COAST CITY, CALIFORNIA — An argument erupted today between three friends over the 2016 presidential election.
Cindy Williams is a 32-year-old Republican, her friend Janet Moon is a Democrat, and their mutual friend Tony Rostanovich is an independent. Williams and Moon will be voting for their party’s respective candidate, but Rostanovich has said he will vote for a third party candidate because he doesn’t want to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. The argument broke out between Janet and Cindy as to who Tony would actually be helping win the election by voting third party.
“Clearly he’s helping Donald Trump win by not voting for Hillary,” Janet shouted.
“No, he’s clearly helping Hillary win by not voting for Trump,” Cindy shouted back.
Over the next 30 minutes, the two traded barbs and insults. Neither, however, could prove definitively that Tony’s vote was helping their opponent.
“We are in a two party system, therefore if he votes for not-Hillary, he’s really just voting for Trump,” Janet said.
“No, we are in a two party system, therefore if he votes for not-Trump, he’s really just voting for Hillary,” Cindy retorted.
Back and forth the argument went between Cindy and Janet, neither one giving ground. Janet insisted that Tony was going to “Nader our asses” to having Trump as president, despite Tony reminding her that Al Gore didn’t even win his home state in 2000 and more Democrats jumped ship to vote for George W. Bush than Democrats who voted for Nader in Florida. Cindy said that Janet was wrong and what Tony was actually doing was “pulling a Ross Perot” and he’d be helping Hillary win.
“Ross Perot pulled votes from George H.W. Bush and we got Clinton,” Cindy insisted, “no matter how many people actually voted for Clinton, the fact remains that it was people voting for Perot that put Slick Willy in office.”
After another two hours of intense debate followed. Finally, Tony felt he had a question to ask. He cleared his throat, asked for the floor, and Janet and Cindy calmed down enough for him to ask it.
“How come you guys are more angry with people like me, who vote but vote for someone else, than you are at people who don’t vote,” Tony asked.
Neither Cindy nor Janet had answers, so Tony pressed on.
“And also, how come you don’t get more angry and upset with the millions more people who vote for your opponent than the much, much smaller percentage of people who vote third party,” Tony asked, adding, “simple math dictates that those are the guys who actually won it. Out of twenty people in a room, if three voted independent but the rest votes for either a Democrat or a Republican, how do you arrive at the conclusion that the statistical minority had more to do with your loss than the people who outvoted not just you, but the third party voters?”
Still, no answer from Janet or Cindy.
“I mean, doesn’t it just feel like sour grapes over choosing a candidate that isn’t as much a sure-fire win as you thought they were,” Tony asked.
The silence was deafening.