Consider third party candidates

Eunjee Chong | Mercury Staff

The two party political system is something I just can’t seem to agree with. Whenever I tell people I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican and would rather vote third party, they tell me not to waste my vote. But being in a country founded on democracy, how is this acceptable?

There isn’t a better time to refuse conforming to a party you don’t completely believe in than now. With presidential candidates who have highly unfavorable ratings, it seems like it’s time to look at a new presidential candidate or even a new party.

In my opinion, Donald Trump is an offensive public figure. His conservative social policies such as a proposed ban on Muslims and his anti-abortion stance  are ideas I simply can’t agree with.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton has Republicans wanting to send her to prison for inaction during the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans in 2012. In addition, I don’t agree with her proposal for a $15 minimum wage.

People are gearing up to vote for the better of two unpopular options: Clinton or Trump. They seem to forget that Clinton and Trump are not the only options.

I feel as if the two party system leaves no room for middle ground. I am not saying that a party should directly mirror your beliefs. If that were the case, we would have hundreds of parties to cater to everyone’s stances and nothing would really get accomplished.

Politics is not meant to be black and white. By sustaining a two party system, we make it that way.

Having a third party be the gray area would increase voter turnout because we could map multiple dimensions of what someone could want — a party that strives for individual and economic liberty.

According to FairVote, a nonprofit organization that strives to make elections fairer and every vote count, the voter turnout in the 2012 elections was on average 51 to 64 percent. That is 36 to 49 percent of people not voting.

Although factors like election type, voting laws and demographics affect voter turnout, I know a few people — including myself in the past — who have voiced they were not voting because they do not agree completely with any of the candidates, or because they feel as if a third party could never win an election, rendering their contribution a “wasted vote.”

In American politics, the Electoral College system makes it difficult for third party candidates to gain traction in presidential elections.

According to Freepress, “we don’t vote to select the winner, but to tell everyone which direction we want the country to go. And if third party starts receiving more votes, the two bigger parties will begin to implement the third party ideals into their own.”

In 2015, Gallup announced Americans are less likely to self-identify as Republican or Democrat, with 43 percent of people choosing “independent” when asked. In 2010, a Wall Street Journal poll showed that 83 percent of Americans have a problem with the two party system and wished there were more options.

In this way, people should be telling the government which way they want to go, not surrendering to a system they don’t agree with because they feel as if they can’t make change happen.

If you completely stand by the Republican or Democratic Parties, then by all means, vote for what you believe in. But for those people like me who simply have a hard time choosing between the ideals of the two parties, stand by what you truly stand for. When we believe we are helpless, then we have already lost.

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