Why I Am Voting 3rd Party in 2016 (Most Likely)

My greatest voting sin was casting my ballot for Pat Buchanan in the 1996 Primary. At the time, I was a young, Conservative Christian, slightly to the right of Rush Limbaugh. The appeal of small government was not lost on me and, at the time, the social agenda of the Republican Party fit with my worldview.

After a time, I left the Church and my politics drifted left on virtually every topic except for 2nd Amendment rights. I wanted, and still want, equality for women and LGBT marriages, an end to the war on drugs, and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who have spent most of their life working in the US. I voted for Barack Obama twice, not because he was the Democratic nominee, but because I felt that he was what we needed after eight years of thumbing our nose at the rest of the world and squandering the best opportunity we had for uniting the Western hemisphere when everyone had our backs after 9/11.

Now, President Obama’s administration draws to a close and I look at the two most likely individuals to take his office. I cannot understand how we got here. When I see the individual steps, they all make sense, but the outcome is far from sensible or acceptable.

On the one side, we have Donald Trump. This man is the avatar of the Ugly American. He is loud, bombastic, insulting and crude. He displays not the slightest ability to lead with dignity, or even really to lead so much as to gather together semi-competent yes men, take the credit for their efforts and blame their failures on anyone but himself. He is everything I could despise in a candidate, but worst of it is that I can’t tell how much of it is an act to get attention. A scant three months from the general election and I can’t tell what this guy actually stands for and what’s just the hyperbole on the box to get the shopper’s attention.

On the other side, we have Secretary Hillary Clinton. On paper, she’s the clear choice. She’s got experience, confidence, can navigate a speech without insulting half the room, and the most amazing internship a presidential hopeful could ask for, eight years at the side of one of the most successful president’s of the twentieth century.

The problem is that the reason this has to be on paper is the second we shift to electronic media, her whole persona becomes riddled with scandal and shady dealings. I’m not just talking about the esoteric debacle of her private email server. I’m speaking of the DNC email leaks which demonstrate that not only did the DNC sandbag the second most viable candidate, Bernie Sanders, but there is no doubt that her campaign and the woman herself had to have given their consent and aid to make it happen.

The Republicans have been campaigning against Hillary since she lost to President Obama and perhaps even since President Bill Clinton stepped down. I have no doubt that when it came down to it, just before the Convention in 2007, that it was agreed that President Obama would get the nomination and that he would do everything in his power to help secure it for Hillary in 2016.

The Sanders revolution, however, sidetracked that clear arc. The presence of a genuinely likable and apparently trustworthy candidate was something that people responded to well and that nearly disrupted the plan. And I’m not exaggerating when I say plan; see previous statements about the DNC and Hillary’s campaign working together to shoot down this challenger who came within grasp undermining it all.

Bernie has given his approval to the Madam Secretary however. It’s over. And the nomination is secured. The Democrats, myself included, have our nominee and we are facing an opponent that no sane person with a modicum of empathy in their heart could possibly want to see in the White House.

This isn’t going to be an election. It will be a coronation, the culmination of sixteen years of crafting and maneuvers.

I can’t have a part of it.

Donald Trump is slime, but what Secretary Clinton has done to reach this point is reprehensible. Faced with any real choice of a candidate, the scandal and underhanded nature of her ascension would cut her bid off at the knees. This year, however, she is a juggernaut.

It would be easy to forget that one can vote for whoever one likes. We’re not stuck with these two. We could elect the Libertarian Gary Johnson or the Green Party’s Jill Stein. We could elect Brad Pitt or Judge Judy. We can choose anyone.

We won’t though. We’ll elect someone who will be in the office by being awful.

My vote will not be one of the one’s that put them there, however. Maybe one of the two candidates will make me forget. Or maybe the threat of a Trump dictatorship will get to me, but I doubt it.

I will vote for someone. Not against everything I fear.

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