In 1980, the first election in which I could vote, I voted for Independent Candidate John Anderson. Carter was flailing with the Iran hostage crisis and Reagan looked weak and foolish. Anderson received just under 7% of the vote and did not have an effect on the election. Reagan (The evil of two lessers) was in the White House for 8 years of trickle down, exploding the deficit, and shady foreign conflicts.
I was young and dumb and without a fully developed frontal lobe and did not understand the effects of my vote based on my principles. What was I hoping to achieve with that first ballot? Was the winner going to listen to my “protest vote?”
Fast forward to 2016 and I wasn’t going to do that again. I had some friends who did not vote for either of the two major party candidates because of the supposed flaws of both of them. Here’s what has happened because of PA voters’ 231,000 votes for anyone but the 2 major party candidates: 3 Supreme Court appointments took the court to a hard tack to the right, environmental regulations were rolled back to Love Canal levels (ironically, if you were one of the 50,000 Pennsylvanians who voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, you helped make this happen), and White Supremacists and other hate groups (who are still “standing by”) were enabled.
You, my fellow Pennsylvanians, have the power- use it wisely. Decide your best practicable option and vote for that person inst ead of voting for your righteous indignation, which by the way is not on the ballot. If you are over 25, you have a functioning frontal lobe – use it because your actions have consequences. You are in a burning building and there are only 2 exits (or you can keep fiddling).
I fully appreciate the flaws of both major party candidates. I also understand the frustrations of Progressives with the current 2 party system, which limits our current possibilities.
And yet, here we are, with only 2 choices.
A wise person once said that voting is more like public transportation than marriage. Just because the bus won’t stop exactly at your destination, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it to that neighborhood and get close to where you want to be. Keep on waiting for the perfect bus and you will stay in the same place.
You are tasked, as an American, to choose which way you want to go. However flawed this system, it is what we have to work with now and you need to play a part. The world is here for all of us and you should choose to be of the world . To quote George Costanza: “We live in a society, here!”
Don’t waste your vote! If you choose to vote 3rd Party, you choose to not make a difference. You have admitted that you are willing to not be of the world and are ok disenfranchising yourself. This is no way to be, my friend, and this is certainly not the year to admit you can do nothing.