The Voting Dangers of the 2020 Election:

Voting 3rd party, not voting at all, or casting an uninformed vote

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Two words: Florida 2000

As the closest election in American history, the 2000 presidential election was a rollercoaster ride that no one was prepared for.

From mistaken media projections that resulted in a concession call  by Al Gore to George W. Bush that was only to be withdrawn an hour later, to “the 36-day political and legal war over how to resolve what was essentially a tie.” 1 …To the finale of Bush ultimately capturing the presidency only after a fiercely divided Supreme Court made the erroneous decision to end the manual recount in Florida…. A recount that may have resulted in a totally different outcome.

What it ultimately came down to was: several hundred votes in Florida that determined the winner of the election. 

It’s hard not to have flashbacks as we gear up for the 2020 presidential election.  2 candidates that have claimed the national stage in a very close race, where it will all come down to a couple of swing states.

I’m schvitzing just thinking about it.

What’s Covered in this Article

  • The negative impact of 3rd party voters on current and previous elections
  • Why Kanye West is running for president
  • Why you should NOT cast a vote for a 3rd party candidate in the 2020 U.S. presidential elections
  • What the 2020 battleground states are (What the swing states are)
  • Why people vote 3rd party 
  • Why you should vote in the 2020 elections (your vote matters)
  • What’s the lesser of two evils: not voting or casting an uninformed vote

The Dangers of Voting 3rd Party In the 2020 Presidential Election

During the presidential election of 2000, unscrupulous tactics were definitely involved in skewing the Florida votes in favor of Bush, including voter suppression, flawed ballot designs, and, of course, the 5 corrupt conservative justices of the Supreme Court who ultimately disregarded state and minority rights, in order to secure Bush as president. And even though there’s a slew of shenanigans going on, there was also a legitimate presence that contributed to the very close race: 3rd party voters. 

You see, at the time, 3rd party candidates garnered around 138,063 votes in Florida. And 97,488 of those votes went to Green Party’s Ralph Nader. And for those of you who don’t know, The Green Party is generally seen as left-wing. The party supports more liberal concepts such as environmentalism, LGBTQ, social justice, racial equality, etc etc. The reason that all of this matter is because those 3rd party votes mattered dramatically in the 2000 presidential election. Those 97,488 votes were not even remotely enough to propel Nader to presidency… but if those voters had decided to cast their vote for Gore, the outcome of the election may have been very different indeed. 

To quote Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld:

I often wonder how history would have been different if Gore had won: would we have invaded Iraq, what turned out as a misguided and disastrous venture that resulted in the death of over 4,000 U.S. military personnel and severe injuries to thousands more, and the expenditure of trillions of tax dollars wasted needlessly. And the deaths and injuries to literally hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, plus the political destabilization of the entire Middle East giving rise to radical terrorist groups. At home under the Bush administration, we witnessed a gradual loosening of governmental regulations on Wall Street and the housing industry, which set the stage for the biggest downturn in domestic and international economies since the Great Depression.

So I ask those who voted for Ralph Nader, did you really walk away with your integrity intact? Did your vote serve the best interests of the country? In this crucial election year, for those who are considering not voting because you either don’t believe your vote will matter or because your candidates don’t conform to your idea of a “perfect” political leader, think again!2

The problem with voting 3rd party is that it historically siphons votes from the group that is ultimately most closely related to it, essentially giving votes to the opposition party. Think of 2016 when Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party’s Jill Stein played a significant role in battleground states. 

And this brings us to the question of:

Why is Kanye West Running for President?

The reason Yeezy (who’s actual party alignment is called, “The Birthday Party”… legitimately) is running for president is clearly in an attempt to hurt the Democratic nominee Biden. He’s capitalizing on the 2000 and 2016 formula that strips left-wing candidates of votes, thereby securing a right-wing win. The chances of Kanye winning the election are about the same as you walking outside and having a winning multi-million dollar lottery ticket fall from the sky and gently land in your hands. And he knows this. But he does have a very real possibility of garnering some supporters in swing states, that would ultimately result in a Trump benefit. He knows this as well.

Why You Shouldn’t Cast a Vote for a 3rd Party Candidate in the 2020 U.S Presidential Elections

There is fear that this election is both very important and might be very close, making it dangerous or irresponsible to squander one’s vote on a third party,” Columbia University political science professor Robert Erikson relayed in an interview with Forbes.

The simple answer is: in the case of this election, casting a 3rd party vote basically means supporting the candidate with a party that is most in opposition to yours. 

The fact of the matter is: the U.S largely represents a 2-party political system… and it pretty much always has. In fact, a 3rd party candidate has never won office. This doesn’t mean that they can’t in the future. It just means that while a number of other political parties exist, the majority of people in the U.S align with either one of two parties: Democrat or Republican. The reasons for this can be many and don’t really matter at this point in time because we are already at the final playoffs and this is the structure of the game we play in. It involves 2-parties.

Because it has been determined that Trump and Biden are the candidates representing each of the 2 parties, for all intents and purposes, those are the two options we have. Biden. Or the biggest threat to our democracy and country since I’ve been alive. Those two options. And these two people represent drastically different things. So if you subscribe to the idea that you are indifferent about the candidates, I challenge you on that… deeply. 

At this point in time, voting for someone other than Trump or Biden is basically like showing up at a rap battle, and as the deliberator/MC asks everyone to make noise for which one of the two finalists should win, you wait and then shout a different 3rd person’s name who isn’t even involved in the battle anymore. It just doesn’t make sense. 

The Future of the 3rd Party

Now, if at some future time, the large majority of us determine that the 2-party system ain’t workin’ for us anymore, then we can start to open very real and effective discussions about expanding. But that has yet to happen.

To change the status quo in virtually any cultural, societal, or political regard is a big damn deal. It takes time, it takes diligent effort, it takes convincing, drafting an idea of a better option, etc etc etc. Psychologically, it’s been shown that when people adhere to something, ie “this is the way I’ve always done it,” it’s much more challenging to get them to do something different. It just is. It’s not impossible but it is challenging and takes time and effort consistently. This is the same case for expanding into 3rd party political territory. 

Also, while yes, it is true that during a time when both presidential candidates aren’t highly favored, it created a better opportunity for a 3rd party presence to get attention, this year, this election, it won’t matter and that’s not the case. This year, there isn’t the type of support for certain 3rd party candidates like we say on 16 or even 2000. 

So my suggestion is: All things considered, accept that there are really only two candidates for president at this time and choose one of the two to vote for. Choose the candidate that has policies that most align with you (or the 3rd party you wanted to vote for). 

What do People Hope to Gain by Voting 3rd Party?

The main reasoning I’ve heard is that people wish to slowly build a 3rd party presence or base of support over time. So while their vote won’t determine the outcome of the immediate election, or even potentially the next many elections, it will reflect in numbers and support. The concept is that over time, votes for 3rd party candidates build because other people see that support is growing for other party options until at some point, the 2-party system becomes obsolete. There are a lot of holes and assumptions here that would take far too long to walk through. So overall I say this: Do I think it’s possible that happens? Sure. Do I think it’s the most effective approach to building a 3rd party presence in the US? Not at all. Do I think it could have detrimental effects on our democracy along the way (potentially as it pertains to the elections where those votes could have changed the outcome of who is in power)? Ab-so-fucking-lutely.  

The other reasoning I’ve heard is the “I’m voting with my conscience and I genuinely like better.” While this may feel like a proper way of addressing a complicated election process… it’s elementary in its foundation. It’s removing the second part of the equation: your impact and the result of your actions. Do the ends justify the means?

And that is the case of this election. So I’ll say it again, please, for the love of the Buddha, all things considered, accept that there are really only two candidates for president at this time and choose one of the two to vote for.

Why You Should Vote in the 2020 Presidential Elections

Your vote matters. Your voice matters…

We see this at a local level (ie who’s your mayor? who’s on your city council? what policies are passed?) and at a national level: who’s the president? All of this is a result of our voting. Of our political participation. Whether we choose to see it as such or not. It’s just the simple fact. And if you live in a swing state: Your vote really matters. 

Before I get too much into this, I know what you’re thinking: “Yeah but it doesn’t really matter because at the end of the day, we have an electoral college, and those mother truckers can vote for whoever they want.” Yes. That’s true. We do have an electoral college. And it sucks. It needs to go. It has no place in our current political system. And that’s something that I hope we all care enough about to dedicate diligent time, effort, and energy towards reshaping BEFORE the next presidential election. It’s too late to do anything about it before this November. It just is. However, the real important work happens all of the time. This is what I always try to remind people of. There are decisions being made that directly affect us and the people we care about all of the time. Literally all of the time. There are city council meetings. There are school board meetings. There are caucuses. There are midterm elections. I mean voting is happening all of the time both formally and informally whether you are paying attention to it, or an active voter, or not. As for the outcome of this specific election: your vote and your voice matters. And if you happen to live in a battleground state full of swing voters: your vote REALLY matters. 

Remember, Florida 2000. Or dare I say 2016?

What are the Battleground states in 2020?

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

Ultimately, if you don’t vote, didn’t vote, and don’t plan on voting (for whatever scapegoat reasons you’d like to draft to yourself), as far as I’m concerned, you better not complain. Because you aren’t taking part in the process.

What’s Worse: Not Voting or Casting an Uninformed Vote?

I’ve drafted this question in my mind many times: What’s worse: Not voting at all? Or casting an uninformed vote? …both are unnerving. 

It’s the wave to say things like “rock the vote!” and “go vote!” It’s a trend to post pictures of ourselves with our voting stickers or on our way to the polls. That is a quick way to get support and validation from a large group of people. But when celebrities and us regular humans are pushing these messages, some key adjectives are missing: educated and informed. We should be shouting: “Rock the educated and informed vote!” and “Go cast an informed vote that you arrived at after educating yourself on the candidates and their policies!” Don’t just vote to say you voted. Please.

If you’re just going into the polling location and doing what we all did on that physics test in high school that we didn’t study for, bubbling in patterns or selecting “c” for all answers in hopes you’ll get something right, we’ve got problems. Big problems. 

I want to get real for a moment. It might sound harsh, but it needs to be said: Not voting is the easy thing to do. It’s the complacent and lazy thing to do. It takes the least amount of effort. Point blank. And that is what makes it the most appealing to people. Not voting is conveniently inconvenient. You know what also is appealing and requires no real effort: complaining. Complaining about things without offering up or contributing to very real solutions. Like voting and involving yourself with politics. 

Voting requires some level of effort and energy. And casting an educated and informed vote requires a great level of effort and energy. It means aligning yourself with sources you trust… and consistently checking the information you are consuming about each candidate or policy. That shit takes time. And cognitive ability. Stamina. And frankly desire. 

Showing up for the test is one thing. Showing up for the test prepared and confident, because you did the legwork, studied your ass off, and made it a priority is another. Do the latter. 

Happy voting and may the odds be ever in our favor.

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