I voted for Evan McMullin, and I didn’t throw my vote away.
Before you go off on me, please read onward. Most of your arguments will be discussed below. This is not written in the spirit of vindictiveness. If you are voting FOR Trump or FOR Hillary based on their principles and character, I respect you. I don’t necessarily understand how you reached that decision, but I can respect it. And I ask that you afford me the same respect.
Argument: you’re throwing your vote away!
This is a cry I continually hear from close friends, family, and anonymous folks, as Trump would say, in the cyber. This only hurts when it comes from someone I know and respect. It shows what they think of me. They think i’m foolish, too idealistic, or stupid. But I choose not to dwell on the emotion. People who ask often become very emotionally-driven when they find out who I am not voting for. You may fall in this category, I can still respect you, just drive the emotions back and look at things intellectually with reason and not emotion.
A side-question here, that I really hope you will take time to think about: why should you allow my personal non-intrusive decision to affect your happiness?
The question I have asked the “You’re throwing your vote away” people is, why do you consider my vote for Evan McMullin to be a wasted vote? The typical answer is, because he won’t win.
The conclusion I reach from this response is that Some of the people who argue this point are doing so because they are team voters and they have a team mentality when it comes to elections. They want to win. No matter if their candidate is a giant turd sandwich, they just want to win. If the candidate they agree with most doesn’t have a statistical chance of winning, they toss the candidate aside.
They may end up voting for someone they don’t necessarily agree with, only someone they hope won’t screw up, and for someone who they think has the best chance of winning based on their own political strategery and complex electoral math that most pollsters can’t even predict accurately.
Your vote only matters if the person you voted for wins. That is the logical conclusion that is reached when you consider the arguments of the “you’re throwing your vote away!” folk. That means if their guy loses, they’ve wasted their vote. When I point this out to them, they say, “No, I’m just making my voice heard.” Well, I’m doing the same thing by voting third-party.
I’m sure you want to make another argument right now. Don’t worry, I’ll get to it momentarily.
Those type of “throwing your vote away” people are not alone, lots of people are like this. I used to be one of them. They only see their vote as validation if their guy wins, or failure if their guy loses. If you are in this group of people, shouldn’t you be okay if I choose someone who is going to lose, and with your logic, I lose? Shouldn’t that make you happy that I lost? Isn’t that the goal of being on a team, to win and have the other guys lose? So why get all upset at me when I choose someone who will likely lose? You win, after all.
I’m not voting for the purpose of being on a winning side, I’m voting in order to make it clear where my principles lay. I don’t vote strategically, I can’t depend on the unpredictable and ever changing electoral math. i vote FOR a person I feel matches my principles, not my emotions. If my guy loses, I can still control my level of happiness, just as I could before the election. If I make a different choice than you, please respect it. It doesn’t make us enemies. It just means we have a differing opinion. Telling me that I’m wasting my vote is disrespectful to me and to the democratic process. How I vote says nothing about you, and how you vote says nothing about me. Please don’t take my decision personally.
When I make those points to the “you’re throwing your vote away!” people, they usually insult me in one way or or another and will either walk away, or, more likely continue making other arguments.
Argument: well, we need you on our team, or we might lose! And if you don’t join our team, and we lose, it’s your fault!
First off, wow! I’m deeply touched. I had no idea that you have that high of an opinion of me. My single vote can sway the outcome one way or the other? My influence will make that much of a difference? If I choose not to join your team, and your team loses, it’s not the fault of the team or its leader?
The fact is, your team failed at recruiting me. That’s not my fault. In political terms, if Trump fails to convince me to vote for him, that is Trump’s fault, not mine. I don’t give my vote away freely, someone has to earn it. Hillary failed at that, Trump, Johnson, Stein likewise.
Argument: a vote for McMullin is a vote for Hillary (or Trump)!
No, a vote for McMullin is a vote for McMullin. It doesn’t take anything away from Trump, or Hillary. They never had my vote.
Argument: McMullin is just going to be a big spoiler, handing the election over to Hillary (or Trump)!
Again, this is on Trump, or Hillary. They failed to earn my vote.
Argument: it’s a binary choice! You have to choose either Hillary or Trump, and we can’t have Hillary win, so you have to vote for Trump (or vice versa)! It’ll be your fault if (blah blah blah blah)!
I don’t vote against anyone. Not anymore. I also don’t vote strategically. Lots of people do, and I understand why. I just can’t vote that way anymore. I believe this type of vote has lead to the two-party corruption and two-party tyranny we experience every election cycle.
If any vote is a wasted vote, it’s this kind. More accurately, its a misuse of a vote. It doesn’t stand for anything. You’re using your vote to protest, but the electorate will see it as a vote for the other person. Have you thought about who this protest will bring into office? They may be just as bad as, or worse than, the person you were protesting against. The animosity you have may blind you of the deficits of the person you are bringing into office as the result of your protest. Your vindictiveness robs you of the intellectually-driven conversations you are otherwise capable of having.
In the case of protesting against Hillary, you have to ignore the HUGE deficits of Trump. You have to excuse them, ignore them, defend them, even if you don’t like Trump. He has had every stance on every issue, all depending where in the election cycle it is. So what, we can’t have Hillary, right? He’s a pig who may be guilty of sexual assault. Who cares, we don’t need to find out if he is guilty, because we can’t have Hillary. He doesn’t understand what Russia is capable of. Big deal, Hillary is a liar. Trump is vulgar, vindictive, and uncivilized. It doesn’t matter, Hillary should be in jail. This type of conversation is not driven by intellectual honesty, but by animosity. It’s not pro-Trump, it is anti-Hillary. Similar arguments take place on the other side for those voting against Trump. This kind of vote is not FOR anyone. And if you fall in this voter category, I don’t hate you. I certainly don’t understand or agree with you, but I can still find things about you to respect.
Instead of misusing your vote with a protest, and wasting your time telling people that Hillary is a criminal when they already know it, you could have spent time finding someone you could vote FOR. Someone who matches your principles.
That is exactly what I did. Neither Trump or Hillary earned my vote. They didn’t even come close. Voting for them would mean compromising way too many of my principles. It would be too long of an unstable bridge. And even if I could cross that rickety bridge, I wouldn’t like what was on the other side. I’d hate myself for doing it.
I began seeking out other candidates. Gary Johnson piqued my interest. I figured, I’m a libertarian, Gary is running as a libertarian, should be a good match. But no. I gave him the chance to earn my vote. Multiple times. Repeatedly. Over and over again. But every time he opens his mouth, he drives me away. He is a libertarian as much as I am a vegan. I don’t eat meat, except for fish. Oh, and the occasional chicken. Yeah, I eat a turkey sandwich a few times a month, but that doesn’t count. And the hamburgers I have are just for convenience. I make bacon just for the smell of it. Ok, fine. I eat the bacon too. Forget the scrambled eggs I had this morning. I’m still a vegan.
Gary Johnson is more of a socialist than a libertarian. He will not stand up for religious freedom, and the worst offense for me is that he does not defend the liberty of babies.
I’ve courted other candidates. Castle came close, but Evan McMullin earned my vote, due to his character and his principles. My vote is a vote FOR McMullin, not a vote AGAINST Hillary, Trump, Johnson, Stein, or the others. And if you vote for someone else, please know that my vote is most definitely not a vote against you.
I made my choice with my vote because Mcmullin’s basic principles matched mine.
Don’t let my decision negatively affect you. This was my vote to do with as I please. It is not wasted. I will be able to say to my family, “I voted for the person I felt was best.” I have a clear conscience. I didn’t feel that way in 2012, because I had voted in protest. I regretted it. I wasted an opportunity. I wasted my vote then. Not this time.
Even if Hillary, or Trump, destroys our republic and treads all over The Constitution, I know my family and I can survive. I’ve never put that much trust in the federal government anyways. It can’t necessarily be relied on. I have trust in my wife, in my children, in my loving parents and siblings, and most of all, I have trust in God. I believe in him. I believe that he is. I believe that he has all power, both in heaven and on earth. And I know that I cannot comprehend all that God can and does comprehend. Faith, providence, and liberty.