Third party voting expands diversity

Nick Moran, co-editor-in-chief

During a class discussion, a former teacher made the point that if there was a candidate that you entirely agreed with, you would be running yourself. The way to support a candidate is choosing your values, ranking them and seeing how they align with a candidate.

Assuming I decide that my stance on immigration is what I’m most passionate about, I’ll naturally be attracted to a candidate whose views on immigration are closest to my own. If there are multiple candidates that share that stance, I move on to my second most important issue until I find the candidate I stand with most.

In a perfect representative democracy, every voter chooses the candidate they associate themselves with most and cast their vote for them, leaving the winner of the election to be the one that best represents the people.

But what if we didn’t vote for who we thought represented us the best?

The outcome is we find our key issue and decide if we view the answer liberally or conservatively and vote strictly off that. If your answer to a core issue is conservative, you’re a Republican. If your answer is liberal, you’re a Democrat. Simple, right?

When we vote with a mindset like this, we face a slippery slope. Though I may agree with one candidate on immigration, for example, what about taxes? I’ve aligned myself to one of two major parties based on a single issue out of a plethora of conflicts we face daily.

In a perfect democracy, I’m not looking for a candidate to solve one of my issues, but I want a candidate that represents me on a deeper level. That’s where third-party candidates play an important role.

If you want Donald Trump to consider a more liberal stance on social issues, Gary Johnson, Libertarian presidential nominee, may satisfy your values more closely than Trump. If you like Hillary Clinton but think her plans are helpless if our environment rots, Jill Stein agrees with some of her politcal stances, but leans to better the environment with her Green Party.

It always bothers me when people view the election as a “lesser of two evils,” where they’re stuck voting for one side because they don’t like the other. Frankly, our political system is a spectrum of beliefs, not two opposing sides.

I get it: when you look at polling numbers for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, their below 15 percent numbers are less than appealing. I bet it feels like you’re throwing away your vote, and in a way, you may be right.

On the other hand, acknowledging that there are more than two options during an election is the first step in diversifying our choices for president and finding a better match.

It’s like the Bachelor (stay with me here, people). Do you think Ben would have found his soulmate between just JoJo and Amanda? He needed a diverse cast to test his feelings (or his values) in order to find his soulmate, or else he would have settled on an incorrect match and returned to his single life.

The election is much more than an episode of the Bachelor, but the commonality is how we make decisions. Though it may be harder to choose with more options on the table, it’s easier to find the best fit, whether it be your significant other or the next president of the United States.

Yes, it’s an idealist’s dream to have everyone vote their conscience, but each dream has a basis in reality. This country belongs to each of us and your vote is your voice. With this power in your hands, be true to yourself. I beseech you, don’t settle your vote on Republican or Democratic conformity if that’s not what you stand for.