This is an old problem
Politics in America bend to the will of two parties: Democrats and Republicans. Why?
- Money. Big dollars bank roll these two parties. It takes a lot of money to keep your agenda in the news and part of the culture. Brain-washing is expensive. Which brings us to reason number two.
- Exposure. They are the loudest parties. They get the most press time and overall attention from major media companies.
Affiliation with, or much less voting for, a party that is neither blue nor red seems foolish. Everybody knows the president is going to come from one of the two big parties. If your values, principles, knowledge of history, or opinions about who would be best for the country bring you to the conclusion that your ideal candidate is not part of the two-party system, you must choose the lesser of two evils, right? It’s the only strategic move, right?
The way out = Principles + Money + Votes
If we continue to vote for the least evil candidate, there will never be other options. Someone must decide to open the door for a more diverse political landscape. The Federal Election Commission allows any party that receives at least 5% of the general election to gain access to federal monies specifically set aside for presidential campaigns. http://www.fec.gov/press/bkgnd/fund.shtml
Since no third-party candidate received 5% of the vote in 2008, only the Republican and Democratic parties are eligible for 2012 convention grants, and only their nominees may receive grants for the general election when they are nominated. Third-party candidates could qualify for retroactive public funds if they receive 5% or more of the vote in the general election.
Some say the electoral college really chooses the presidential election winner so the popular vote doesn’t really matter. But the popular vote does matter. Even if it’s just a bit. Just enough to give a third-party the wedge they need to get into the public’s spotlight a little more.
If your principles line up more with a third-party, then don’t give up hope. Support the candidates you believe in. Vote for what you believe in.
How do you know which candidate lines up with your principles?
I use tools like VoteSmart.org, ISideWith.com, Brigade.com, and OnTheIssues.org to learn who actually makes decisions in favor of things I value. I use FiveThirtyEight.com to keep track of the polls in real time.
Find the candidate that aligns the most with your principles, opinions, morals, economic philosophy, or whatever you really believe would be best for our country. Vote for that person with a clear conscience. You’ve done your part.
The END of the WORRRRLD!
I know, I know, every election is literally the end of all humanity if the other candidate is elected. Remember in 2000 when the Earth exploded upon the election of Bush? Remember in 2008 when the Solar System vaporized when Obama was elected?
But maybe this time it really is the end. Maybe if Dollary Clump, or Honald Trinton, gets elected the galaxy will finally lose hold of itself and collapse deservedly into its own blackhole.
And of course, Aliens
Either way, the newly elected president will obviously walk directly into a meeting with the secret aliens to accept his marching orders. So… why not go down in history as voting for what matters to you!
[Updated for 2016]