Peoples’ vote should be based on policy, not protest

Emma Berdanier

Common rhetoric permeating this election is the “lesser of two evils” argument. Voters, in large part, hold extreme reservations of the major parties’ candidates and instead of voting for one, they’re voting against the other. But in the case of voters who despise both candidates equally or who are fed up with the system as a whole, instead of sticking with their party or voting for the lesser of two evils, they’re voting
third party.

The influx of popularity of third party candidates comes not from people who traditionally align themselves with a third party, but from both Democrats and Republicans who are fed up with their party’s candidate. More than that, third party voters are attempting to vote their way out of what they perceive to be two equally corrupt parties in a corrupt system. However, a vote for a third party candidate should be cast just as one for a major party candidate — voters should decide based on policy, not because said candidate isn’t Trump or Clinton.

One of the third party candidates, Jill Stein, ended her campaign through Texas with a rally at Huston-Tillotson University on Monday. The goal of her campaign is to gain 5 percent of the vote, ensuring the Green Party will appear on the next general election ballot. Given 56 percent of voters dislike Trump and 52 percent dislike Clinton, it is possible that Stein will get the votes she needs for her party to remain viable.

However, I urge voters not to vote for Stein based on their dislike of Trump and Clinton, or their dissatisfaction of the two-party system as a whole. Instead, they should consider her policies when voting for her.

The Green Party’s platform is established on a scientific basis — or so it’s advertised. But Stein has repeatedly supported policies that contradict the general consensus of the scientific community. She’s made anti-vaccination remarks and has compared the critique she’s received for these remarks to the Birther movement. She’s raised concern over the potential negative health effects of using wireless internet, even though the WHO has declared it safe. And in her platform, she promises to require GMO product labeling and promises to move America away from GMOs altogether. But the scientific community largely supports GMOs as they use fewer pesticides and could be a part of the solution to
world hunger.

Judging Jill Stein based on her platform and the issues she supports on the campaign trail, she isn’t a better option for our country than Clinton or Trump. By voting for her, or any third party candidate, you are effectively throwing your vote away. Third party votes should be made — just as all votes should be made — based on the candidate and their policies, not as an act of protest.

Berdanier is a philosophy junior from Boulder, Colorado. Follow her at @eberdanier