Ben Baker is a sophomore journalism major and writes "The Baker's Dozen" for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Ben at email@example.com.
Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness.
The protection of these inalienable rights listed in our Declaration of Independence is why I’m hopping on the third-party wagon.
I didn’t come to this decision easily. Throughout my pre-voting years, I heard next to nothing about third parties. Whenever I heard or read anything regarding politics, it was always about either the donkeys or the elephants, the Republicans or the Democrats. Even at this time last year, I still wouldn’t have been able to say anything about the Libertarian Party. I was still stuck in the two-party mode of political thinking.
But I think it’s safe to say that this election year has been unlike anything America has seen before. We’ve never seen two major party candidates with such high unfavorability ratings. The most recent RealClearPolitics polls have Donald Trump at a 59 percent unapproval rating and Hillary Clinton at 52.3 percent. With these statistics in mind, shouldn’t we want to vote for a president instead of against one?
That is the point that Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson has repeatedly emphasized throughout his campaign. He even wrote an opinion column in The New York Times after the first presidential debate about this topic. Johnson wrote, “Americans want to be able to choose a president who is capable of reason, of learning from failures, and of telling them the truth, even when it hurts.” That’s exactly what I want, too, which is why I’ll be voting yellow this election.
However, many Americans are saying, “Voting third party is a wasted vote! Johnson has no shot at winning, so why bother?” That statement isn’t completely wrong; his odds of victory are extremely slim.
But in an age where people focus on “living in the moment,” I am voting third party for the future’s sake. According to Johnson’s website, if the Libertarians can get 5 percent of the nation’s popular vote, they will become the first third party to achieve “major party” status. This is important because that status brings millions of federal dollars and nationwide ballot access. It will set a precedent for other third parties to build upon, which will lead to the inclusion of more ideas in American politics. That can only help our nation going forward, and it’s the idea I’m keeping in mind when I cast my ballot.
So go ahead. Laugh at me. Tell me my third-party vote is a wasted one. But America is a nation where the people are still allowed to vote their consciences. And my conscience is telling me to jump on the third party bus. I encourage all who read this to consider doing the same. Vote with what you think is right for our nation in mind, because that’s all we can do in the end, right?