This is not the time for voting third party

Olivia Barfield

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Just like many of you, I’m overwhelmed (and somehow also underwhelmed) by our choices this election cycle.

And while some of us are picking our favorite of the two main party candidates, Clinton and Trump, some are looking to the outer edges of the political spectrum for a more comfortable place to cast their votes.

As many people are beginning to point out, we don’t have just two choices.

In fact, there will be 13 presidential nominees on the Louisiana ballot, but only four that anyone can remember the names of.

Aside from Clinton and Trump, these are Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson, a Libertarian.

Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of voting for either of the two major party candidates and are opting instead to vote for Stein or Johnson. I kind of get that, but I think we’re failing to see the bigger picture here.

When you vote third-party, you’re taking a vote away from the “lesser-evil” candidate, whichever candidate you think that is.

And in this election cycle, taking a vote away from one of the two major party candidates is almost like voting against them.

If you vote third party, you are wasting your vote on a candidate who doesn’t have a chance instead of using it to help decide a close race.

I get that Clinton and Trump aren’t everyone’s cream of the crop.

Personally, I’m satisfied with electing Clinton and slightly terrified of electing Trump, but I can still see the bad side of each. But for many, these bad sides can’t be overlooked.

So, instead of voting for either option, some voters are turning to the thirds.

This allows them to maintain their patriotic duty of voting while also maintaining a clear conscience.

But really, what’s the point in voting when your vote won’t actually get your candidate elected?

It’s clear that Trump and Clinton are sharing the reigns on this election, and there’s no room for anyone else.

The U.S. has been a two-party system and will remain one for some time.

There are simply not enough people who will stray from this. Look at the polls (all of them). Too many people are already for Clinton or Trump.

A third party candidate cannot win. But they can change the results.

In 1992, Democrat Bill Clinton’s win was partially due to a split of typical Republican voters between the party’s candidate and a third party candidate. It’s similar to what happened in 2000, when Bush won over Gore.

I’m not saying that the two-party system is the prime of the political universe. I’m not saying that anything other than a two-party dominated system could ever work—similar democratic systems in other countries work with more than two major parties.

What I am saying is that now is not the election for a third-party candidate voter surge.

It’s also not the election for “voting your conscience.” As I said, a vote for a third party splits the votes of whichever party you would otherwise back.

We are in a winner-takes-all system when it comes to electoral votes. You split the little vote, you risk your last choice getting all the big votes.

In the past two presidential elections, Louisiana has voted Republican.

This year we are forecasted to do the same.

Polls show Trump taking as many as 53 percent of the votes this year, which would give him all eight of our electoral votes.

Clinton isn’t too far behind, with as many as 40 percent of the votes going to her in one poll.

These same polls show as many as 20 percent of voters opting for an “other” option, and as many as 12 percent voting for a third-party.

If the Democratic party unites, this could be a close one.

It’s a long shot, but Louisiana’s votes being cast toward the democratic ballot is more likely than them being cast toward a third-party.

In case you missed it, we just elected a Democratic governor, and he publically supports Clinton.

Regardless of where we sit in the polls right now, this state has the potential to go either way.

No, we aren’t a swing state, but we still get eight votes of the 270 votes it takes a candidate to win.

Our votes still kind of matter. And I don’t know about you, but I’d like my vote to go towards at least attempting to stop Trump.

So don’t vote for a third party because it makes you feel fuzzy inside.

Vote for who you think would do the better job of the two main party candidates.

Don’t waste your vote.