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Why Living in Massachusetts Means You Should Vote Third Party

Deen Haleem '17, Contributor

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Too many loud, largely uninformed voices in this election season have denounced voting for third-party candidates like Green Party nominee Jill Stein or Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson as unpatriotic and a waste of one’s vote. Why throw away one’s chance to tip the election, they argue, for a candidate they know won’t win in any case? In response, I’d like to ask one question. How many times did Donald Trump or Secretary Clinton visit Massachusetts after the primaries? The answer is zero, and it was zero for President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in 2012. The reason for this is that each of them knows exactly who is going to win the state. Since JFK’s election in 1960, Massachusetts has voted for the Democratic candidate in every race discounting Ronald Reagan’s forty-nine state landslide victory in 1984. This means that when candidates construct their platforms, they’re not even remotely curious about issues affecting Massachusetts because they don’t have to be. If our eleven electoral votes were up for grabs, that would give Massachusetts a larger electoral voice than the swing states of New Hampshire (4), Nevada (6), Iowa (6), Colorado (9), Wisconsin (10), and almost as much as Virginia (13) whose role as a swing state played a part in Hillary’s selection of the state’s former Governor and current Senator, Tim Kaine, as her running mate over Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. If voting for third parties in Massachusetts makes us a swing state, we might have seen the reverse, and there might be ads on TV about candidates addressing the opioid epidemic, or giving their stances on the creation of charter schools.

In this election, neither Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson nor Green Party nominee Jill Stein will become President. In 2020, however, the Libertarian and Green parties will still exist, and they will be running other candidates for President. As of right now, the chances of said candidates winning in November 2020 are completely up in the air. But if any third party candidate beats expectations this election and exceeds five percent of the national popular vote this November, their party will qualify for federal campaign funds in 2020, an almost necessary condition for a successful nominee. There is, of course, the concern of not voting for whichever mainstream candidate you find to be the lesser evil, and propelling their opponent to the presidency, but this is where being in Massachusetts comes in handy. Due to the electoral college, Hillary Clinton is going to receive Massachusetts’s eleven electoral votes no matter how deeply you delude yourself that “Anything can happen.” So why not make your vote count? You don’t have to worry about the competency of the candidate because, frankly, they’re not going to become President, but if you put their name in, and you encourage others to do so, maybe, if their share of the popular vote exceeds five percent, their party will have a chance next cycle. If not, at least when your kids learn about how terrible the forty-fifth President was, you can look at them and say you used your vote to help the forty-ninth or fiftieth President revitalize the country.

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Why Living in Massachusetts Means You Should Vote Third Party