OPINION #electionseason

election season polling station

Election season. It’s never fun. Politics; national divisions among all different people groups; arguments that devolve into “He said, she said” battles. It feels like nobody wins.

But we’re not here to talk about whether you side with #nevertrump or #neverhillary, because— let’s be honest—there’s more than enough of that out in the internet for people to eat up, scoff at, and ignore.

No, let’s talk about the generational and ideological divide in our country at the moment. A whole movement among young people—people who are part of the Millennial generation— to vote for the third party. Now, whether or not you agree with Darrell Castle, Gary Johnson, Chris Keniston or Jill Stein, that’s up to you. But what is interesting are the conversations taking place around this movement.

I have a wide range of people I’m friends with on my Facebook page. Friends who are diehard liberals, the most conservative republicans, and people that fall somewhere in-between. Pro-choice and pro-life people. Gun control activists and gun owners. All sorts of people, all squished together in my newsfeed…and you know the number one reason I see for voting for a third party? Because neither the Republican nor the Democratic nominee aligns with any of their values, and because they feel that neither will be good for the country. And when someone my age proclaims their decision to vote for the third party, a comment appears on their post that goes something like this: “You can’t do that because then ______ will win.” The blank is filled with whatever name is opposite of their own party.

You’re throwing away your vote.

The third party candidates are just as bad.

You just haven’t realized this is how politics works.

The third party will never win so you might as well vote for one of the other two.

And here’s the thing, I don’t think most Millennials care what others think about their vote. I don’t think many Millennials feel like they can vote for either party, and they know that a vote for the third party is unlikely to go towards a winning candidate…and I think Millennials have come to terms with that.

And isn’t voting for who you believe will do the best for our country, no matter what others think…isn’t that pretty American?

Why are so many Millennials leaning towards the third party?

I think part of the reason some Millennials have decided to vote third party is because they feel it could start a movement, and they can be a part of that movement. I mean, what if one generation were responsible for making one of the third parties in the American political system something viable?

The other reason I think some Millennials are voting third party is because they are tired of being told to do something just because everyone is doing it and “this is how it’s always worked.” Millennials are casting their votes based on issues, not on party affiliation. A spokesperson for Clinton’s campaign, Kristin Lynch, said, “You’re having Millennials not wanting to be categorized in boxes, and I think you’re seeing that reflected in their political affiliation.” Millennials don’t want their views to be put into a box, so they are a less likely to vote for a candidate just because they are affiliated with a certain party. Millennials also tend to align with views from both parties, making it so that neither Republicans or Democrats really embody their values. USA Today interviewed Sean Tait and reported,

“Tait, who grew up with firearms, feels strongly about gun rights. Accessible health care also is important to him. With these disparate issues being championed by opposing parties, he doesn’t know yet who will get his vote.”

The values of this generation are so different from previous generations, the current parties hardly align with them at all.

Two things. Either this is something every generation goes through—the need to make an impression, the rebelliousness of youth; maybe this drive towards change is something fueled by the ignorance of our few years on this earth—or, maybe, we are different. Maybe the next few political cycles will see a change in the voting. Maybe we, Millennials, will fuel that change.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and not a reflection of Honestly Mag’s thoughts or opinions.

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Ashlee is a writer, marketer, musician and book worm. She enjoys learning about the perspectives and beliefs of other people, and strives to curb her sarcasm to a level acceptable to the general populace.