A vote for a third party is a vote against.  Not against Republicans or Democrats individually, but against the system that says one or the other is inevitable, that divides us against one another and distracts us away from finding common ground.  Environmentalists and hunters both love the wild; they should work together.  The NRA probably has some excellent ideas about gun control (in addition to Use both hands) but nobody on the Left would dream of asking, and very few of listening.

A vote for a third-party candidate — a vote against — is a powerful thing.  Invalid votes are discarded; these include votes for Mickey Mouse and anyone else who isn’t on the ballot.  (Bernie Sanders, for instance.)  But in most states, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are on the ballot, and those votes will be counted.  People in power will pay attention; they live and die by public opinion, by the polls.  If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be polls.

A vote against is measurable, and there are laws against tampering with those numbers. Granted, those in power wouldn’t shy from breaking laws, but the counting is done precinct by precinct across the country, by volunteers as well as by party hacks and paid shills. Some of that protest will be heard, even if some is suppressed (as the alt media suggests).

And politicians live and die by public opinion.  They will take notice — if you vote against.

Gary Johnson #FTNL*

Some people don’t much like Libertarians in general, which is understandable:  Most prominent Libertarians have been tinfoil hat nutjobs.  (And as everyone should know, tinfoil makes a very poor Faraday cage.)

Those who’ve listened to what Johnson has to say generally don’t find themselves disliking him (unlike his opponents).  He isn’t exactly overflowing with charisma but on the other hand he does come across as a decent guy with some solid ideas, some good thoughts in his head.  And, despite the recent media feeding frenzy about Aleppo, he really is pretty bright.

And yet, does he really have a chance to win?  I mean, even though his opponents are two of the most detested American public figures since Aaron Burr met Benedict Arnold, they each have the blessing (unenthusiastic) of their party, and the two major parties can’t possibly be defeated, right?

I believe they can be.  More likely, they can be changed, depending on how people vote.  Vote for Trump and your opinion will weight the next Republican platform a hair toward misogyny, racism, and nationalism; vote for Clinton, and the Democrats will shift toward soft money, tax-and-spend, legislated morality, and swapping your freedom for someone else’s happiness.  And where one party shifts, the other will follow.

So if you like the way things are, by all means: Go to the polls in a month and vote for whomever you wish.  Vote Trump; Vote Clinton.  Your vote will count as approval for the way things are, and it will be counted, and measured.

But if you believe as I believe, that our elected representatives don’t represent us and that our government does things we ought to be ashamed of, then you should vote against.  Like me.

Make your vote count for something.

*FTNL – It stands for For The Not Lose.  It’s a play on For The Win.

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