I would rather vote for a third party candidate that is closer to my political standings rather than "the lesser of two evils"


When I registered to vote at 18, I registered as a democrat without being fully aware of what the party platform was, and its recent history. I knew I agreed with democrats more than republicans, and decided I was a democrat. I'm 24 now, and have learned a lot since then. I have also realized since then that I am very far left of the Democratic party.

Democracy should be about having a voice for your opinions, and having a two party system keeps many people voting for what they would consider the lesser of two evils instead of voting for someone they actually agree with. I'm far left of the Democratic party, and think Hillary Clinton is doing a lot of things I find morally wrong. I have read through her website multiple times, and disagree with a lot of what she wants to do and why she wants to do it.

Donald Trump seems like he would be a horrible president, and is way too vague when it comes to what he wants to do. Even with the vagueness, I strongly disagree with his plans if he becomes the president.

Democracy in the US has been a two party system for almost its entire history, and I think that's horrible. I'm far left of both parties and would rather vote my conscious with someone that has a political stance closer to mine.

Most people's argument against this is "but imagine TRUMP as president!!" Yes, I agree that would not be a good thing, but I also feel that Hillary would not represent me or my beliefs. Although I would consider Hillary Clinton as the lesser of two evils (only by a little), she is still far right of what I would want in my president.

Edit: Thanks for all of the responses, this is a great community / subreddit. I'm trying my best to get to each comment, but you guys are posting a lot faster than I can read and reply, especially with all of the well thought out and detailed replies. Seriously though, thank you for the great conversations.

Edit 2: To clarify something, I don't expect any third party candidate to win. Voting third party would just be a vote for someone I believe in, which is part of democracy.

Edit 3: Not too relevant in the overall discussion, but I saw a few comments saying that my views are center right. https://www.politicalcompass.org/yourpoliticalcompass?ec=-5.13&soc=-2.87

It's 9:40am and I haven't gone to sleep yet, so I'm going to go to bed. I'll read more responses later. Thank you all for the great discussions, even though I wasn't a part of most of them

FINAL EDIT: MY VIEW HAS CHANGED

Mostly thanks to /u/RogueLeaderJ and /u/tigereyes69, link to comments here, and I highly recommend reading them. Thanks everyone for the input.

  • 🤔Changed Author's View
    3 years ago

    I am very far left of the Democratic party.

    Well, this is what I've been asking myself the whole time. Is it worth taking a completely ideological stance that I morally "can't vote for Clinton" because she's not as left as I make myself out to be. Or, is it more morally acceptable to enable Donald Trump to win the presidency when he is going to appoint the most detrimental Supreme Court justices possible that go completely against what I believe. These justices will sit on the court for what will probably be a 30 to 40 year term. I can not in good conscience aid that cause.

    This election, to me, is all about the Supreme Court. The conservatives had already had it for the last 30+ years. It's time we take it back, or every progressive move we've made in the last 8 years (marriage equality, Voting Rights Act and right to choose decisions made this year, and a lot of others) might be very short lived.

    • 🎤Author
      3 years ago

      I'm embarrassed to say I haven't thought about the SC aspect of this election enough. You make a great point, though. I'm surprised I haven't seen that brought up until my post here on CMV. All I really know is that Clinton would choose someone pro choice. I'll look into both candidates and what they say about it and get back to you.

    • 3 years ago

      Pay particularly close attention to what Donald Trump said in his speech at the convention, if you can go back and watch it. He promises to nominate the next Scalia.

    • 🎤Author
      3 years ago

      I watched the first twenty or thirty minutes and couldn't handle watching more, but I'll go back and watch the whole thing

    • 3 years ago

      Yeah, the Supreme Court stuff was near the end of the speech. I think he put it about 30 minutes away from when he talked about "L..G..B..T..Q" stuff on purpose.

    • 🎤Author
      3 years ago

      You were the first to really bring the Supreme Court into this for me, and after thinking about it, I'll be voting Clinton if it's close in my state (as much as I dislike her). Thank you.

    • 3 years ago

      No problem man. A lot of us are in the same boat, and while I don't dislike Clinton, I don't really like her either. Whats funny is the more I look into her history the more I've come around on her. I thought Michelle, Elizabeth and Bernie did great last night and Bernie hit the Supreme Court note also.

    • 🎤Author
      3 years ago

      I was very glad that he brought it up, especially after I made this post. I hope that the bernie or bust supporters don't ignore it. Maybe I've heard the argument before, but no one really put it into perspective until you. Now you got a little triangle by your name, too!

  • 3 years ago

    If Trump does what he stated and stacks the SC with right wing justices then your leftist ideas die.

    You may vote for any far left person you want as long as you do understand that if Trump gets in leftist beliefs go back generations.

    • 🎤Author
      3 years ago

      You make a great point, but quick question: isn't there only one SC spot available?

    • 3 years ago

      Most people feel that there are at least 2-3 spots up in the next four years as older judges retire.

      You should be looking at the CS.

  • 3 years ago

    Duverger's law shows that in any fptp political system, you inevitably end up with 2 nearly identical political parties due to the winner-take-all nature of the election. Your only hope lay in agitating for a modification to our election rules, otherwise you might as well vote for whichever candidate supports your pet social causes, because their stances will probably be very similar with regards to most policies. Third party candidates are inherently nonviable, and this is understood without much difficulty. Let's pretend Trump gets 35% of the vote, while Hilary gets 32.5% and Bernie supporters buck the system and vote him at 32.5% as well. In our system, Trump wins everything and the fact that the vast majority of voters rejected him is not taken in to consideration. A third party candidate will always act as a "stealer".

    • 🎤Author
      3 years ago

      To be fair, I hate the fptp system, and am pretty aware that it won't change any time soon. I also feel like there is no viable third party candidate that would significantly have a chance of winning, or being the "stealer". That's another reason I feel I'd rather vote for someone I believe in.

  • 3 years ago

    I hope you get a chance to see this OP: For those that don't know. If a 3rd party gets 5% of the popular vote, then they will get federal funding like the 2 major parties do, next presidential election and this one after the fact. So, since the U.S. uses the electoral college, unless you live in a swing state, it's actually the only way your vote will count. http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/pubfund.shtml [Look under "General Election Funding"]

    • 🎤Author
      3 years ago

      Thank you. And I'm still checking the comments even though it's pretty hard to keep up. My view has changed, but only if my state is very close once we get closer to the election. If it's clear one candidate will win over the other, I'll be voting 3rd party. Thanks for the link!

    • 3 years ago

      You're very welcome. Thanks for trying to actually be informed and look at views that conflict with yours.

    • 🎤Author
      3 years ago

      No problem! I try to expose myself to as many different points of views as I can. Luckily this sub exists and a lot of the users are very persuasive! The reddit circlejerk can get annoying.

  • 3 years ago

    This all comes down to what you think is more important - the intention behind your vote, or the practical effect of it. The first disclaimer is that ultimately, whatever you decide to do is almost entirely meaningless because there is only a very small chance that your vote will actually matter (by which I mean, the outcome would be identical however you decide to vote). Let's put this issue aside for now.

    You seem to value the intention of your vote more than the practical impact of it. Playing into the two party system, choosing the lesser of two evils rather than the candidate you want most, sacrifices the spirit of democracy in some ways. That is not, as some people suggest, nothing. I think there's something valuable in adhering to the spirit of democracy, as it would make the world a better place if it could be universalised.

    Unfortunately, it can't. You only get to decide what you do, and you get to try to convince other people to think and act the same way. It's unlikely you'll be able to change enough people's minds to your way of thinking, and even if you do it'll take a long time. In the here-and-now, there's a system in place. The system in the US (and many other places, like the UK where I am from) use some form of First Past the Post or Winner-Takes-All voting systems. These are, in my opinion, abysmally inadequate (summarised well by this popular video by CGP Grey, in case you haven't seen it). And one of the worst features of these systems is the long-term incentives they create towards a two-party system. As you've said, the US has been a two-party system for almost its entire history. It's directly a result of the voting system that this is the case. This is explained in the linked video.

    As an aside, this is currently causing great strife in the UK with the "left" party (the Labour Party), which is tearing itself apart between its centre-left MPs and a very vocal far-left membership base and leader. Really, the party should split into two parties that each represent their members well - the centre-lefts could vote for the PLP and the far-lefts could vote for Labour. However, doing so 'splits the vote' so even if they are between them a majority, they can be beaten by a minority in a unified Tory party (simple example: if the votes are 35% PLP, 25% Labour, 40% Tory then the Tories win, while if the PLP and Labour were joined they would have 60% of the vote).

    My view is that you need to change the electoral system before voting "in the spirit of democracy" makes any sense. Get to a proportional voting system where every vote genuinely counts, and you've removed the crippling incentives against voting in the spirit of democracy.

    Until then, I think you really do need to decide between the two candidates available to you and choose between them. You need to play the hand you're dealt during the election, and put money and time into changing the system for next time around. As an outsider looking in, I find it almost impossible to fathom any left-leaning view (no matter how radically far left) that would genuinely prefer Trump over Clinton, unless it was predicated on a single issue that Clinton doesn't support but Trump does (and I can't think of any of those, but that may be me being a relatively uninformed outsider). And that's if you treat them as equally capable leaders just with different policy positions, which they simply aren't. Clinton is enormously qualified for this position, more so than almost any other President in your country's history ( based on this article ) while Trump seems to be a populist with no relevant experience and who is willing to indulge some of the ugliest parts of the country in order to get attention on himself (e.g. comments relating to why there should be a wall on the Mexican border, proposing to ban entry to your country on the basis of religion, supporting actual war crimes in response to terrorism...)

    To me it doesn't look like "the lesser of two evils", it looks like "someone who doesn't agree with most of my politics, versus someone who is actually dangerous to a great many people both in the US and in the wider world". We get hyperbolic about how bad some of our politicians are in the UK, but nobody - nobody - can hold a candle to Trump.

    • 3 years ago

      This is a long read, but I think it addresses your concerns pretty well (especially the last half). This article is in response to an earlier article by the same author analyzing public opinion about Hillary.

      The TL;DR version summed up in a few quotes:

      political parties that want to remain functional need to vigilantly oppose those who would transform guiding principles into inflexible doctrines. I sense an increasing desire among some on the progressive left to do exactly that, and it’s a terrifically bad idea. And really, how is it possible that anyone on the left hasn’t already figured this out? For decades we’ve all had a front row seat to watch the Republican Party eviscerate itself through increasing demands of fealty to unrealistic and ridiculous purity tests. The result has been a ludicrously right wing, anti-reason, anti-science, completely dysfunctional and fully obstructionist movement.

      and this:

      The antidote to [partisan politics] is not greater “purity” of doctrine, it’s not a demand for all-or-nothing policy positions and it’s certainly not a surrender to fear and anger. The cure is reason and pragmatism. And if it’s possible to propose a political stand that’s less sexy than that I can’t imagine what it is. But the truth is that politics isn’t actually sexy, and it doesn’t really look like an Oliver Stone movie. Usually it looks more like C-Span. Real politics is “the art of the possible”, which is a fancy Prussian way of saying you’re going to have to compromise. For years an increasing number of conservatives have insisted that compromise is a dirty word, a public display of submission, capitulation or even betrayal. But actually it’s just standard, competent governance. And the inability to acknowledge that is one of the key reasons the GOP can now barely function.

      and this:

      Factions with strict ideological agendas love to pretend as if all policy issues, problems and solutions are simple and self-evident. But this is absurd. In truth, our world is now connected by an incredibly complex web of political, legal and economic relationships; a Gordian knot of competing agendas that can quickly take “simple” solutions to very unhappy places. Responsible politicians know this, and the law of unintended consequences patiently waits for those foolish enough to think otherwise. Which is why seasoned leaders like Hillary Clinton often favor nuanced and incrementalist approaches. These approaches are not particularly inspiring, to be sure. They also leave politicians like Clinton open to charges of avoiding necessary change or maintaining “failed” systems. But on the plus side they don’t set the world on fire. And unlike the people screaming at you on the Internet, this is something that government leaders actually have to think about. Because at the level of leadership and decision-making we’re talking about, even well planned and seemingly isolated decisions can sometimes turn pear-shaped in a very big way. Or did you not get the memo from Gavrilo Princip?

      • 3 years ago

        If you vote 3rd party, you actually vote against your beliefs.

        By voting 3rd party, The Democrats lose a vote from you, and then the Republicans might get the majority of the votes.

        • 🎤Author
          3 years ago

          That wouldn't be voting against my beliefs, it's more complicated than that if I dislike both candidates

        • 3 years ago

          By voting 3rd party, you won't be voting on the major party which you agree with the most, and thus you'll hurt that party and help the major party you agree with the least.

          This link probably explain it better than me: https://youtu.be/s7tWHJfhiyo (the relevant part is the last bit starting 5 minutes in)

          Edit: I probably should have said interests instead of beliefs.

      • 3 years ago

        Politics is about relationships and coalition building. If you were suddenly appointed president, you wouldn't be able to get anything done because you'd lack the support network you need within the White House, much less the federal agencies or Congress. Messaging would be complicated as well, because you wouldn't have relationships with journalists or special interest groups (who have their own mailing lists). So when an outsider tries to become president, the first thing they do is build important relationships. Campaigning then becomes a tryout for governing.

        So when you see an insider run with very deep connections with all sorts of influencers, that shows that they can gather support and that they listen to those supporters. In many cases, the pragmatic politician will end up bending his own policy priorities to hold together his coalition. And reluctant members of that coalition often get at least some of what they want, because they're critical to the success of the campaign or of the elected official's agenda.

        So parties form, and the coalition that constitutes the party will steer the organization in the direction that leads to its best consensus definition of success. Staying within the organization, then, is often the best way to influence the organization. Participation is what drives revolutions, both literal and figurative. Obama took control of the Democratic party over some insiders' objections, and Donald Trump has taken control of the Republican party over a significant number of insiders' objections.

        You might find coalition building to be distasteful in the detailed nuts and bolts of gathering support, but I think the pragmatic approach is the best one. So it's not about voting the lesser of two evils, but rather about which coalition you want to build and participate in. If you're the type to take your ball and go home, then you shouldn't be surprised if the rest of the coalition deems you to be unreliable and not worth wooing.

        • 3 years ago

          Democracy should be about having a voice for your opinions

          Democracy is about compromising with the other members of your community. We want politicians who have broad appeal. We don't want a political minority imposing their views on a majority who doesn't agree with them.

          Unfortunately, the US is a fairly conservative country. The Right makes up a relatively large chunk of the nation. Further, the Left is overall fairly moderate. This means that the perfect candidate for you is going to have very little broad appeal.

          You can try to change people's views. But until the country undergoes a large ideological shift, you're going to have to compromise. That's how we want democracy to work.

          • 3 years ago

            Have you honestly looked at HRC's voting record and platform?

            Here are some areas where they agree:

            • abortion rights
            • hiring fairness for women and minorities
            • Same sex marriage
            • EPA regulations
            • Ease voter registration process
            • Criminal sentencing
            • Gun control
            • Expanding Obamacare
            • No school vouchers
            • Promoting green energy
            • Minimizing weed laws
            • stimulus better than market-led recovery
            • higher taxes on the wealthy
            • Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens
            • Oppose privatizing Social Security
            • Oppose expanding military
            • Oppose supporting "American Exceptionalism"

            These are virtually all the opposite of what Trump says he believes.

            Hillary can get elected. Jill Stein cannot.

            Hillary is an able politician who knows how to work the system and has many political allies - Jill does not. Even if Stein were elected, she'd get very little of her platform passed. Hillary will get more.

            The math is easy - if you want laws that support your beliefs, executive actions that support your beliefs, and Supreme Court rulings that support your beliefs, the only way that will happen is by voting for HRC. You won't get all of your wants, but you'll get a hell of a lot more than by voting for Stein or Trump.

            • 3 years ago

              America uses a voting system for its elections known as first-past-the-post voting. This means whichever candidate has the most votes always wins. At first this may sound well and good but in practice it raises some big issues.

              Let's say Aaron, Bob, Carly, and Danielle are all running for President. Let's say that Aaron and Danielle are part of the Red Party, while Bob and Carly are part of the Blue Party. The Blue Party and the Red Party really don't get along, in fact, they have directly opposing opinions on pretty much every major issue. It's a tough race in the primaries, but Aaron wins the nomination for the Red Party, and Carly wins the nomination for the Blue Party. Danielle lost the nomination for her party, accepts that, and ends her campaign. Bob however, who lost the nomination in the Blue Party, is very idealistic and has very loyal supporters, even though he agrees with Carly on a lot of relevant issues, so he decides to split from the party and run as an independent candidate. So we now have 3 major candidates in the final election. After election day, the votes are counted and the results are this: Aaron receives 40% of the vote, Carly receives 35% of the vote, and Bob receives 25% of the vote. Now, if you remember, Bob and Carly both ran very similar platforms with very similar ideals, but due to the voting system, whoever gets the most votes gets the presidency, thus Aaron with 40% of the vote gets elected into office. But hold on, 60% of the population did NOT want Aaron to be elected and strongly opposed his ideas, so why should he be elected?

              This is the problem we run into with the first-past-the-post voting system, and it's called the spoiler effect. It actually has happened numerous times in the American Presidential Election over the years, one of the best examples being the 1992 election. Clinton and George H. W. Bush were the nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties respectively, however, a third candidate showed up in the form of Ross Perot. His platform attracted a good number of Republican voters, and effectively "spoiled" the win for Bush. Clinton only received 43% of the votes, but had Perot not joined in the fray and upset things, Bush would have likely won by a decent margin.

              Of course there are other methods of voting but the problem is that we currently use THIS one in America. So effectively, to answer your question, if you have only a lesser evil and a greater evil to choose from, if you decide to take the path of neutrality and reject that choice, you only strengthen the greater evil, and give them a better chance to win out in the end.

              • 3 years ago

                I don't think this is inherently wrong, but I would want to reorient how you look at this, even if you don't necessarily change your view.

                What you see as "the lesser of two evils," could be rephrased as "the person I most agree with, of the viable options." This would still be true even if there were viable 10 options: all of them would, to varying degrees, agree with you on some things, and disagree with you on others. Jill Stein isn't perfect, and surely even as a far leftist you can imagine a candidate even better than her.

                I think this is an important change of perspective, because it helps you see how no matter what you do, you will always be compromising. The question then becomes how much you are willing to compromise in order to have a higher chance of a winning result, and that is a question that has no "correct" answer. If you want to compromise less but accept a much lower chance of winning, go ahead. If you are willing to compromise more in order to gain a higher chance of winning, that is also fine.

                I just don't like when people phrase it as the "lesser of two evils," because it obfuscates the very nature of the political process: it is the process of reaching consensus amongst people who may have strong disagreements. That's really, really hard. It's not "evil," it's just the nature of compromise: you will not get everything you want.

                • 3 years ago

                  As you pointed out, voting 3rd party in national elections only adds to the spoiler effect of the candidate that is closest to you ideologically. (Here is an excellent explanation video of the problems of 'first past the post' voting by CPG Grey).

                  Realistically, if you want a viable third party, it must start at the local level. If you are serious about your beliefs in a third party then you should campaign at local and state level to both A) change the rules regarding how people vote (ie. the alternate vote, proportional representation, etc) and B) share the message of the 3rd party and get others to join you. In a broken system, voting for a minority third party doesn't support your views any more than staying home does.

                  • 3 years ago

                    Stop voting for which brand of empty rhetoric is less shit. If you don't live in a tight swing state, your vote for one of two figureheads doesn't really matter. Vote locally. Organize locally. Be active where you are. Agitate. Don't channel your energy into the hollow false dichotomy of national American politics. You don't need the State; the State needs you.

                    • 3 years ago

                      If you're a far left voter, how can anyone represent your vote? Sanders is pretty mainstream as a left winger, just with some populist rhetoric. I'd vote for him as a Presidential candidate, but he's one in a million. But if you look at the past series of Democrat candidates none have been truly left wing in a real sense. The Democrats are a pro-corporate party that happen to want to invest more into the public sector than the Republicans, because they're smart enough to know that unregulated capitalism can kill economies.

                      So my logic here is that every time you vote for pretty much any Democrat, you're making a strategic vote. You're voting to keep out the worst possible case and holding your nose to vote for something slightly more palatable.

                      Really, as a proper left winger, your political actions are far more effective outside of the vote because you're just endorsing someone you disagree with. Local organizing and activism is far, far more important and will likely have a better impact on your life personally. Voting is the laziest thing you can do politically - there's so much more out there.

                      • 3 years ago

                        My biggest issue with people voting for a third party candidate for president is that they're starting with the presidency. The third party isn't going to win because the third party doesn't have the clout or exposure of the major parties.

                        We could have a viable third party candidate, but that sort of thing needs to start from the ground up. You need to install third party politicians in smaller governmental roles and build the party's reputation from there. If people went into the election with a multitude of successful third party politicians at the local and state level that they could point to, that would be one thing, but by just voting third party for president you are using your vote on a small scale protest that's just going to be swallowed up by the rest of the large party coverage.

                        If we want a giant building, you need to start with a strong foundation before you build the penthouse at the top. Same goes here, IMHO.

                        • 3 years ago

                          If you live in a safe state where the margin of victory is 5% or higher, go for it. If you live in one of the 5-10 swing states where the vote difference is less than 5%, voting third party could mean the party you really do not like can come to power.

                          • 3 years ago

                            I truly understand your frustration with the political party system we have in place. My suggestion would be to 'start local' when it comes to third parties. You're much more likely to see a shift towards a third party in a local or state race- albeit many of these candidates will still claim to be a Democrat in order to have a shot.

                            Study up in your local Democratic primaries and honestly get involved in community organizing. If you can get more progressive liberals to win the party primary, and then the general, you'll see change sooner.

                            Unfortunately the American populate isn't very informed. The presidential election is going to come down to two. And more people will vote in a presidential election than any other. So in this scenario a third party candidate that is more to the left of Hillary will take votes away from her and essentially elect Trump (See 2000 election). Primary voters are often more politically involved and knowledgeable about policy issues. You have a better chance of affecting the winning candidate there.

                            Good luck OP, I know our system is broken but I hope you stay passionate enough to work with it and in the general election vote for what is best of two and not best for your conscious in the short term.

                            • 3 years ago

                              Democracy in the US has been a two party system for almost its entire history, and I think that's horrible.

                              Reality cares little for your feelings on the matter. The reason we have a two-party system is because of the voting system the constitution lays out. It is a mathematical inevitability of that voting system. The fact of the matter is that we do not have a voting system that can sustainably support more than two parties. Having more than two viable candidates in our current system results in politicians being elected into office despite getting less than 50% of the popular vote. That is literally the best case scenario that is realistic. And this isn't hypothetical. It happened.

                              In 1992, Ross Perot ran as a third-party candidate under a very libertarian-esque platform. As a result, Bill Clinton won the presidency with 43% of the popular vote. Had Perot's voters voted for Bush (as they likely would have considering Bush was more closely aligned with their views), he would have gotten a second term.

                              Now, as someone who is self-admitted left-wing, you probably don't mind the result too much. But if a right-wing spoiler candidate can lose an election for the mainstream center-right candidate, you better believe a left-wing spoiler candidate can do the same to a mainstream center-left candidate.1

                              I also think having a two-party system doesn't have to be a bad thing. I'm assuming you were a Bernie Sanders supporter. No, he didn't win the nomination, but he did a hell of a lot better than people thought he would. What do you think would happen to the Democratic party if most of those Bernie supporters went to, say, the Green Party?

                              Sure, the Green Party might get more powerful, but that doesn't mean the Democrats are going to fade into obscurity. What will happen is that all of those new, progressive ideals will leave the Democratic Party, and only the old-school, corrupt, backroom-deal party officials and their ilk will be left. Staying with the mainstream party gives those ideals a greater chance to catch on and become part of the platform. You are far more politically powerful as a faction of a major party than you are as a standalone minor party. Do you think Bernie Sanders would have gotten nearly as much attention and votes if he had ran as the Green Party nominee or an Independent candidate?

                              Best-case scenario for the Green Party, they gain popularity, splitting the left-wing vote, leading to massive GOP election victories in the following years. I'm not saying this to scare you. I'm saying this because it is fact. It is how the system works. I certainly don't like it, but the funny thing about reality is that it doesn't care what I like.

                              I'm not convinced voting for Jill Stein, whom I am more closely aligned with politically, won't be a shadow vote for Donald Trump.

                              I find it helpful to think of it this way:

                              You are hiring a new employee. You had HR put out a list of qualifications: must have a bachelor's degree, 10 years experience in the field, etc. Let's say you have two people apply. Neither one has a bachelor's degree, one has 5 years experience and one has 6. What do you do?

                              You can't just not hire anyone, the job has to be filled. So, you hire the person who is the most qualified for the position out of those who applied for the position. You have to compromise because what you want isn't one of the choices.

                              It's not a perfect analogy, but I put it forth because it illustrates that in the real world, we can't just get everything we personally want in a viable Presidential candidate. The way our system is set up, for better or for worse, naturally and inevitably trends to two candidates. The spoiler effect, whether you like it or not, whether it's fair or not, is real regardless.

                              Your vote, regardless of who you vote for, is going to affect the mainstream candidates. Since you are on the left, your choice is to use your vote for a candidate most likely to incrementally move this country in your direction, or use your vote to either directly or indirectly help the candidate who will most likely move this country in the opposite direction.

                              To put it simply, do you want to inch right or inch left? If you want to inch right, vote for Trump or vote for Jill Stein. If you want to inch left, vote for Clinton or vote for Gary Johnson. Again, I don't like that it works that way, but it does. Either pretend the system isn't the way it is, or use it to your advantage as best you can.


                              1 I'm not going to blame the 2000 election on Ralph Nader. Al Gore won the popular vote in Florida. Nader's votes wouldn't have made a difference.

                              • 3 years ago

                                Some situations call for ideological stances, others call for pragmatism. In this case, I think the pros/cons weigh in favour of pragmatism.

                                I agree that a two party system with first past the post is a terrible way to choose a government, but this election is not the platform to change that. If you are not satisfied with the current election system, you will have to join/create some protests to make the issue visible. Only once election system reform becomes part of a party's platform can you vote to affect it. If you vote for a third party now, you aren't really voting your conscious you are throwing away your vote.

                                At this stage in America's democracy, your vote is as much about who you want in as who you don't want in.

                                Democracy should be about having a voice for your opinions

                                This doesn't mean that all of your opinions are reflected in your vote. The real power in a democracy is being able to convince other people of your position and getting them to lobby/vote for it. If you want change to go the way you want, you have to be more politically active than showing up to vote.

                                • 3 years ago

                                  In 2028 will you vote for yourself? Who as president could possibly represent your views better than you could?

                                  • 🎤Author
                                    3 years ago

                                    I wouldn't be fit to be president; I don't have and won't have the experience for it.

                                  • 3 years ago

                                    Is any third party candidate every really fit for it though? As a former governor Gary Johnson is definitely the closest to qualified in recent memory, but he broke the rules and ran 3rd party in 2012 after losing in the Republican primary process

                                • 3 years ago

                                  Those aren't your only two options. If you live in a contested state, you can try to arrange a vote trade. Find someone who supports Clinton or otherwise doesn't want to vote third party, but who lives in a heavily blue or red state. Have that person vote third party while you vote for Hillary.

                                  If you can trust the person you're trading with, this system accomplishes all your goals at virtually no cost. It promotes awareness and prestige of third parties while also avoiding the negative effects of a vote split.

                                  • 3 years ago

                                    My best friend's boyfriend is an illegal immigrant. His mother brought him to this country when he was six. She's worked every day since then. He went to school and got a job busing at a restaurant. He's worked his way up from busboy to bartender and now to assistant manager. That job is his life, because he knows that if he ever lost it, he'd have an insanely hard time finding another one.

                                    He will never go to college. He can't put in an apartment application, and has to sublet. This past weekend, some of my friends and I went on an urban exploration expedition into an abandoned shipyard. He stayed behind, since he knew that if we got caught and the police showed up, he might never go home again.

                                    One candidate in this race has said he wants a deportation squad to round up illegal immigrants like my friend's boyfriend. There are eleven million people in this country that he wants out. It doesn't matter if, like my friend's boyfriend, he has no memories of Mexico and nowhere to go once he gets dropped there. It doesn't matter if he has a life here, if he's done everything he could to live peacefully and work hard in this country. Donald Trump has made it clear that he thinks Oliver is the source of all this country's problems.

                                    I think wanting to keep your vote pure is valuable. I'm glad that people think voting is a sacred act. It's an extremely sacred act. But to be frank, I don't care about how voting for Clinton makes you feel. I care that Oliver doesn't get deported. I don't care if every single conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton is true, if she is taking money from Wall Street that she's using to send guns to Saudi Arabia, if she strangled Vince Foster with her bare hands, if she was secretly born a man, if she completely dropped the ball on Benghazi (note: none of those things are true, obviously). I care about Oliver not being deported. That is so much more important.

                                    When someone tells me that they don't want to vote for the lesser of two evils, what I hear is "I care less about someone's life than I do about my feeling of goodness from voting for someone I personally like," and I throw up a little in my mouth.

                                    I don't care who's president. I care about what they do once they are president. And there's someone who is trying to be president who wants to deport Oliver. If it happens, I won't blame Donald Trump, I won't blame the right, and I won't blame racists. I can't relate to those people. That's like blaming the weather for getting struck by lightning. I will blame the reasonable people in this country who knew that this was wrong, but decided it wasn't their job to do something about it.

                                    • 3 years ago

                                      To me it's really quite simple and comes down to one question: With your vote, do you want to send a message or make a difference?

                                      You've asked us to change your view on a vote you would rather make, but the presumptive issue (my question above) needs to be addressed by you first.

                                      Want to send a message? Vote for who you believe in. If you and everyone did this and certain fringe parties upped their votes received totals from 0.1% to 0.5% (even that is extreme), it would send a message to those paying attention that certain political movements (e.g. progressive movement) are gaining traction.

                                      But making a difference? Other than very subtle differences in the furthering of the progressive movement and any small tangible effects that may have, by sending a message with your vote you will not be making a difference in the next four years of the US government. You can't realistically expect a significant portion of US voters to "send a message" with their vote, so we're still going to see a Democrat or Republican holding office. By not voting for one of these, you are actively making a decision to not influence which of these two parties wins. That means you are actively saying (excuse me for my political bias showing here) I am fine with Donald Trump being president and will not use my vote to change that.

                                      If you think Clinton and Trump are no different, than do whatever you want as my whole point assumes that there is a "lesser" of the two evils. Voting this way (for the "lesser") isn't glamorous, certainly not sexy, and ultimately frustrating for those politically unaligned with the Democratic and Republican parties. But, for 2016, this is what responsible, long-sighted, selfless, and patriotic citizens of the United States should do.

                                      If you consider yourself a progressive or, as you say, further left of the Democratic party, the time for action isn't in the voting booth; that battle ended with Bernie's campaign. The time for action is December 2016 - November 2020 and not just getting riled up during election season but doing what's in your capability to further your movement so it's strong and robust for the next election cycle.

                                      • 3 years ago

                                        In the US political system you aren't voting for anyone, that's a common misconception. You are actually voting against the other candidate.

                                        So, if you vote for a 3rd party you're actually voting for both main candidates (by voting against neither), in essence saying either is fine.

                                        • 3 years ago

                                          There are two important things to consider here - that most policy is done at levels other than the Presidency. The President is the biggest, headline-making part of the ticket, but most things that actually affect your life are likely state level. The other is that politics is all about compromise - it's about finding the tactic that will get the most of your goals and/or ideals right now.

                                          So, you say you're well left of Hillary. You start by examining the presidential election - what will produce the leftmost policy? A supreme court that will agree with your ideals? The answer is pretty clear.

                                          But you don't like that option. That's understandable. So, you have a few options. The pragmatic, effective... but very slow and involved option is to focus more upon more local politics, where you're one of very few voices interested and could be heard.

                                          Or you can vote third party, which is about as effective at changing policy as posting your opinion on your livejournal. But you'll feel better about it and can forget about politics again for probably four years, because who needs to deal with those off-year elections? It isn't like senator or representatives matter anyway, right?

                                          • 3 years ago

                                            To clarify something, I don't expect any third party candidate to win. Voting third party would just be a vote for someone I believe in, which is part of democracy.

                                            It would be a part of democracy if we had a voting system that didn't have the spoiler effect. But we do. We use the First Past the Post voting system. So you have to factor that into your deliberations for determining who to vote for.

                                            Let's be honest, your one vote isn't going to turn the tide of an election. But think about this. If Nader hadn't been in the race in 2000, Bush would have lost Florida, so Bush wouldn't have been President.

                                            People voting for Nader spoiled the election for a candidate that may just have done something about climate change.

                                            The problem isn't you and your voting for who you want. The problem is the voting SYSTEM itself. And that system doesn't go away with any amount of wishful thinking. It is there. It is part of the constitution. And to deny the way that system works is certainly your right - but that doesn't change the facts of how terrible a voting system FPTP is. And how it's not allowing you to do what you feel is right.


                                            This country doesn't have a two party system because of any strange confluence of events. It's because of our voting system. FPTP always results in a two party system. Always. Fix the system. Fix the stranglehold of the parties. And you get to vote for whomever you want.

                                            The only way we fix the system is if we demand it. But so many people don't even know it's a problem. Don't see it as a cause. Don't even recognize that there are any other ways to vote. That they just accept it. You included.

                                            • 3 years ago

                                              Here's what I believe to be the reality:

                                              Some voters who supported Sanders got a taste of someone outside the normal slice of establishment, and they're ravenous for more. Now that they've spoiled their appetite from what they tasted, and now believe their act of defiance by (a) Writing-in Sanders, (b) Voting 3rd party (Green Party usually), or (c) Not voting at all will push their cause further.

                                              Most of these people recognize that you will not get a 3rd-party candidate in anytime soon (If you don't understand why, look up inertia and the spoiler-effect), and so this is an action based on principle—a means to hold steady on your ideals. It is in fact very democratic and lovely.

                                              Unfortunately there are too many nuances feeding this dynamic that I cannot possibly go through them all, but can try to highlight some of the major ones. Sanders is someone who moved away from the typical, "jobs!" or "we need to protect this country!" He spoke frankly, and we all appreciated that. His candidness, honesty, consistency, and passion are what fed so many people to him.

                                              The bottom-line is Who suffers? it's very easy to be idealistic if you feel there is nothing at stake, but if you ask yourself "Who will suffer?" and "Who will suffer more?" in respective cases, then the lesser-of-two-evils argument is very logical because there are actual effects.

                                              The reality is that the GOP and Democrats are nothing alike, and that's obvious right away when reviewing their respective party platforms. One has denied climate change outright, one pushed for more awareness. One recognizes income inequality as an issue, the other does not. One recognizes the value of higher public education, the other frankly does not. The next reality is that very few people are actually satisfied with their party's nomination and eventual President. What we have is an unfortunate situation where people caucus to the closest president that represents a fraction of their views. This could mean Candidate A represents 20% and Candidate B represents 10% of my views. If I know as an almost-certainty that one or the other will be elected, well, it's obvious I go with Candidate A.

                                              And when they're equally-bad? This, "they're all the same" rhetoric tends to be an indication that you're uninformed on the party platforms, current-events, and historical context than it suggests that they're actually the same. Very, very rarely are two candidates cut from the same cloth. Now they may use similar dirty tactics, but in politics is oft-recognized that the ends justify the means, and if you're not willing to play dirty, well, you aren't advancing your cause whether it's good or bad. That's where Sanders was different because he was able to last amidst a sea of wolves for so long, push out changes where he could and still survive with his integrity intact.

                                              Americans are not very politically-engaged + Media is for-profit

                                              A negative feedback loop occurs when most media is for-profit and adopting a model of targeting a specific audience along the demographic/political-spectrum and feeding them what they want to hear rather than what they should or need to hear. Corporate media has zero obligation to provide you with the facts and truth. Roger Ailes recognized this early that targeting the conservative (generally older) spectrum was an easy way to earn money. Fox sold war, and in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq War push, their views skyrocketed 300%. MSNBC and CNN soon followed-suit, targeting respective niches (MSNBC, the Democratic-left, and CNN the lowest-common denominator).

                                              What happens is a cycle where an uninformed and/or apathetic populous continues to degrade. This leads to those people who perceive Sanders and Trump as being roughly "The same." They couldn't be farther apart, but what attracts these uninformed voters to either one (or lumping them into the same boat) is that they both speak frankly like I mentioned. The problem is one is a candid intellectual, and the other is quite frankly a candid bigot. But if you know little about politics, news, and history, then you probably cannot distinguish one from the other.

                                              How do we get out of this?

                                              Well, thanks to the Internet there is now a way to break the cycle. Sanders has proven that you can keep a cleanly-financed campaign and still out-raise even the biggest names in politics who tap into SuperPACs and take money from big business. Every election cycle there is a candidate that edges closer and closer to toppling the establishment. It's a classic David vs. Goliath story, and Sanders almost did it. The next time around, it may be the one depending on the candidate we have. Once we get a candidate who is willing to break current campaign finance and election laws, we inherently widen the pool of candidates capable of running for election. Intellectuals now stand a chance. Run a campaign on the basis that Campaign Finance Reform and Money-in-politics is largely a bipartisan-supported issue among people. Once in, make this your number-one goal to:

                                              1) Have publicly-funded elections only 2) Change our election system from FPTP to IRV or Approval Voting 3) Address Gerrymandering 4) Strengthen FEC/FCC Laws on broadcast journalism, separating commentary from actual news (with fact-checking report-cards).

                                              Larry Lessig, Harvard Professor, and little-known Democratic primaries candidate ran on a platform similar to this and believed it was so crucial that this was the only thing he ran on. Furthermore he promised to step down and let his VP take over once it was finished. Obviously more a gesture to emphasize the importance than grounded in reality.

                                              In the meantime, when progress fails, you resort to damage-control. And you want your next ideal President to not have to clean up as much mess so that they may get started immediately on progress, not rebuilding. So I strongly encourage going with the lesser-of-two-evils, and to distinguish the two, do an I Side With survey.

                                              For more information on the spoiler-effect, lesser-of-two-evils, and First-Past-The-Post Voting, please watch this great video.

                                              • 3 years ago

                                                So I think the question ultimately comes down to "what do I want to achieve with my vote". Now I would personally say that my ultimate goal would be to move the country towards some ideal that I have in my mind. So what are my options?

                                                1) Vote third party. Well it's definitely an option, and the argument for it would be that it's a signal to the major parties of what sort of candidate you want. But does it work. Well that's hard to say, but I'd lean towards 'no'. Why? Well a few reasons. Firstly, for better or worse, there are more votes to be gained in the middle of the spectrum than on the edges. If the greater of the two evils wins, then it's in the interests of the lesser evil to move towards the greater evil to pick up those votes - it's simply a more effective strategy. Secondly, the greater evil now controls the narrative - they're the ones who are giving the speeches that everyone watches on the evening news. That's going to move the attitude of the electorate as a whole towards the greater evil, making it that much harder for the candidates that you do like to win elections in the future. Thirdly, whether it's fair or not, the people who might normally agree with you will come to view third parties as spoilers, and turn against them, rather than support them. Look how many votes the Green party got in 2004 compared to 2000 - playing spoiler for Bush did nothing to strengthen them as a party - it just made people hate them.

                                                2) Vote for the greater evil. Basically the same as (1) but without even the benefit of letting people know what you actually support.

                                                3) Vote for the lesser evil. There is nothing morally objectionable, in my view, about this option. Life is filled with imperfect choices, and being able to accept that is a strength. You wouldn't praise a doctor who refused to treat a cancer patient just because chemotherapy has negative side effects, after all. So if you go with the lesser evil, what does that get you? Well for one, it's lesser, and that's better than the greater evil by definition. But that's not all you get. Because if the lesser evil wins, then the greater evil has to move towards them. That shifts the national conversation in the direction that you want, and as that happens, that gives the lesser evil room to start moving towards the ideal that you really want. Look at gay marriage. Support for it over the past 8 years has exploded (though certainly we have a long way to go), and I think that's in no small part due to the fact that Democrats like Obama have managed to take control of the narrative. And even if you believe that was just for political gain, and he doesn't actually believe in equal rights for homosexuals, in some ways that doesn't really matter, because the national attitude has changed regardless. Slow change works. Sure, it would be nice if it were faster, but some things just can't be done quickly, and there's nothing wrong with that. Does the United States have a long way to go? Absolutely. But we've also come a really long way since our nation was founded, and we've done that by trying to select the lesser of two evils ever four years for the last 230 or so years. It's not a perfect system, but it gets things done.

                                                Now as for the specifics of Trump vs Clinton, I hope you'll forgive my copying from a post I made earlier in a different thread:

                                                Come this November, one of two things will happen. Either Hillary Clinton will be elected president, or Donald Trump will be elected president. Evidence points to Clinton being a more hawkish Obama. She will support progressive legislation in congress. She will sign progressive bills that reach her desk. She will nominate for the Supreme Court justices who will uphold the progress we've made on civil rights over the last eight years, and who will oppose citizen's united. She will push for further health care reform. She'll enact needed environmental regulations. She'll support our allies abroad. And why will she do these things? Well even if you don't believe that she actually cares about any of it, I think there's one thing we definitely can agree on, and that's that she'll want to be a two-term president, and she'll want to have a legacy that's largely viewed as positive. Whatever her personal beliefs, that requires that she'll pander to the democratic base. I trust that if nothing else, she'll be a good politician.

                                                As for Trump...he peddles hatred and fear, and as president would control the national conversation for at least four years. Bigots across the nation would feel emboldened, and just as we've seen in the United Kingdom following Brexit, incidents of hate crimes would increase drastically. He'd sign GOP bills that came to his desk, which means the gutting of environmental protections, trashing all the progress we've made on health care, and tax cuts for the very wealthy, which would simultaneously increase the deficit. He would nominate justices who would favor citizen's united, and who would take rights away from minorities. He would talk about abandoning our allies, which combined with his hateful rhetoric towards foreigners and non-Christians would make the world less stable, because believe it or not, what the President of the United States says matters. Hopefully he wouldn't be able to enact this disastrous trade policies (I'm no fan of exporting our terrible IP laws overseas with the TPP, but the level of protectionism Trump is talking about is simply insane and would hurt everyone - blue collar and white collar alike), but at a minimum the uncertainty would be there, and that would slow growth. He's got a thin skin, and knows nothing about foreign policy. Clinton may be a hawk, but at least she's a smart hawk. She's not the sort to fly off the handle just because someone speaks negatively about them. It's very telling just how much praise Trump has gotten from the direction of Russia.

                                                So yes, from my perspective, supporting Clinton is the right thing to do. Not a shadow of a doubt in my mind.

                                                • 3 years ago

                                                  It's like the old moral philosophy question to stump vegetarians. If someone offers you a chicken and says "if you don't eat this chicken, we will kill another chicken", would you or would you not eat that chicken?

                                                  You can stick to your morals and NOT eat the chicken while the other chicken dies, which still goes against your beliefs because you are now indirectly the cause of the death of an animal. I.e vote for a 3rd party and inevitably let Trump win.

                                                  OR, you can eat the damn chicken because it's already dead so it's not causing harm and save the other chickens life (even though the act makes you sick to your fucking stomach) I.e vote for Hillary, the lesser of 2 evils.

                                                  • 3 years ago

                                                    I must say, even though I identify myself as mainly a libertarian, I whole heartedly agree with the fact that we need to stop voting for "The lesser of two evils" and start voting for those that we trully believe in. I don't like donald trump at all, disagree with almost everything he talks about and I don't agree with Hillary Clinton on anything not to mention the amount of scandals and lies that her and Bill have been caught in over the many years that they have been relevant. Frankly I don't trust either of them, which is why I'm voting with my conscience this year and not the lesser of two evils.

                                                    DOWN WITH THE TWO PARTY SYSTEM!

                                                    • 3 years ago

                                                      The mathematically optimal thing for you to do depends on how you value things and their probabilities, so ultimately nobody else can demonstrate it. However, I can show you the math.

                                                      The expected value) of different options is equal to the probability of the outcome multiplied by the value of that outcome to you, or E(i) = p(i)*v(i).

                                                      In a first-past-the-post election, your options can be parsed into two possible outcome from your vote. Either, (1) you can increase the odds of your preferred of the top 2 likely winners actually winning, or (2) you can increase the odds of a third place polling (or lower) candidate actually winning. People sometimes like to point out that the probability of affecting the outcome is negligible for affecting any outcome as an individual, but that's irrelevant. It's not your absolute effect that matters, but your relative expected values between your own options that matters when deciding what you should do.

                                                      For most people, the answer will be #1, to vote for the preferred of the top 2 even if it's the "lesser of two evils". Choosing the lesser of two evils, or better of two choices, has some value, and the probability is reasonable no matter how small on your single contribution because the winners of the top 2 choice do change from election to election. The probability of #2 is many orders of magnitude smaller than #1, meaning typically,

                                                      p(1)*v(1) > p(2)*v(2)

                                                      There are cases where this isn't true. If third place is sufficiently close to the top 2, the probability of #2 increases and may grow E(2) > E(1). Another case is when the value of #1 is essentially zero (negligibly small), meaning you hate both leading contenders equally, v(1) ~= 0. Then E(2) > E(1).

                                                      A third case is when the value of #2 is very large, even with the small probability. It may not be the direct value of the outcome of the election. The value could be the signal it sends, for example, for future elections. In that case you are saying the pain of letting Trump win now vs Hillary is a small enough pain relative to the value of changing the parties to be better parties in the next election, with better candidates; a "pain now for value later" option. But, then you also need to consider the probability of a vote for third party having an effect on changing the two major parties. If you include it on the value side, you need to include it in the probability side.

                                                      It sounds to me like you are referring to this third case. You admit you prefer Hillary over Trump, so the first case doesn't apply. You admit third party has negligible chance of winning, so second case doesn't apply. It really comes down to whether you, being honest, think the value message it sends in making change, and the probability of the change, is enough to overcome the (negative) value greater of two evils winning and it's probability.

                                                      Do you honestly believe p(third party message making change)*v(third party message making change) > p(lesser of two evils)*v(lesser of two evils)?

                                                      If yes, then go ahead. If not, you are, by definition, being irrational.

                                                      By the way, this is one of the biggest reasons first-past-the-post is a horrible voting system. Range/score voting is the most superior (rate each candidate out of 10) or even approval voting (yes/no for each candidate) is a huge improvement. (Ranked ballot/instant-runoff-voting is almost as bad as FPTP but sadly is the leading contender as a replacement.)

                                                      • 3 years ago

                                                        There's no point voting for anyone that isn't running for one of your major national political parties (Republicans and Democrats in the USA) since it won't count. If you're not going to vote for one of the likely winners, you are throwing your vote away. Just give up. The world is the way it is and the only people capable of making any change are the gods (billionaires).

                                                        • 3 years ago

                                                          You should find some Ross Perot supporters and ask them how they feel now, because many voted for him in 1992 because of similar feelings you are having about finding a candidate they believe in the strongest. The 18% of the votes that went to Perot could have potentially swung to Bush (41) instead of Bill Clinton.

                                                          I'm 45. I'm really irritated that I can't get retirement saving to grow ever since the markets were deregulated. I'm going to have to work longer to get to a stable retirement now. Generations after me will have it worse. The generations before me don't get it because they have guaranteed pensions which large organizations and businesses don't offer anymore. Those businesses too can't rely on the markets (especially mutual funds which used to get on average 12% increase annually) to steadily grow large funds in the long run because of the increasingly regular crashes. Big businesses don't care as much because they can use large sums of money on the short term boom and bust to boost profit. That option just doesn't realistically exist for us small fries.

                                                          And That's my issue, my personal gripe about the failure of government to protect us from fraudulent bankers and Bernie Sanders was the only one talking very strong on that point. Now he's out and I have to make a realistic choice. What happens if I don't vote, vote for an independent or write in candidate, or vote for Hillary? The realist in me has recognized if I don't vote or if I vote for a 3rd party, Trump will get the slight majority and most likely win. So my distrust and disgust of Trump, a wealthy snob who doesn't care about working class people's retirement, outweighs my disappointment with Hillary. Even though my vote does not perfectly align with anyone, not even 100% with everything Sanders promotes, my vote still has power. I will spend that power to make sure a PT Barnum Reality TV Show Host doesn't become president.

                                                          So, I'm with her.

                                                          I think the decision is not "lesser of two evils" because in reality the vast majority of us will not agree 100% with any candidate all of the time. This is the reality of a rule by majority, representative, democratic government. Just because I strongly disagree with some of a candidate's ideas or just because someone has made some poor ethical decisions doesn't make them evil. It's makes them human. I will vote for the better of the two humans. I think the decision is better referred to as a choice between Idealism and Realism. In a perfect world, Ideals would always be the better choice. It is not a perfect world. I hope the personal view I have shared will help you with your decision. Good Luck, man.

                                                          • 3 years ago

                                                            Trump worse than Clinton as a person? Your views are so backwards I won't even begin to attempt to change them.

                                                            • 3 years ago

                                                              Voting for two lesser evils. One of the evils always wins (Think Hitler vs Stalin. You will vote for and be responsible for one or the other). ALSO, you are telling the third guy, "Don't even try, don't bother, there will be no votes for you no matter who you are". So in a race between Hitler, Stalin, and Jesus, Jesus gets no votes.

                                                              • 3 years ago

                                                                This truly depends on whether you're in a swing state. If I lived in a solid red state, I'd vote for third party in protest/support. However, if you live in a swing state, please vote for the candidate that most closely aligns to your beliefs. In FPTP, you'll waste a vote going for third party where it matters.

                                                                • 3 years ago

                                                                  You gotta play the game by the rules we have in place. Are you in a swing state? Is it polling closely? If yes and yes, you should vote Hillary.

                                                                  I voted Nader in 2000 (and currently there are some terrifying similarities to that election). I did it from a very blue state. But, if I had done it from Florida, I would probably regret it. I voted for the right guy, and W marched in and devastated my country. And, you know, other ones like Iraq.

                                                                  Trump will be at least that bad. He is profoundly ignorant on so many major issues. He has had a year of running for office to buckle down and learn shit. He didn't do it. You know why he has time to call into all the political talk shows? It's because he isn't spending the time preparing to be president. Seriously, is there a single major issue out there that you think he has an airtight grasp of? Where he can, in depth, go over the pros and cons of every side? Where he could convincingly argue the other side? I can go on at length about other reasons he would be terrible, but you already agree. I do, however, feel the need to emphasize how unsuited to the job he is because it is very important. He would be a disaster.

                                                                  Well, the most important thing is to not let him become president. To do that, you gotta play in our shitty pick a president game, old and wormy though it is. That means if Trump might win your state (I would say if he is polling within 5 points), hold your nose, maybe throw up in your mouth a little, and vote Hillary. It may feel like you betrayed everything you believe in, that you did not do what is right. But you did. You helped prevent Trump winning. There is no glory in it, and you won't get what you want, but you did help avoid calamity. You do want THAT right?

                                                                  Now, is your state not close? Say, CA, AL, or TX? Please vote 3rd party. It is good for our democracy and you can probably find somebody close to what you really want. And, if you engage further, you will meet some interesting people who share your political philosophies.

                                                                  • 3 years ago

                                                                    I'm gonna try to change your view mathematically.

                                                                    For this exercise, we must assume that happiness is the most important thing in the world. This is a philosophical belief I have which you're welcome to challenge...but that's a complete other topic.

                                                                    Happiness = H
                                                                    and the goal is to have as much H as possible.

                                                                    D = the amount of happiness that the democratic candidate would bring (or take from you) if elected

                                                                    R = the amount of happiness that the republican candidate would bring (or take from you) if elected

                                                                    I = the amount of happiness you get if you vote a 3rd party that is closer to your political stance. In this scenario, as OP states, there is no expectation that the 3rd party candidate would win, so no need to create a variable on how much happiness that 3rd party candidate would bring.

                                                                    If D or R < I, then you'd be better off voting for the lesser of the two evils. This means that if the happiness you get from voting 3rd party doesn't make up for the misery you'd experience if one particular candidate won, then you should instead be voting against the candidate that would bring misery.

                                                                    We absolutely need more political parties and there's things we can and should do to ensure this in the future, but those things happen long before the general election.

                                                                    For example, I imagine we all would benefit from having a 3rd party take the debate stage and have equal time. The criteria for a 3rd party to be included in the debates is that they have to be polling above a certain number. If you are approached by a poll (which has absolutely no legal standing), please please please just say you're supporting whoever the 3rd party candidate is, even if you're not...because THAT would benefit you, and all of us. It does not obligate you to vote for them.

                                                                    • 3 years ago

                                                                      To start, a question for you. Do you think that voting should be more a sort of straw poll that allows people to express their feelings in a mostly inconsequential way, or do you think it should be used to decide important local and national matters?

                                                                      • 3 years ago

                                                                        I resent the idea that voting third-party is "wasting a vote." In any presidential election, one vote is not going to determine the winner no matter what, so why not ease your conscience by casting your ballot for someone you actually support?

                                                                        • 3 years ago

                                                                          Here's the thing. Were this a normal election cycle I would agree with you. I would accept that people should choose the party and vote that they want, and go most with their conscience on this one.

                                                                          But this isn't a normal election cycle. We have a politician who has somehow been accepted into the mainstream espousing policies like banning people from entering the country based on religious affiliation. That alone should set off the kind of alarm bells that tell you that we're dealing with the kind of person that goes well beyond the just "I disagree with them" type of politics.

                                                                          Also, I feel the need to point out, that a politician getting into office has far wider ramifications than simply the policies they will enact. I'm British and we've just recently seen this in my country. With the success of the Brexit vote, we saw a massive upsurge in racial abuse and in some cases violence. The act of voting for Brexit meant that many of the people who were racist who had been pushed away and away by decades of hard work, now suddenly felt as though their views had been validated and accepted, and so they were free to act on their beliefs. This was only over something as tangentially racist as Brexit. Imagine what the far right in America will do when they actually have a president who is openly racist.

                                                                          I know from what you've said that you don't like Clinton, and that's fine, I understand that, but ultimately the good of being true to your own conscience is at this stage, far less important than the good of stopping a politician who has drastic and deeply damaging plans for your country, not to mention stopping the emboldening of those people who have even worse plans.

                                                                          • 3 years ago

                                                                            If this isn't allowed, let me know-- but one reason to vote your conscience over party is to try to get a third or fourth party to the debates in future elections. But I'm not trying to cyv, so this is probably out of place.

                                                                            • 3 years ago

                                                                              Democracy should be about having a voice for your opinions

                                                                              This is really not the point of democracy.

                                                                              If all you want is a voice for your opinions, that's the purpose of Freedom of Speech, not democracy.

                                                                              If one wanted purely an effective government that listened to its people, it's provably the case that a benevolent competent dictatorship is superior to all other systems (in brief, if any other system were better in some specific instance, such as voting, a competent, benevolent dictator would use that method when it was appropriate, and avoid it when it was not, and no one could override their benevolent, competent decision for politics).

                                                                              The problem with this is that you always eventually get a bad dictator, and that form of government has no way to remove them, because their word is law (by definition).

                                                                              The purpose of democracy is to avoid bad dictators, not to get the best possible, nor the most representative, government.

                                                                              Democracy is a check and balance on government. It is a way of getting change in government without having to have a revolution, which has many negative problems.

                                                                              The entire point in this election (or any other) is to avoid the greater evil. That's what democracy is for.

                                                                              Your voice really doesn't matter in any specific policy way, and it really shouldn't matter, because if it does matter, then that's just an example of a dictatorship of a tiny minority that statistically is almost certainly not competent and benevolent.

                                                                              The place your voice matters is as part of any huge waves of dislike for a particular candidate, because that helps us avoid the worse leader.

                                                                              • 3 years ago

                                                                                Democracy should be about having a voice for your opinions

                                                                                This is not what representative government is about, nor is it what it should be about. It's not even what our system was designed to be.

                                                                                Elections are about designating people to do the job of governing the country. You are hiring somebody to do a job. You will never find a person for any job that is 100% of what you're looking for. But the job still needs to get done so you accept that you live in a world where you make the least worst choice and you move on.

                                                                                The work of a statesman is important. They must have developed, above all, high levels of competency in management, statecraft, policy analysis, and rhetoric. Once you have people who pass that qualification bar, THEN you start worrying about whether they constitute a good cultural fit in terms of values and outlook.

                                                                                If you want a soapbox to make your personal opinions known, there are plenty of avenues to do that. The ballot box isn't one of them. If you want your values to be better reflected in the public arena, there are plenty of avenues for you to do the hard work of making that happen as well. But again, the point of an election is not to seek validation for your personal values. It is to hire the most qualified person available to do an important job.

                                                                                If no qualified people are available, you have to go with the least unqualified person to minimize the damage while you work to fix the system to offer up more qualified people in the future. This means not only working and paying attention to developments more often than every 2 to 4 years, but also learning and educating yourself regarding the relevant facts and details about policies and the very real and difficult trade-offs involved with any big decision a politician makes. It also means paying attention at the level where things aren't glamorous. It means getting to know who is running for your local alderman's office, your county commissioners, your school boards, and your dog catchers. Because these are the party rank and file members who comprise the system that needs changing in the first place. You can actually talk to them and let your opinion be known rather than throwing a tantrum at the ballot box and expecting them to draw whatever you conclusions you hope they will draw based on it.

                                                                                When you do that, you will probably find that you have a lot more common ground with the politicians that you blithely dislike than you thought you did. You will also learn to develop real depths of hatred for specific people that you didn't know you were capable of. And if you keep at it, you'll find yourself swallowing your pride and dealing with those assholes just to make sure the things and people you care about don't get fucked even if it means giving them a lot of what they want.

                                                                                • 3 years ago

                                                                                  Should I vote for a third party candidate that has no statistical chance of winning the only statement I am making is about my ignorance of the political system we have in place in the US.

                                                                                  You fail to see the bigger picture. There is MUCH more at stake than seeing your preferred candidate in the presidential race. You need to consider the supreme court appointments that our next president will make. You need to look at how our next president is likely to vote on other important issues like immigration, education, economy and health care.

                                                                                  Personally I don't care much for either candidate. But I still know how they will vote on some really important issues and the type of people that they will appoint to life long posts. If I stay home or vote for "Mickey Mouse" I may as well vote for the candidate I like least. The candidate that is sure to vote against the issues I would like to see enacted or maintained.

                                                                                  Voting 3rd party certainly doesn't give me the right to say "Don't blame me, I voted for..." If I throw my vote away on someone who cannot win (yes I would be throwing it away) I have only guaranteed that I and my ideals will be alone and miserable for years to come because I have voted against my best interests, just to take some kind of "moral higher ground".

                                                                                  TL;DR

                                                                                  When you vote for the "Third Party Sweetheart" the only candidate that wins is the one furthest from your political/ideological standing.

                                                                                  • 3 years ago

                                                                                    Would you vote for Clinton if it were Clinton vs Mussolini?

                                                                                    • 3 years ago

                                                                                      Think long term here. The Democrats have shown an extreme disdain for their voters and have actively and intentionally misled people, distorted and falsified information, and abused the trust of the people they want to vote for them. They have shown they don't care about the beliefs or feelings of those they supposedly represent and every step of the way silenced or ignored you and everyone else who shares your values. BUT they are counting on you to vote for them and they think that if they scare you enough you will still support them. If you show them that you will not tolerate their behavior, that is the only way they will ever change. You vote for Hillary and they will know they own you. Now Trump on the other hand is what the republican voters wanted. The establishment Republicans might have tried to stop him but they eventually accepted what their voters wanted. In this sense Trump is the lesser of two evils and voting him in is the only way the democrats will ever realize you're not a servile dog willing to do what they say as long as they smack you hard enough. Vote Trump, the lesser of the two evils, now and hopefully next election the candidate you want won't be cheated out of the nomination.

                                                                                      • 3 years ago

                                                                                        Think long term here. The Democrats have shown an extreme disdain for their voters and have actively and intentionally misled people, distorted and falsified information, and abused the trust of the people they want to vote for them. They have shown they don't care about the beliefs or feelings of those they supposedly represent and every step of the way silenced or ignored you and everyone else who shares your values. BUT they are counting on you to vote for them and they think that if they scare you enough you will still support them. If you show them that you will not tolerate their behavior, that is the only way they will ever change. You vote for Hillary and they will know they own you. Now Trump on the other hand is what the republican voters wanted. The establishment Republicans might have tried to stop him but they eventually accepted what their voters wanted. In this sense Trump is the lesser of two evils and voting him in is the only way the democrats will ever realize you're not a servile dog willing to do what they say as long as they smack you hard enough. Vote Trump, the lesser of the two evils, now and hopefully next election the candidate you want won't be cheated out of the nomination.

                                                                                        • 3 years ago

                                                                                          Going just by the title of this post, and not the context(although I did read it):

                                                                                          I would rather vote for a third party candidate that is closer to my political standings rather than "the lesser of two evils"

                                                                                          Imagine a super horrible candidate which you know will do anything in his power to turn America in a dictatorship and try to take over the world. Clearly evil.

                                                                                          Then also imagine a candidate who is not that great, but a hundred times better than the first. Maybe he will want to criminalize marijuana, alcohol and coffee. Seems like a horrible candidate, but at least not as bad as the first.

                                                                                          Imagine a third party which is absolutely wonderful and you agree with them 100%. This third party would have no chance whatsoever to win this election though, since they'd get maybe 1% of the vote(if that).

                                                                                          Would you in this situation still choose for the moral high ground, and not for the lesser of two evils? If you would still vote for the third party, I would think you're crazy. If you would vote for the lesser of two evils in this case, then I think it just comes down to where you draw the line, and maybe you find Trump winning acceptable in order to make a (valid!) point about American politics.

                                                                                          • 3 years ago

                                                                                            I'm not going to change your view, because (depending on where you live), it is 95% unlikely that your vote for president is going to matter at all.

                                                                                            • 3 years ago

                                                                                              If your pride is more important than your own well being, then go right ahead. Frankly, all politics is a lesser of two evils choice.

                                                                                              • 3 years ago

                                                                                                I know this is cmv, but I support your view. Voting for a third party candidate in line with your views increases the chances that you'll see candidates converging on some of those views in the future (at least as much as voting for the lesser of two evils increases the chances of the lesser of two evils winning).

                                                                                                Of course theres a caveat. It depends on how big the gap between the lesser of two evils is, and how big the gap between your preferred candidate and number 2 is. This might be one of the extreme cases where going with abhorrent, but stable option would be best. Its hard to predict because trump is such an unknown. He could be a slight disaster who isn't much worse than a national embarrassment, or he could be a huge fucking disaster. Id bet on him being closer to the former, but the low probability giant risk is something that needs to be accounted for.

                                                                                                Edit: I just thought of another point. Don't let any Hillary supporter lecture you about throwing your vote away on Johnson. They should be ashamed they are supporting her. They should not be voting based on team. They should be voting based on the best candidate for the job. The lesser of two evils line of reasoning does not apply.

                                                                                                • 3 years ago

                                                                                                  You say you your views are to the left of Hillary. Since Trump is to the right of Hillary, politically you are closer to Hillary than to Trump (which you admit). Since we have a first past the post system, a vote for 3rd party makes it more likely that Trump will be president. So by voting 3rd party you are effectively voting against your own interests.

                                                                                                  Belonging to a democracy means you have power (i.e. through a vote) to cause the political and social change you want. By voting 3rd party you are not using this power. You are nullifying your intended political influence. Although you want our society to become more liberal, you are causing it to become more conservative. So although it might make you feel good to vote for someone you "believe in" more than Hillary, in reality you are not effectively participating in our democracy.

                                                                                                  • 3 years ago

                                                                                                    I'll just say at some point you can live by pure idealism or by rationalism. If you're an idealist, it's wonderful, but usually nothing gets done with idealism. If trump would be 10x worse than hilary and literally DANGEROUS for the united states I say vote for clinton. With clinton it'll be 8 more years of obama's america which isn't the worst thing in the world. It's not a bastion of idealism and democracy, but it's pretty damn good place to live.

                                                                                                    So I'm voting for hilary because I believe trump is literally dangerous to the world and hilary will be fine. My 'voting my conscience' or hilary 'deserving my vote' don't get in the way of me doing what I think is best for the country that has given me so much in life. I think you'd be a better citizen going with the 'lesser of two evils' even though I don't think hilary is evil at all.

                                                                                                    • 3 years ago

                                                                                                      Thinking of something as a 'lesser of two evils' is an issue. Its not about voting for what is less bad, its about voting for what is closest to a viable option that leans toward what you want.

                                                                                                      No one will ever even be 90% of what you want. Voting for a non-viable option is not really a way to make a change at this time. Hopefully one day that won't be the case.

                                                                                                      I'm also very far left of the Democratic party, but at this point I just need them to keep the status quo. They wont enact things that I'd prefer, but at least my friends and family won't be torn apart. Personally I don't have much to lose, but I know that some of the things that the other side has promised will cost people their marriages and citizenship.

                                                                                                      To me that's not about evil, its about not voting for what I 'want' but what is necessary.

                                                                                                      • 3 years ago

                                                                                                        put it this way. you're on a road trip with a few friends. there are seven of you and three of them want to listen to Beatles. you're okay with the beatles, but since you've actually started listening to music, you've realized you're actually far left of the beatles. so instead of saying, "sure, beatles" and outnumbering 4-3, you suggest everyone listen to deadmau5. they all laugh at you except for one of the other beatles fans who supports you, and the remaining 3 now have a majority vote and put on the best alt-country. they know alt-country and they have the best alt-country. they went to alt-country school. for the next 4 hours you're listening to goddamn songs about trucks.

                                                                                                        all because you split the vote 3-2-2. blue jeans. warm smile. hotdogs for supper. dirt road. red truck. america.

                                                                                                        • 3 years ago

                                                                                                          Whoever is president will be the representative of you and your country, no matter if you voted for them or not.

                                                                                                          Voting for the lesser of two evils is the pragmatic way to make sure that YOUR representative is not someone completely at odds with everything you believe.

                                                                                                          Throwing away your vote on a moral feeling is not a solution to your conundrum.

                                                                                                          • 3 years ago

                                                                                                            Democracy is a two party system in the US because of the way the Constitution says we must elect our president. To become president, a person must receive 50% plus 1 of the votes of the Electoral College. If no one receives 50% plus 1, the House of Representatives decides who the next president will be. In other words, even if the unprecedented happened and a third candidate received enough votes to have more than anyone else they still wouldn't become president.

                                                                                                            (Eg: If Gov Johnson managed to get enough votes to split the race, the House would elect Trump and he would become president, even if Trump had come in second place behind Clinton.)

                                                                                                            • 3 years ago

                                                                                                              Whichever party you choose will be closer to one of the major parties than another, which means you will that party will receive less votes and give a bigger change to the party you don't like.

                                                                                                              In your case, if you vote to something left of democrats you will cause them to have less votes in the electoral college and by extension help the republicans win.

                                                                                                              To really understand this you have to understand that third parties will not be as big as the democrats or the republicans this election (or anytime soon probably). There is no chance of a third party winning so voting for one is almost like voting for the party your don't like.

                                                                                                              • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                I think that voting for a non-option is harmful to the democratic system, and a direct opposition to Democracy as it is implemented in the U.S - not a part of it.

                                                                                                                The candidates you get to pick on election day don't come out of thin air. The positions and agendas of the parties aren't decided by some hidden masters - they are both the outcome of a very active Democratic process that takes place during the years between election days. Those are the processes that make the most impact and those are the places where you would, if you actually care about your political perspectives, try to put your weight in - to shift the position of the party's on issues, to affect which candidate is presented for election by the party (by participating in the primaries), etc.

                                                                                                                Voting for a non-option on election day is the same as completely ignoring the entire political process that preceded these candidates - it's analogous not accepting the elected president as your president. Millions of people have devoted their time and money and casted their votes to bring those individual to the final stand. Ignoring that is undemocratic.

                                                                                                                • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                  You're in a room and you have three buttons before you.

                                                                                                                  The first button will administer a mild shock, after which you will be free to leave. The second button will cause a knife to stab you in the eye. The third button will either shock you, stab you, or have a beautiful stranger come have sex with you (odds being 49.9%, 49.9%, and 0.2% respectively).

                                                                                                                  Also, whatever happens to you will also happen to everyone you know.

                                                                                                                  Given that, doesn't it seem a little... irresponsible to press button three? It's all well and good to talk about how you shouldn't have to choose between two bad things, but ultimately it makes a lot more sense to take the mild shock and then work on improving the system afterwards than it does to risk you and everyone you love being stabbed in the eye.

                                                                                                                  (Just in case anyone wants to try to claim that electing Trump isn't like being stabbed in the eye, I'll just leave this here)

                                                                                                                  • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                    None of the other comments are loading for me so someone has probably said this but you're basically giving Trump a vote if you vote third party. If you vote for Hillary, the lesser of the two evils, you're giving her an advantage by one vote. The potential third party votes would give Hillary an advantage over Trump.

                                                                                                                    It's a dumb system and I wish that third parties stood a chance so that people like you could really get their voices heard, but right now it's not really that practical. It sucks.

                                                                                                                    • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                      Do that in local elections. Third parties gain traction in state and local level.

                                                                                                                      President will be one of two options. If enough people are as selfish and short-sighted as you then we will end up with the candidate that is the greater of two evils.

                                                                                                                      • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                        In general? Yes. In a first-past-the-post voting system? No.

                                                                                                                        It's simple game theory. If you know the two evil powers will each get about half the vote, and a 3rd ideal candidate comes along who won't steal ALL the votes from the lesser evil, anyone who votes for the 3rd candidate will split the vote, and the greater evil is guaranteed the win. Assuming your goal is to keep the greater evil from winning, your best choice is obvious.

                                                                                                                        • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                          It's very simple. One of Hillary or Trump IS going to be the next president, regardless of whether you vote 3rd party or not. If you choose to vote Stein or Johnson because Hillary doesn't represent the perfect candidate for your vote, then all you're actually doing is helping elect Trump.

                                                                                                                          • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                            Voting for the lesser of two evils reduces the likelyhood of the other candidate winning, while voting for a candidate who will not win has no affect, and might as well not be a vote at all (as far as determining the winner goes).

                                                                                                                            The first past the post voting system is not problematic because people like to vote for the lesser of two evils, but because they must, if their vote is to be considered.

                                                                                                                            • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                              Won't try to change your view. I'm with you on this one.

                                                                                                                              • 🎤Author
                                                                                                                                3 years ago

                                                                                                                                Actually my view has changed (as long as my state doesn't have an obvious lead closer to the election)

                                                                                                                            • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                              It's all about our OFFICIAL two-party political system. By design, there must be two parties, it's up to the people to decide which two.

                                                                                                                              If you want change to come within the next four years, simply voting for a third-party presidential candidate who doesn't have a chance of coming in 1st or 2nd seems like a throwaway move to me.

                                                                                                                              Personally I'm ready for two new parties.

                                                                                                                              EDIT: I'm really interested in how we as Americans can start to "vote" in additional, meaningful ways (we can now only vote with our dollars or by chad-punching holes next to specific candidates/propositions...) What if we could go on the record for what we think is right-- AND, by potential contrast, what we believe should/shouldn't be legal/lawful?

                                                                                                                               *How do you FEEL about x?*
                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                              Is different than

                                                                                                                               *What should WE DO about x?*
                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                              Sometimes I think people just want to be heard. Our current electoral system gives individuals so few opportunities for input, many feel it's their only chance to weigh in and will unfortunately will do so by aligning ballot issues with and against their ideologies, whether or not the issues are related or actually aligned.

                                                                                                                              • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                                It depends a lot on what your goal in voting is.

                                                                                                                                Is it to declare, regardless of results, who you think the best / most ethical / whatever candidate is?

                                                                                                                                Or is to have the best chance of policy reflecting your priorities?

                                                                                                                                I won't tell you that either of these choices is right or wrong, but depending on your answer, voting for a third party could be right or wrong.

                                                                                                                                • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                                  Third party won't get elected, simple as that.

                                                                                                                                  • 3 years ago
                                                                                                                                    1. The shortsighted view of many people like yourself only hurts the progressive cause. Voting hillary will at least keep the country as it is right now but with incremental improvements. Think of Obama's second term. It's better to work off of an improved system that we have now than one that will be completely sabotaged by Trump.
                                                                                                                                    • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                                      I would too, but our current voting system means that doing so is enabling the election of the candidate you least agree with.

                                                                                                                                      Until we allow instant-runoff elections, I will vote for the candidate who is (1) most similar to me and (2) most likely to win (among the candidates I agree with).

                                                                                                                                      The second criterion means that I will be voting for Hillary Clinton.

                                                                                                                                      • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                                        For all intents and purposes, third party candidates have zero chance of being elected to the office of President.

                                                                                                                                        Thanks to our current voting system, by voting for either Jill or Gary, it's one less vote to count against Hillary or Donald who just so happen to be running in the two parties that garner the most attention.

                                                                                                                                        • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                                          Do you believe in literally every single thing that the third party candidate believes, as well? No? Then aren't you just voting for the least of 4 evils?

                                                                                                                                          You're better off just writing yourself in. Because there's no other way you're going to be able to vote for someone who agrees with you 100% of the time.

                                                                                                                                          • 3 years ago

                                                                                                                                            Explained very simply: The major third party candidates are still very liberal, which would attract more "Would-Be Hillary voters" than "Would-Be Trump voters." if it takes off that people should vote third party, then it'd most likely split Hilarys vote, guaranteeing Trump the win by a huge margin.