Every single election cycle, the same illogic, mind numbing, and very aggravating phrases are uttered to those wishing to draw a hard line and vote on principle and vote for a candidate other than one who is representing one of two large private political organizations. To be clear, a voter who votes on principle is someone who does their due diligence, thinks through the issues of the day, forms their own solutions and political beliefs that they honestly feel will or would be best for themselves, their family, their community, their county, their state, their country, and their religion and then in turn wish to vote for a principled statesman who best espouses their same beliefs. The problem is, somehow, the political system immediately started as and has continued on as a static two option system. Even when there are way more than two solutions to a specific problem, or two ideologies that can legally exist in the republic, we are still only seeing two options. So when the confused voter, who really wants to vote according to their understanding and conscience informs others of their dilemma, they will most typically be confronted with some of the above expressed sayings which include: “you will just be wasting your vote if you vote for a third party” or “a vote for a third party is a vote for the greater evil” or “you have to chose the lesser of the two evils.”
First of all, these beliefs the populous seem to share are false. We live not in a democracy, but a representative republic. By the very nature of the form of government we live in, every grouping of people should have a voice in the government according to their numbers. In other words, if it comes down to a specific problem the nation is facing, and 60% of the people think a certain way, 30% of the people think in a different way and another 10% of the people feel completely different from the other two, those 10% still should have roughly 10% of the representation and consideration. This means in a debate on the topic, 10% of the time should go towards those with that minority view. It is not a majority rules system where those with 51% of the representation get 100% of the say, it is a system based on a representation of the people where 10% get 10% of the say. This is true as long as the beliefs of all fall within the parameters allowed by the constitution. 0% of the time should be allocated for those whose beliefs are 100% against the law. Therefore, when you fall into that 10% of the legal and passionate minority, it actually serves everyone much better for you to vote according to your beliefs and conscience as it will allow for the governance to have a contingent voice of those who share your belief.
The Fatal Flaw is Still Fatal
When someone is looking for soul mate to marry, one of the things they will often do is come up with different traits that they consider “fatal flaws.” For example, a potential partner may be perfect in almost every way except they have been diagnosed with Bi-Polar Mental Disorder and even though it is not totally apparent in a dating situation, you know it will be extremely terrible in a marriage situation, so most of the time the wise decision to pass up on the marriage is made. The same is true with Candidates. There are certain beliefs or traits or attributes or platform points that are just so completely against one’s own code, that voting for them is like marrying a mentally sick person and is only going to cause great pain later on in the relationship. A lot of times, our friends will say we should marry the bi-polar person because the other woman in the dating pool is a schizophrenic person which is worse than bi-polar; this is essentially the lesser of two evils argument and it is false. Just because another woman is schizophrenic does in no way mean we should marry a person with bipolar attributes. Instead, seek out a women who may not even be perfect in every way but is free from any fatal flaws. This was the case with Ron Paul for many voters. He was a nice old man who was overly eccentric and goofy in his delivery yet his platform was free from evil completely making him much more attractive than those who looked so much better but openly espoused beliefs adherent to the informed voter.
A Protest Vote
A very common theme for voters is that they want to vote for the winner. Voting for the winner as a number one goal removes the essence of what voting is supposed to be about. Voting is supposed to be the private citizen’s participation in government. If a voter is presented with two different philosophies they absolutely and completely disagree with then it is foolish for them to vote for those candidates even though it will only be one of the two candidates who actually wins. By punching the third option, in a very real sense, they are punching the word “protest.” When you do not vote, you are not actively protesting, you are only passively protesting. When you do vote, and you do protest, what you just did is give both contestants a lesser percentage of the overall pie.
For example, lets say there are 100 eligible voters and 20 do not like either option at all and there is a fairly reasonable or superior third party option available. Well, if all 20 do not show up to vote as their form of protest, then the two main parties combined get 100% of the vote. But if the other 20 voters do show up to vote and all of them hit the protest vote and vote for the fairly good third party option, well, then the other two parties only received a grand total of 80% of the vote. This open 20% will then alter what happens in government because the protesters spoke up, they said they want change and most likely politicians will shift their platforms to incorporate more of those “protest” voters. Again, not voting empowers the two evils, third party voting causes real reform or change.
Principles over Victory
The way in which politics in America should work is that the private political parties should be fluid and dynamic. Changing their platforms every cycle to reflect the modern situation. Parties should come and go and should have one main issue as their primary concern. Having two old and established political machines is a way to overthrow the country. If everyone rejected the concept of voting to win, but instead voting to have their beliefs represented, then we would have a much more functional and representative system that would last a millennium.
Authors Note: In 2008, I cast my vote for John McCain even though he stood for very little of what I believed in given he was “the lesser of two evils.” I walked out of that voting booth and I felt sick inside like I had just cheated on my girlfriend or something. I promised myself that day I would never do it again. The next election cycle, the same thing happened, the R candidate had some serious fatal flaws from my belief system including the support for indefinite detention without due process. I cast my vote for the L candidate and it felt great; I felt like I was able to much more closely vote to my beliefs. My actual first choice was the Constitution Party but they were not on the ballet in AZ so the opportunity was not available. This election cycle, the 2 party system is nakedly a scam with maybe 50 million disenfranchised voters in the country.
If all 50 million voted to their conscience and beliefs, it would almost fix the problem overnight!