Why Third Party Voters Should Vote for Hillary

I’ve been a Clinton supporter since I cast my vote for her in my caucus back in March, so what I’m about to ask may seem self-serving. However, it’s important.

If you plan to vote for a third party in this presidential election, please consider casting that vote for Hillary Clinton, instead.

I know there are a lot of people who bristle at the thought. While I don’t think that a vote for Hillary necessitates the destruction of one’s values, especially for those on the left (after all, Sanders and Clinton agree on about 90 percent of the issues), I understand that my top candidate doesn’t necessarily have to be your top candidate. In a democracy such as ours, your vote is your own.

Under normal election conditions, I may try to convince you that the candidate I support is the candidate you should support. It’s what I’ve tried to do and will continue to do. But this election has the added pressure of not just making sure a particular candidate wins. We also need to make sure another candidate loses. Hard.

Donald Trump isn’t a normal Republican presidential candidate. He’s not a normal presidential candidate, period. He’s either a racist, a misogynist, and a bigot, or he has no qualms with using the racism, misogyny, and bigotry latent in white America for political gain. Both of these possibilities are terrifying.

There have always been dog-whistles in American politics. You know, those key terms and phrases that let like-minded people know that you think the same way they do, that you’re part of a group. But there is something qualitatively different about the bigotry and temperament of Donald Trump.

It’s happened so often in this campaign that, in a lot of ways, I’ve become desensitized to it. The times he’s gone out of his way to insult immigrants, Muslims, women, or anyone even a little bit different from white men are almost too numerous to count. He opened his campaign by saying Mexican immigrants are rapists. He said a Hispanic judge was incapable of presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University because of the judge’s Mexican heritage. Trump’s misogyny is well-documented, and at one point he advocated for a Muslim registry.

All of these behaviors are bad and, as far as I’m concerned, would disqualify anyone from being the leader of the free world. This was all before the controversy over his completely unacceptable response to the family of Humayun Khan, the American Muslim soldier killed in Iraq.

This pattern of behavior illustrates why we as a country can’t just make sure Trump doesn’t become president. We have to make him lose this election so badly that no one thinks about running this type of campaign again.

Donald Trump is a buffoon, a caricature of sheltered excess brought to life. He is wildly ignorant of the world around him. However, he’s not harmless. Even getting this far has likely emboldened the underbelly of American life that so many of us like to think we left behind. As Paul Waldmen wrote in The American Prospect, Trump’s platform as a presidential candidate legitimizes the resentment white males feel toward the rest of society.

How did he do it, when people like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly have been saying the same things for years, both about minorities and about “political correctness”? Maybe it’s because Trump’s platform is bigger and wider than even they ever had. No matter how many millions Limbaugh or O’Reilly speak to, their audiences know it’s a semi-private conversation, one meant mostly for those who are already in agreement with each other. Trump, on the other hand, is on the front page of every newspaper every day and the lead story of the TV news every night. He’s right there speaking to the whole country, saying what they’ve only been thinking. And no matter how much he’s criticized for it, he’s managed to win until now, first by beating his primary opponents and then by making almost the whole Republican Party line up behind him, no matter how much they hate themselves for it.

This election is no longer about right or left. This is triage. More than any political goal, I want my Muslim and latinx friends to feel safe in their own country.

What if, you may ask, you live in a “safe” state, red or blue. Is it OK to shoot your vote into the sun by voting for a third party? Normally, I would say yes. It’s your vote. This year, however, I would ask you to reconsider. It may make no practical difference. Your state may swing Republican regardless of what you do in the voting booth. Elections are funny things. (Just ask the UK.) I want to wake up on Wednesday, Nov. 9 to a popular vote that is so embarrassing to Donald Trump and his Republican allies that it takes a generation to live it down. Because I don’t think the majority of Americans feel the way Trump and his supporters do about brown people and women, but we’ve been quiet. We need to scream.

It’s time to be practical. Nobody likes being practical. Bernie Sanders understands this.

“I don’t know the leadership of the Green Party, but I respect what they’re trying to do,” Sanders said, at a breakfast sponsored by Bloomberg Politics. “They’re focusing on very, very important issues. But I think right now — what is it, three, four months before an election — you’re going to end up having a choice. Either Hillary Clinton is going to become president, or Donald Trump.”

Increasingly, Republicans understand this, too. New York Republican Rep. Richard Hanna has come out in support of Clinton, as has a politically influential Jeb Bush staffer (if her state, Florida, is close).

Voting is a privilege and a right that not everyone enjoys. It’s power, and it’s understandable that you’d want to use that power to advocate for a candidate who most supports your views on the issues. But by answering the question of who to vote for based solely on that criteria, it’s likely that you’re ignoring something equally as important.

“The purpose of voting is not to express your fidelity to a worldview. It’s not to wave a flag or paint your face in team colors; it’s to produce outcomes,” says Jason Brennan, a philosopher at Georgetown University and author of The Ethics of Voting. “If they’re smart, they’ll vote for the candidate likely to best produce the outcome they want. That might very well be compromising, but if voting for a far-left or far-right candidate means that you’re just going to lose the election, then you’ve brought the world further away from justice rather than closer to it.”

This election isn’t just about you. It’s about all of us, together. We can’t be together as long as a human shaped orange is trying to tear us apart. He has to lose.

Whatever you may think of Hillary’s policy proposals, you can’t deny that she’s smart and competent. If history is any guide, she will listen to us when we talk.

It’s no fun voting against someone. It’s much better to find a candidate that makes your heart sing. Hillary Clinton may not be that candidate for you, but this election offers a stark choice: a competent, tested, career politician vs. a loudmouth bigot who needs to live his life like he’s on a reality television show. Please, let’s come together so we never have to make a choice like this again.

Photo Credit: Cali4beach

192 comments

Jetana A
Jetana A4 months ago

WTF? Way past time to retire this article!

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Noted.

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Ruth S
Ruth S4 months ago

Talk about old news!!

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S7 months ago

noted

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John B
John B7 months ago

Thanks for sharing the info.

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S7 months ago

noted

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S7 months ago

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S7 months ago

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S7 months ago

noted

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