Your third-party protest vote is a throwaway

By Krystyna Serhijchuk, Columnist

As a first-time voter, I’ve found myself particularly excited for this election cycle. Finally, I’m able to make my voice heard and engage in purposeful political discourse with my peers, revved and ready to contribute to the political process.

It’s been an interesting election to follow, from the onslaught of liberal “Bernie Bros” and their almost attainable political revolution, to the shocking things that have come out of Donald Trump’s mouth – things that one simply cannot make up.

Wherever your political ideology lies, or whatever you think of the candidates, we all have one thing in common: We want our individual voices to be heard.

And that is exactly why this isn’t the time to cast protest votes, or more specifically, to vote for a third party. These votes only end up benefiting the two major party candidates in the end. A third-party candidate has no chance at getting elected.

A common theme that’s been prevalent in this election among young voters is distrust in the establishment and the two-party system. No one seems too enthused to be choosing who they view as the “lesser of two evils,” and many are opting out completely by not affiliating themselves with either major party. This youthful group of voters wants to vote for a candidate they morally support and feel connected with; who they feel is responsive to their concerns.

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Many prior supporters of Bernie Sanders are deciding to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Sanders, a longtime independent until he decided to run for president as a Democrat, has even expressed disapproval of this himself.

In a recent interview, Sanders expressed that he “want[s] anybody who’s thinking about voting against Hillary Clinton, and casting a protest vote because she is not all they would like her to be, to understand what the consequences for the country and the world will be.”

A young voter might find Hillary Clinton to be untrustworthy, a try-hard, or cold, but this should not be enough of a reason to vote third-party. Millennials are now our country’s largest generation, making us a potentially pivotal group of voters. And many young voters do not seem to understand how a protest vote, or not voting at all, can alter the outcome of this close election.

Your frustration should be channeled into something more tangible, by working with the system and voting for a candidate who has a real chance of getting elected.

Then, you can hold them accountable for fulfilling your wishes after the election, instead of throwing away your vote and ultimately only benefiting a major party candidate —– and probably doing a favor for the candidate you originally viewed as being the “worse of two evils.”

When it comes down to it, you can either stay out of the voting booth altogether, choose between the two major party candidates or throw away your vote by seemingly voting but really not making an impact in the way you think you are. Your vote just might be a pipe dream.

Krystyna is a junior in LAS.

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