by Anthony Ashe

With the election mere days away, every news channel is plastering endless amounts of polls and voter demographics on television screens across the country. This cycle has produced 2 of the worst and most abhorrent candidates in the history of our country. Despite this being extremely painful and excruciating to watch it has made way for a unique phenomena, third party candidates. While they have existed for pretty much the whole of the United States’ political history they have a heightened importance in this election. For the people who don’t know what these candidates are, third party candidates signify an alternative to the “mainstream” ideologies which are produced by Republicans and Democrats. In this election more so than ever before third party candidates are receiving serious consideration, and hold a significant part of the vote.

Before I continue on I’d like you to know that if we lived in a parallel universe in which you were allowed to vote at 15 I would cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. Is she the best candidate to ever run for president? No. Is her past impeachable? No. Would she have a chance of winning if she were running against anyone other than Donald Trump? No. Her one real advantage on Trump is experience and temperament, a trait which Trump has yet to show throughout the election. Now you may be wondering, “Why in the world would he say he’d vote for Hillary even after explaining the appeal which third party candidates have, and why have we now entered some type of alternate reality to indulge his thesis?”.

Well for starters you can leave the alternate reality. In regards to the bigger point,there is one fundamental problem with Jill Stein,Gary Johnson, and Evan McMullin. None of them are a better option than Hillary  Clinton or Donald Trump. This might seem quite hypocritical at face value, but the more you look at it the more clear it should seem.

Let’s go with the least popular out of the 2, Jill Stein. Stein is a candidate for the green party. Her platform is ambitious at best, and ridiculous at worst. Her platform is surrounded upon social change, and sustaining the environment. Her largest appeal to voters however it her promise  to “Abolish student debt to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude”, and to “Guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from preschool through university”. This does sound really great, and there are few things I’d love more than being able to go to college for free. One slight problem though. As enthralling as this concept is it isn’t plausible. There is no feasible way to accomplish this, and Stein doesn’t even put effort into elaborating on this plan. There isn’t a single website, interview, or article in which she says how she plans on doing this. All she manages to drone out whenever she’s  questioned on it is that “It’s time to simply cancel this debt, as was done for the Wall Street criminals whose waste, fraud and abuse crashed the economy”. That makes zero sense, and it’s  as vague of an answer as you can have. Her plan is based off of what can be deduced from what she has said is to simply erase debt, and anyone who knows anything in the slightest about the economy knows that this idea is more detrimental than it is helpful. She’s claiming that when this happens the students she’s exonerating from debt will add the money back to the economy. What she hasn’t said for what I can only interpret as an atrocious lack of intelligence which cannot be considered acceptable for someone running for president,

The next third party candidate is Gary Johnson. Johnson quite simply has shown a lack of intelligence and general knowledge about simple topics which have been fundamental in the election. The personification of this idea is Johnson not being able to recall what Aleppo is in an interview on Morning Joe. In this day of age this cannot be considered acceptable for someone who is being considered to lead our country. The United States has as much standing in the global community than anyone else, so  a candidate who can’t recall the location of a place so vital in current events cannot be considered acceptable.

The final, and most interesting third party candidate is Evan McMullin. Now personally McMullin is a decent candidate for me, and many in Utah also feel the same way. Right now he’s within striking distance of  Donald Trump, and isn’t far from potentially winning that state. Even though his policies aren’t horrible, and he exhibits more knowledge about how our country is run, he only makes it harder for Hillary Clinton to win this election. Utah has went republican since 1968 in presidential elections, but right now. This third party candidate has a very real chance of taking the electoral votes from Trump. I don’t really have much to say about his pre-requisite because he has all of the required experience to be president in my opinion, and in regards to specificity his policies are sounder than that of Johnson or Stien. In Utah he has a great appeal because he’s mormon, but I personally just don’t believe in the things he says. Now luckily(or unluckily depending on how you look at it) McMullin won’t be on the ballot in Maryland, so that’s not a decisions any of you will have to read. However, he’s definitely a candidate to look out for as he could be instrumental on election day.

I implore anyone who is able to vote to please not vote for a third party. I acknowledge what their appeal is. Third party candidates bring light to the issues that are neglected by the major party candidates, and when they make legitimate points the major party candidates adopt their ideas. The reason that hasn’t happened this year is because they aren’t contributing anything unique or special to the conversation. I see how they might seem like the only plausible way to try and make sense out of this election. What you may not see is that when you vote for them you aren’t helping the system, you’re hurting it. This election is one of the most controversial and confusing ever, but voting for a third party candidate will complicate things even further than they already are. We have a very unique opportunity to shape the course of history with this election, and a vote for a third party only raises the chances of that opportunity being wasted.