Throwing away your vote on a message no one will hear, and which will change no outcome, is sometimes presented as ‘voting your conscience’, but that’s got it exactly backwards; your conscience is what keeps you from doing things that feel good to you but hurt other people. Citizens who vote for third-party candidates, write-in candidates, or nobody aren’t voting their conscience, they are voting their ego, unable to accept that a system they find personally disheartening actually applies to them.
blogger Clay Shirky
Blogger Clay Shirky (not connected to WordPress) makes an effective argument for why voting for third parties in the US, or simply not voting, are not effective uses of the “protest vote.” The voters may not like living in a two-party system; but pretending that they do not is unrealistic and ineffective. It also reinforces the precise electoral system that they might hope to change through their “protest.” See Clay Shirky’s argument in more detail here.
Headline image from the BBC News.