Op-ed: How to Vote for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Zach Ewell urges voters who are discontent with the presidential nominees to vote third party

Op-ed: How to Vote for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

This November, across all 50 states, Americans will vote for a candidate for president. These people have traveled all around America, spending money, time and effort to win your vote. Although they disagree on many issues, each organized candidates have kept their arguing to a respectful minimum, in an effort to focus on themselves and the issues. That’s right, this election year Americans will vote for Green Party presidential candidate, activist and Doctor Jill Stein and Libertarian Party presidential candidate and past New Mexico Governor, Gary Johnson!

If you're like most Americans and don’t know who Johnson or Stein are, that’s perfectly okay. It's not your fault there has been a distinct lack of media coverage for these candidates. However, if you’re a political WONK or a third party supporter, then chances are you know exactly who they are.

Throughout this election, I have been shamed for sharing which third party candidate I will be voting for. The problem is that most of the shaming does not have to do with my candidate’s ideals or policies, but rather it is due to the fact that they are running for office to begin with. Although it may be evident on my online social media, offline and in person I have tried to keep my opinions to myself.

However, friends, family and some professors have personally called me out and told me that my vote is either wasted, or indirectly supporting the candidate they dislike. Both Trump and Clinton supporters have used the same argument, saying that by not supporting their candidate that third party voters are supporting the candidate they specifically hate. While hate is a strong word, it seems appropriate to describe this election cycle.

It’s understandable for voters to vote for a candidate they believe to be the lesser of two evils, however, that said, voting for a candidate that someone believes in is definitely something that should be pondered first. For me, along with many other Americans, voting third party is an investment in the future. Although the odds are heavily stacked against us, voting was never supposed to be about supporting a winner, but about actively organizing and supporting our ideals.

The argument has been made that voting third party is a privilege. So far voting Democrat on American University’s campus seems like a privilege, with a heavily liberal leaning voice. Although third party voters would like to be accepted, many are instead shamed online and on campus. The same shaming can probably be seen at the many heavily conservative colleges in America. The fact that voting itself is looked at as a privilege is undemocratic. Many who perpetuate the argument usually cite race or economic inequality as a reason to vote for their candidate, saying that their nominee is the only chance in saving people of color or those from poor backgrounds.

However, when looking at Clinton and Trump’s records and policies, both seem to care very little about both people of color and those from a low economic status. Both have supported the war in Iraq and increasing military intervention across the Middle East. Trump advocates for waterboarding, deporting and a downpour of bombing across the Middle East.

Clinton hasn’t really touched upon her plans for the Middle East during the campaign, however, she has shown them extensively during her time as Secretary of State through helping to tear apart the Middle East and causing destabilization in countries such as Libya and Syria, thus giving rise to ISIS and fueling the refugee crisis. Clinton even approved drone strikes, which continue to kill many innocent bystanders, via her smartphone.

Another country affected close to home is Honduras. Taking into account both Trump and Clinton’s records and views, it seems that privilege would be voting for either two party candidates, and turning a blind eye to the awful and violent policies they have and will continue to support. Although both Johnson and Stein have struggled extensively sharing their knowledge of foreign policy, both have actively supported anti military intervention.

According to Real Clear Politics, evaluating the polls of Fox New, NBC, Bloomberg and 10 other well-known news sources, around 10 percent of Americans will be voting for either Stein or Johnson this election year. Last week both candidates were left out of the debate, due to a lack for either being able to achieve a 15 percent polling average from three major news organizations, something that even Clinton supporter Sen. Bernie Sanders said was too high. In effect, 10 percent of the nation was silenced during both presidential debates, which is run by both Republicans and Democrats.

This election I have made my choice for which candidate I will be voting for. It’s perfectly fine to vote for Trump or Clinton this election if you want. However voting for either Jill Stein or Garry Johnson is not a wasted vote, protest or a privileged vote. This election does not just regard the presidency, but includes many local public offices. Voting on a local level for third party candidates or independents should not be discouraged as well. Picking on third party candidates is a petty and last minute act of desperation that both parties are trying force on the American public, and needs to stop.

Purely pressuring people into voting for your candidate only annoys them, and doesn't change anybody's mind. If you want to convince someone to vote for your candidate then do it with respect. Find a common ground and refrain from name calling. That being said, here are links attached to both Dr. Jill Stein and Gov. Gary Johnson’s campaign sites, if you would like to learn more.

Zach Ewell is a senior in the School of Communications and is editor of The Scene’s Music section.


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