The presidential election comes down to this: On one side a vulgar old man and the other a criminal with a third-party candidate who thinks the Middle East is Pennsylvania. All that said, this year for the first time, I feel I must speak out and make an endorsement.
While a case can be made that either major party candidate is so egregious and dangerous that you must vote for the other, I am not recommending you vote against anyone. I admit we do not have a single qualified candidate for president running in any party, but there is one clear choice. My endorsement is not a vote against a person but the opportunity to vote for someone or something.
As the electorate, we should be tired of the argument of the lesser of two evils. Election cycles have become more and more polarized and for far too long everyone seems to be voting against someone else. This year is no exception and few people can take an honest assessment of their options and say they really like their candidate, but it is that they just hate the opponent.
And the two major parties know this, pitting one side against the other and motivating their constituents in voting out of fear instead of support. No matter whose side you think is here to save you, one thing is for certain, neither party is about ideology or principle but instead maintaining its own power.
Never miss a local story.
It is a worn out saying but unfortunately all too true — the system is broken. We are just cogs in the two-party machine and it is so big now, it believes it can afford a few loose screws and still keep running. Elections no longer reflect a majority of our morals and principles. We are at a point where the most organized majority of the minority gets elected.
This is why we need strong third parties to create stronger minorities that may align to your principles and values. And more than a few people are beginning to agree with this sentiment.
The Founding Fathers were vehemently against a national party system, especially a two-party model. The first three presidents — George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson — delivered strong cautionary words against the threat of political parties.
People agree, and unlike what some in the media make the politicians’ message out to be, this is the true populist message. Just last year a 2015 Gallup poll cited 60 percent of the respondents said they wanted new political parties. Recently over 40 percent self-identify as independents and not strongly aligned with either party. After this year’s gutter politics and the horrible immoral choices, these numbers are sure to be even higher.
So how is that we have progressed to a society that can choose from more than 24 different brands of toilet paper but only two candidates for president? Because we continue to buy into the narrative of fear, and when we continue to vote for the establishment parties it guarantees we keep the current system. This is why this year we have the perfect opportunity that a few loose screws together may derail the entire apparatus.
Sorry, spoiler alert, but we have a representative republic and in Kentucky our eight electoral votes are almost guaranteed to go for the Republican nominee. No matter whom you support, Kentucky will go red in the presidential election, with or without your vote. But your vote does count and you can make a difference.
This is why I am urging you not to vote against any candidate or for any politician, but that you break the system and cast your vote for a third party for president.
Locally everyone has a responsibility and honor to vote and must elect local and state candidates you do believe in and are excited about. For president we also have a principle and duty to make a difference and vote for opportunity and change.
One or 2 percent in the presidential election in Kentucky will not change the Electoral College vote but it can have a huge impact back here at home. One or two percent for a third-party candidate can create easier ballot access for future elections, help elevate issues into the mainstream political dialogue, provide more choices and make public more opinions.
Instead of a choice between the lesser of two evils, my endorsement is a vote for a stronger, more relevant third party today so hopefully we can have the opportunity to vote for the lesser of three or four evils in the future.
Eric Wilson of Georgetown is active in the Tea Party, is executive director of the Kentucky 9/12 Project and co-author of “We Surround Them; Our Journey From Apathy to Action.”