Vote for People, Not for Party

Most of the people in my family are of one particular party. And while I have no problem with identifying with a political party—it is the only way you can vote in primaries, after all—it does make it harder for them to judge candidates in an unbiased manner. And how many times have you heard someone say, “well, I liked a third-party candidate, but it would have just been wasting my vote?” That’s not the case everywhere. There are plenty of other countries who have more political parties than we do, and are more supportive of those minority parties than we are.

So, basically we are stuck with a two-party system, and you have to be invested in one or the other in order to have a say in who they nominate for positions. However, what happens come election day?

Personally, I sit down with the sample ballot and I research all the candidates as well as the proposals. I look up candidates on their websites as well as taking a look at their voting records (if they have one). I take the right to vote very seriously, and I want to make educated decisions on what I am voting for. I think it is important to not just take part in the process but to really be a PART of the process.

I try to be as unbiased as I can—in other words, I don’t look at each person running for office and check the box next to the D or the R just because. I vote across party lines all the time, because my job is to vote for the most qualified person running for office. Sometimes that is a third party candidate, and I have no problem voting for them, either. Sure, sometimes if there is a subject I am passionate about, I end up voting more for one side or another—and that’s fine. It’s the blind party loyalty that I have a problem with.

I know people are going to say that when Congress is split, we have a harder time getting anything accomplished. But here’s the thing—that’s on Congress. On the whole, American people can sit and have discussions and share ideas, and are capable of reasonable compromise. It’s when you add lobbyists and special interest groups into the mix that Congress has trouble getting anything done, but that’s a post for another time.

I also feel like blind party loyalty is why we got handed the candidates we did in this year’s presidential election. I know lots of Democrats who weren’t comfortable voting for Hillary Clinton but did anyway, and then there were lots of hard-line Republicans who had trouble voting for Donald Trump. There were plenty of others who cast their vote AGAINST someone instead of FOR a candidate, and that’s a really hard pill for me to swallow. I don’t want to be voting for the lesser of two evils. I want to be voting for someone that I think is actually going to do a good job with the position and power that they are elected to.

Am I alone in this?