Vote your conscience. Let’s trade votes

attribution: The Descrier /

Let’s imagine, just for a moment and for the sake of argument, that you’re a conservative. You usually vote Republican. You believe in small government and/or social conservative values. This year, however, your Republican nominee is Donald Trump. You can barely tell what his policies are, and the ones you can figure out do not suit you at all. Build a wall? No thanks.

Now let’s say you’re a progressive. You love Bernie Sanders. You think the government should help those in need, provide free tuition for college and provide universal healthcare. You also don’t think we should be in perpetual war. But Bernie is gone, and all that’s left is Hillary, the war-mongering, establishment, Wall Street-friendly Hillary. There’s no way you can allow Donald Trump to become president. That would be the end of the world as we know it and a descent into a fascist system unlike any other since 1939.

For the conservative, you would rather vote for the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who embodies your values much more closely. He’s a Libertarian who believes in lower taxes and smaller government, just like you. But you can’t vote for a Libertarian for president. That would be throwing your vote away. If you throw your vote away, then Hillary becomes president. Evil, criminal, negligent, adultery-enabling Hillary. If you don’t vote for Trump, you will have four years of liberal Hillary Clinton nominating liberal justices to the Supreme Court and enabling socialism throughout the land.

For the progressive, Jill Stein’s values are aligned very closely with Bernie’s. Without that major party nomination, however, she has no chance of winning, so to vote your conscience, you must vote for Hillary, not because she’s the best, but because she’s not Trump. If you throw your vote away, you’ll be responsible for electing the fascist, xenophobic, wall-building, misogynistic saber-rattler.

How about this? Let’s trade votes!

Attribution: under CC-BY-SA

Instead of voting for not-Trump or not-Hillary, let’s vote for neither Trump nor Hillary. Let’s trade votes. If you’re a conservative who doesn’t like Trump but you’re afraid of Hillary Clinton, find a friend who is a socialist Bernie-lover and make a pact with him or her to trade votes. Promise that if your friend votes for Jill Stein you will vote for Gary Johnson.

This way, no vote is wasted, and people can vote their consciences. If person A votes for Trump and person B votes for Clinton, that’s a wash. If person A votes for Gary Johnson and person B votes for Jill Stein, it’s the exact same outcome: a wash. This way, though, each person can vote his or her conscience and give some attention to the third parties.

Don’t have friends on the other side of the political spectrum? Find one. Get out of your echo chamber and find someone with a different political view. This could be the healing this country needs.

But what if they lie? Can you really trust your friend? What if your every-man-for-himself Libertarian friend says “Yeah, sure, I’ll vote for Johnson if you vote for Stein,” with his fingers crossed behind his back? Can you trust him? What if he goes in votes for Trump anyway? This is where trust comes in. You have months to establish trust and close friendship with your new political ally. Just think how much richer your life will be!

So, this election season, let’s trade third-party votes so we can vote our conscience with a clear conscience.