The point I am making is it isn’t just about who can win today, but setting the stage for the elections of tomorrow.
If we want to get very real for a minute and turn away from idealism, we have to acknowledge that your or my one vote will not make the difference in the outcome of a general election. Even if we had a thousand elections per year, our one vote still would never make the difference. The odds of it happening are so remote, that we can call it a “statistical impossibility.” This is a reality any rational person has to acknowledge.
On the other hand, if we’re looking at a strictly additive phenomenon, of our “protest vote” going to someone besides one of the two major party candidates, then we are making a measurable contribution to a movement. Critical mass is a very real threshold, and it represents the point at which a change happens, be it a physical or social phenomenon in question. Critical mass happens at a specific, discrete point. In the context of elections and the possibility of an Independent or third-party candidate becoming electable, this happens when a specific percentage of the voting public no longer accepts the tradition of voting Democrat or Republican.
A critical mass of votes not going to the major parties, such that the major parties cannot steamroll every election, can happen, and it will happen if the political trend of people finding the candidates they offer us unacceptable continues. Your or my vote may not be the one to directly make the difference as to whether this threshold is crossed or not, but my argument is that it is an accelerative process. When I say we are setting the stage for the elections of tomorrow, our vote today could inspire 10 or 100 or 1000 votes tomorrow, because every uptick in the Independent and third-party voting blocs represents a glimmer of hope that voting against the staid and failed system is viable, empowering more to do the same, and, suddenly, when that critical threshold is reached, candidates 4 or 8 or 12 years hence, who would have been ruled out under today’s paradigms, become electable. I plan to still be around to see this, so I am not just thinking about the next generation. I want a brighter future for myself, too.
That, to me, is the reality of why I will not vote for Trump or Clinton. I will not vote for any Democrat or Republican, ever, whose principles do not line up well enough with my own. Either they change to accommodate me and the growing segment of the public that is disillusioned with their corruption and lies, or they fade into obscurity.
This is all in addition to how I refuse to give my vote or voice to, in the words of Cornel West, “a neo-fascist catastrophe or a neo-liberal disaster.” I cannot vote for murders, oppressors, liars, bigots, or plunderers of America and the globe.