Sophie Wilson ’20
If you are planning on voting third party in the upcoming presidential election, I urge you to reconsider. In this election, voting third party is more than just a wasted vote; it is a damaging one. While you may find neither candidate suits your interests exactly and, that a third party candidate does, the decision to vote third party is made from a place of privilege that many people in America do not have.
In this election cycle, there is an incredible amount of violence and bigotry surrounding the Republican nominee. Donald Trump has done many inappropriate and dangerous things, like encouraging violence and hate towards minorities, bragging about sexual assault, mocking people with disabilities, demeaning women and more. Many of his supporters have become more open about their prejudices than has been seen in a long time. They’ve filled social media with offensive hashtags such as #NextFakeTrumpVictim, invalidating sexual assault victims, and #repealthe19th, demanding women lose their right to vote. They’ve called minorities racial slurs and physically attacked them at Trump rallies and other public spaces. The Trump movement has become physically dangerous for minorities in America to the point where this election is beyond being about just political opinions.
Trump wants to place a ban on Muslims entering this country. He wants to deport Hispanic and Latino immigrant families. He wants to ban abortions and punish women who get illegal ones. He incites violence and supports the sale of guns with no restrictions. He even implied that his supporters should kill his opponent, Hillary Clinton. While Clinton has the support of minority voters, Trump has the support of many white people, especially white men. In fact, if only white men voted Trump would win the presidency.
This election is about so much more than politics. It is the deciding factor in the lives of thousands of Americans. The rhetoric behind the Trump campaign is so dangerous that for many people, this election is life or death. If you are planning on voting third party, there is a good chance that you’re not part of those threatened groups. It is easy to watch from a distance, complaining about Clinton’s emails or the way she presents herself. It is easy to listen to Jill Stein or Gary Johnson’s political platform and decide that you agree more with them. However, they are polling at three and five percent, respectively. They will not win. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson do not have a chance at becoming the president of the United States. What they do have is a chance of doing is taking votes away from Clinton. According to recent polling, this race is fairly close. In order to win, Clinton needs all the votes she can get; and the minorities that Trump targets need Clinton to win.
Privileged and underprivileged Americans need to come together in this election to defeat Donald Trump. It is the job of white Americans to act as allies, even if they do not feel personally victimized by Donald Trump. Whether or not you believe your individual vote counts, and despite whether you feel personally uncomfortable choosing one of the major party nominees, casting your vote for Clinton is one small, simple thing you can do. It sends a message against Trump and his movement, as well as adding up towards a Clinton win.
So as you fill out your ballot, keep in mind the people affected by your vote. Remember that while you may not be personally affected by the results of the election, others will be. If Clinton is to lose, young girls and children of minorities will grow up with a president who hates, disrespects and distrusts them. Entire families will be deported. Many people will lose their homes, their jobs, their families and even their lives. “Locker room talk” about sexual assault will become commonplace and rape culture will prevail. As you cast your vote, remember all the people that you are affecting. Do you really want to vote third party because you aren’t satisfied with your options? Or do you want to compromise and vote for what is best for your fellow Americans and future generations to come?