Before you think about voting for a third, fourth or even fifth candidate, hear me out. Fair warning, this requires a history lesson. I’ll be as brief as possible.
In the presidential election of 1912, the Democratic nominee was Woodrow Wilson. The republicans chose to nominate incumbent Howard Taft and not Teddy Roosevelt who had also previously held the position. Roosevelt could not support Taft and therefore decided to run on his own under the Progressive ticket. It became known as The Bull Moose Party after Roosevelt made reference to his health. And let’s be honest, Bull Moose is much more catchy than Progressive. The socialist party, yes there was a socialist party in America and still is, nominated Eugene Debs. Though he managed to garner roughly 6% of the vote, he received no electoral votes.
As you should remember, Wilson won. It wasn’t even close. Though he earned only 42% of the popular vote, Taft and Roosevelt roughly split at 23% and 27%. The electoral college was even more lopsided with Taft at 8, Roosevelt at 88 and Wilson with a whopping 435.
What can this teach us? When the race is tight, splitting parties can lead to ensuring your opposition wins. It is conceivable that had Roosevelt not run on a third ticket, Taft would have had 50% of the popular vote and thus possibly influenced more electoral votes. He even might have won. At the very least, Roosevelt would have preferred Taft to Wilson.
I’ve always been a defender of voting your conscience. I don’t believe that voting for Nader cost the Democrats the election. Even if I did, it is incumbent upon each party to nominate qualified candidates. And it is the responsibility of each candidate to earn your vote, to work for it. Your vote is just that; it is yours to do with as you will. That even includes choosing not to vote.
I cannot say those things with this election. This election is unfortunately about not electing a man who is a self described sexist, racist, bribing, lying pig. It is no longer about policy. A Trump presidency will turn back 100 years of civil rights. It will tell the world that we Americans are hypocrites. That we do not believe “all men are created equal.” He has already turned our primaries and debates into a joke.
Not voting or voting for anyone but Hillary is a vote for Trump. By the way, Bill isn’t running.
For more information on the 1912 election, I suggest James Chace’s “1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs – The Election that Changed the Country.”