Why are you throwing away your vote on a 3rd party? (version 1.1)

This post is taken from a conversation that I had on Facebook with a friend, who is a Mormon (as I am) wherein I tried to explain to my best ability why I’d vote for a third party. It’s a bad argument, but it’s also a Facebook response. It’s got room to grow. So for now, I present to you Why I’m voting for Evan McMullin. Enjoy.

Voting McMullin is a long-term strategy. I KNOW he’s going to lose. I am ok with this (as far as being ok with my candidate losing, or Trump surging in Utah goes…)

I’m not talking about making a statement for the sake of making a statement. I’m talking about apprising the GOP that if they want my vote in the future, they’re going to have to take me and my principles seriously. By withholding my vote from both Clinton and Trump, I’m saying “I expect more from my candidates. In the future, I will continue to vote elsewhere until you guys get your acts together and present me with something I consider worthy of voting for.” If my representatives don’t get this message, then I’m not sure what else I can do.

Trump’s distasteful personality:
I keep hearing people say “Trump said things but Clinton DID things.” The insinuation is that Trump simply speaks poorly, but that Clinton has been verifiably criminal. The next logical insinuation is that Clinton is therefore “worse” than Trump. I don’t understand this. If you don’t believe that Trump is not guilty of criminal acts (and I do), then it might be easier to get back to something you and I agree on: “As a man thinketh, so is he…” This is found in Proverbs. If you believe that there is no act that Trump is guilty of, except in word, then consider that the way that Trump speaks is the way he thinks and that, as he thinks, so is he. (Ok, it’s a stretch, but I think there’s something to this.)

On federal judges, religion, family values:
Each and every election year, we hear the same phrase: “The stakes have never been higher.” “Now is not the time to vote your conscience.” Etc.

I disagree. I think that we could do this forever. Every election year that we don’t say, “Vote your conscience” or “Vote for who represents you”, we further embed into our political system a habit of non-reform and send a message to both major parties that we will vote for the frontrunner of our own party, REGARDLESS of how they’ve lived their personal lives, their actions, their words, etc.

Republicans will say: “Send us a filthy-mouthed, womanizing, dishonest-in-business xenophobic candidate and we’ll vote for him.”

Democrats will say: “Send us an election-tweaking, history-mired public servant, private server-holding candidate and we will vote for her.”

Many people will disagree with this, but it will help to explain some of the success of Evan McMullin: Some of us see Trump as a greater threat than Clinton. We see a man who can’t go a couple of days without losing his temper and “going off”. Sure we despise Clinton. Some of us (like me) were furious with what her campaign did to Bernie Sanders. I was a Sanders supporter (long story, if you’re interested, but I’ll skip it, for now.) So I’ve been accused of wanting to see Clinton go into office. This is not true. I wish people would stop saying it.

I’ve voted for several Democrats for political office (local govt, as well as nationally.) I’ve voted for Republicans in the same manner. I am happy to vote for anyone who seems to align with my personal values. It’s not conventional, but I need to be true to myself. My point is that those who accuse me of wanting Clinton (or Trump) to win do not understand my point of view. And it might be helpful to understand it, because I’m not the only McMullin supporter who believes the following:

Clinton is bad. Trump is worse. I’m voting for McMullin because I want to vote for someone who represents me. This is the purpose of our country- we are a representative government. If “the stakes have never been higher” and I vote for Trump or Clinton out of fear, am I not losing, already? If I withhold a vote for McMullin, who represents me much more closely in temperament and policy, am I doing myself any favors? If you believe in Trump’s message and don’t vote for him, are you doing yourself any favors (I had to add that, because I know I’ve been hard on Trump supporters.)

I have been told to vote for Clinton or Trump because:

  • McMullin will lose.
  • I’m throwing my vote away.
  • McMullin doesn’t have the necessary experience.
  • McMullin is trying to derail Clinton.
  • McMullin is trying to derail Trump. (Yes, BOTH of these derailing arguments are being leveled at McMullin supporters.)

But I don’t think I should vote out of fear, especially if it means not voting for my best representative (Yes, even if he/she loses). I’m not going to support either Trump or Clinton, both of whom do a poor job of representing me. I believe that my freedom is best exercised when I vote for a person who most closely represents me.

In the short-term, this is a losing battle. And this is what everyone is quoting McMullin on. He says his #1 goal is to block Trump. So people say, “See? He’s trying to throw the election to Hillary!”

But they are missing the point. This is not a short-term movement (hopefully). The goal is to not only send a message, but to let Washington know that there is a large group of people who are willing to lose in the short-term, for the sake of winning in the long-term. What that win is might be different to different people. For me, it means I win personally. I can honestly say “I voted for a representative of me.” I can also say “I voted for the long-term goal of getting reasonable and less-corrupt candidates into the pool for the future- maybe even the 2020 election.

And since I actually DO believe the stakes have never been higher, there is no time like the present, to lay the groundwork for our country’s future, by voting for a “losing” candidate.

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