As I scrolled down my newsfeed on Facebook today, I saw an alarming post. Now I usually choose to isolate myself from heated political debates over social media, restraining my inner keyboard warrior when I see a post extolling Trump’s virtues. However this person stated that they would be voting for third-party candidate Gary Johnson with an exceptionally strong argument to back up their decision: The other two candidates were “trash”. The problem here is not who someone decides to vote for, but why they are doing so. Hatred for two nominees should not automatically spark the choice to vote for a separate candidate without knowing what they stand for.
Admittedly, many people are disappointed in both the Republican and Democratic nominees for this upcoming election and may be interested in third party nominees. While this is a reasonable route to go down, it is crucial to examine the platforms of these politicians and see if you actually agree with their views on issues.
For example, libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was in the news recently for the flub “What is Aleppo?”, but his views on drug legalization also garnered a lot of attention from the media. Johnson supports the legalization of marijuana, gaining him the attention of several younger generation voters. While this particular position may make him an attractive candidate for some, Johnson has many different views on other issues which should also be looked into.
People need to be thorough and do their research when backing a candidate—after all, the nation will be in this leader’s hands for the next four years. When you delve further into a presidential candidate’s stances on various issues, you may find that you agree with certain things and may be in strict oppositions to other views. It is thus worthwhile to examine all positions of a presidential nominee so that you can make an educated decision, not an ignorant one.
Each one of our votes can make a significant difference. A vote carries a huge weight that influences the future of our nation; it decides who will lead us for the next four years and supports the choices they will make. When the meaning of what you are voting for is nothing to be taken lightly, it becomes even more important to put some extra thought and reflection into who you will be casting that ballot for this upcoming election. Do you support most of their views or just one that you may have heard about through a media frenzy? Candidates are multi-dimensional, each with unique perspectives and opinions, and it is not fair to them or yourself to judge based on one facet of their platform. Please consider investing more time into making one of the more momentous decisions of your life—one that may well change the course of history.
Ankita is a third-year student majoring in biology.