians that no longer represented the will of the people, isn’t it time we do the same today? I am not saying all Republicans or all Democrats are bad. This race would be a lot more exciting and enjoyable had candidates like Jim Webb or Bernie Sanders, and Rand Paul or, well literally anybody but Trump, won their parties nominations. But certainly we have better options out there than Trump and Clinton who deserve to be heard. We can continue to vote for the lesser of two evils and continue damaging our country, or, like our Founders did so many years ago, we can stand up to the two-party system and demand change. We can show our distaste by giving our vote to candidates outside the failed system. Would we accept just two types of toothpaste, two brands of cars, or two flavors of chips? No. So why do we accept only two choices when it comes to the most important choice we as Americans make? As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If you want your children to grow up in a country with more choices, more freedom, and more opportunity, it is time to do something to give that to them. We deserve more options and we will not get them if we keep allowing the two-party system to bully us into accepting only two choices.

This election, don’t allow fear, peer pressure, or the feeling that you’re wasting your vote convince you to compromise on your convictions. As George Washington said, “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” Vote for somebody that you would be proud to say you voted for, not somebody that you would be embarrassed to, or have to give an excuse like, “well I guess they were better than the other guy.” It is time we declare our independence from the two-party system. This election, don’t vote against somebody, vote for somebody.

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One thought on “Declare Your Independence from the Two-Party System

  1. The two party system, which has existed in various forms since John Adam’s presidency, is the inevitable result of the First Past The Post or Plurality voting system. Yes, urging voters to choose the lesser of two evils is undemocratic, but the only reason this is effective is that, under FPTP, the better a third party candidate does, the less votes are available for whichever of the two establishment candidates the third candidate most agrees with, leading inevitably to the victory of the other establishment candidate. This isn’t theoretical, this is the actual result of adding more candidates to an election. It is called the spoiler effect.

    To look at it another way: if there are three candidates in an election, each candidate can win with the support of just over a third of the population. If there are four candidates, each can win with just over a quarter of the vote.

    The problem is that technically, Hillary and Trump are not wrong: the more liberals vote for a third party, the more likely it is for Trump to win – the opposite of what they want. And the more conservatives vote for a third party, the more likely Hillary is to win. This isn’t the fault of a lazy electorate, nor is there any way around this unless we can get a plurality of the population to support Jill Stein or Gary Johnson by November. Under FPTP two party systems are extremely stable.

    If we elected a president with the Range voting system, or Approval, or STV, it would automatically put all third party candidates on an equal footing with the Republicrats. FPTP assumes that if a voter supports one candidate, they do not support any other. Range doesn’t assume anything – you give each candidate a rating and the candidate with the highest average rating wins. Range includes within it the option to vote as though it were an FPTP ballot or an Approval ballot. Range discourages candidates from polarizing the country, and eliminates the spoiler effect completely.

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