24 October 2020

The case for voting for a third party


The purpose of voting is to make your view heard. It is not simply about voting for someone who then comes to power. Such a course of action is guaranteed to elect someone who doesn’t represent you, and it is better not to elect anyone at all than someone who doesn’t represent you.

There are many simpletons who fancy themselves as political campaigners, and they get a disproportionate say on social media (especially Twitter). Their message is often to vote for whoever will most likely win. Such sentiments can be dismissed as simple idiocy, but they are in fact more insidious. The vote-grubbing is an attempt to manipulate electors to vote for representatives who don’t represent them; a clear violation of democracy.

Having voted already by mail for the Libertarian Party’s candidate, Garrison Center director Thomas Knapp wrote, “So does it really matter whether I vote or not? Absent some earth-shaking development that I can neither predict nor bring about by force of will, more than nine of every 10 voters will choose “business as usual” by casting their ballots for Donald Trump or Joe Biden. They’ll vote against freedom and for an ever more authoritarian state. And yes, they’ll almost certainly win.”

If asked why voting for a candidate with no chance of success matters, Knapp will respond:

Because it matters to ME, that’s why. I have an opinion, voting is a way of expressing that opinion, and the vote total my preferred candidate gets, however small, will remain a matter of public record long after you’ve forgotten this column.

If one or two of a hundred voters choose freedom, they — WE — light a flame of hope in the deep dark night of fear and loathing that is 21st century American politics. A tiny, guttering flame, perhaps, but a flame I’d not want to see go out entirely.

Your vote is your voice. I won’t join my voice to the voices of the party of hate or the party of fear. Will you?


People whose views aren’t represented by either candidate should be actively encouraged to vote for a candidate who does represent them, even if there is no hope of such a candidate achieving office. If people are bullied into voting for one of two candidates, especially because this is patriotic or ideologically upstanding, it is no different than being forced or shamed into voting for a single dictator “candidate” and offered no alternative. – ClubOfInfo

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