“Well, no, I don’t particularly like either candidate, but I’m going to vote for XXXX because I want my vote to count.”
That’s what my Psychology professor said before class one day in late 2000, as the rest of us students discussed the merits of Gore versus Bush versus not voting at all because we didn’t particularly like the Republicrats these days (well, for those of us who could vote – High School seniors don’t always have that option.) I’d just pointed out that anybody who didn’t like either of the major candidates should consider voting third party… and that’s the response I got (edited because I don’t particularly remember who he was voting for, the robot or the cowboy).
As I argued then (and later, with my own mother), voting for somebody you don’t want to win is the only way your vote doesn’t count. What’s worse, your vote counts as a negative. Other people, ticked off at not having any serious choices, instead write in ridiculous candidates (like a friend of mine, who routinely votes for Superman). Again, it’s a wasted vote, but at least it doesn’t vote in a direction you don’t want the country to go.
Most people don’t believe that a vote for a third-party candidate can win. Some people still go ahead and vote third-party, arguing that it’s a protest vote. That’s a step in the right direction, at least.
All I ask is this. When you go to the polls November 4th, I don’t care if you vote McCain, Obama, Barr, Baldwin, or for somebody else, do the responsible thing – vote for the one you want to win. Don’t vote against the one you want to lose – Dubya got a number of votes through that sort of logic, and look where that got us (to be fair, so did Gore… helped a lot, didn’t it?)
Vote for somebody who agrees with you on the majority of the issues… not with somebody who only agrees with you that the other guy isn’t the right one. But how do you discover the point of view of a third-party candidate, largely ignored by the media?
http://www.factcheck.org/ is another good source – it doesn’t include a breakdown of the viewpoints of third-party candidates, but it does help to cut through some of the attack-ad BS from both sides. If you’re going to vote for a major party candidate, at least be sure you know the truth about them.
Poking around on the net can reveal more good resources too. Ultimately, we’re in an era where it’s easier to discover this sort of thing than ever before. If you shop around for your candidate, rather than just voting for one of the main parties or the other, you’ll find you’ve got more options than you’d ever thought before.
And, just maybe, you’ll be one of the early supports of one of our next big parties. After all – there were times when the Republicans and Democrats were pretty small too.