Just say NO to third-party candidates.

(Post-election update: I was wrong. The election, such as it was, was hardly impacted by third-party candidates.)

This is a crappy presidential election. The Republicans are fielding a candidate they don’t really like, and the Democrats clearly don’t mind a little (alleged) sleaze in their own candidate. It’s been nothing but scandal with these two, media-wise. Where do they stand on the issues? Hard to sort that out when all we hear about is one’s busy hands and the other’s email habits. What a mess.

hillary_clintonThere are voters out there that don’t like Hillary or Trump and figure they’ll “express” themselves by voting for a third-party candidate. If that’s your plan, I’m asking you not to do that. If you’re planning on boycotting this election, I’m asking you not to do that, either. We need you. We need your vote. Hillary Clinton needs your vote.

See, there are important issues that the two main-party candidates have been very clear on. And let’s face it, it’s going to be one of these two who wins this election. Please don’t kid yourself into thinking a third-party candidate has any chance. This election is between Trump and Clinton, and we need every decent American to ignore their own egos and hang-ups and pick one of those two. The correct one. Because it’s not about you.

Before I go further, I want to acknowledge that there are very valid, very personal reasons a person might not want to vote for Hillary Clinton. For those of you who have been paying attention to the chaos in the Middle East, and Ms. Clinton’s role in all of it, this election can’t be an easy one. To be sure, I agree that this isn’t something we should ignore. But there are other things we shouldn’t ignore. Is one issue more important than the others? I’m not saying that, but please, bear with me here.

3rdparty_02On June 26, 2015, The US Supreme Court announced their decision in the Obergefell v. Hedges case, effectively making same-sex marriage the law of the land. Of the two main-party candidates, Trump has vowed to overturn this historic ruling, while Clinton has been a champion of same-sex rights during her campaign (her stance on same-sex marriage wasn’t always so favorable, but she came around). We’re seeing progress in transgender rights as well, progress that won’t survive a Trump presidency.

3rdparty_01Women’s reproductive rights are also at stake in this election. Trump has committed to appointing a judge to the Supreme Court who will be “in the mold” of late justice Antonin Scalia. The Republicans have been conspiring to put such a judge on the bench ever since Scalia kicked the bucket. With a Republican-controlled bench, we could see Roe v. Wade overturned (along with the above-mentioned same-sex marriage ruling). Not only that, Trump’s running mate Mike Pence has a history of attacking reproductive rights in his state of Indiana (where a woman could end up in jail for having an abortion). With Pence’s apparent hatred for women and Trump’s utter disrespect, they simply can’t be allowed to win.

That’s where you come in. This election represents a chance to keep us on the track of true inclusivity. But only if we vote for the right candidate. You certainly know someone who will be negatively affected by a Trump/Pence presidency. And let’s not forget about future generations. Let’s not leave them to clean up the mess a Trump/Pence presidency would cause.

And Trump can win. Unless you make the right choice at the polls and vote for Hillary. DO NOT WASTE your vote on a third-party candidate. A vote for Stein or Johnson is a vote Hillary doesn’t get, a vote she’ll need to defeat Trump. This is far too important for you to “make a statement.”

This is about your fellow Americans, the women in your life, the millions of us who identify as LGBT, the many millions who will live here long after we’re gone. I’m asking you, here and now, to get out and vote, and to vote for Hillary Clinton.

DO IT.

(All images are either Public Domain or used under the CC0 license).