I never understood this argument. If you vote for a candidate who the media says “has no chance,” then it’s actually a vote for one of the main candidates, specifically the one the media doesn’t like.
Conservatives and liberals alike engage in this kind of thinking. Say you’re at a cookout with your extended family. Let’s say they’re all or mostly Donald Trump supporters. And you’re the lone Gary Johnson supporter in your family. So, you tell them, “I’m voting for Gary Johnson.” They’ll predictably come back with, “That’s a vote for Hillary!”
You could tell them you’re voting for Jill Stein, or Ronald McDonald, or Santa Claus, and they’d say the same thing. “That’s a vote for Hillary!”
I got the same flak from some members of my extended family for voting for Ron Paul in 2012 and 2008.
What conservatives may not realize is that liberals do the same thing. If your family was largely liberal and supported Hillary Clinton, and you told them you were voting for Jill Stein – or Ronald McDonald or Santa Claus – they’d respond, “That’s a vote for Trump!”
Obama’s peddling the same nonsense, according to RCP:
“If you don’t vote, that’s a vote for Trump,” Obama said Wednesday morning. “If you vote for a third party candidate who’s got no chance to win, that’s a vote for Trump.”
“People just do not give her credit, and part of it maybe is because she’s a woman and we have not elected a woman president before,” Obama said. “But here’s somebody who, as I said at the convention, is as qualified as anybody who has ever run for this office, and she’s been on the right side of the issues that we care about, and we need to support her and that begins by making sure that everybody is registered and everybody is voting. The stakes in this election is so high.”
The truth of the matter is, if you support Gary Johnson, you should vote for him. If you support Jill Stein, you should vote for her. That’s not “taking away” votes from Trump or Hillary. That’s a lie perpetrated by the media to convince people to continue giving the false dichotomy that is the two-party system control over the country.
In fact, voting for Trump or Hillary when you may have actually much preferred Johnson or Stein is very much taking votes away from those third party candidates. Just like four years ago when people held their noses to vote for Romney, even though many of those same voters did much prefer Ron Paul or some other candidate. That truly is a case of votes being taken away.
Having said all that, the same goes for the media-approved candidates – even the anti-establishment one. If you truly support Donald Trump, then you should vote for him. And if you really do like Hillary Clinton, then vote for her. But part of the idea of “free elections” should be to allow people to vote their conscience and not feel pressured by a media-political establishment into voting only for their preferred candidate or candidates.
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