An increase in protest votes could leave students — and America — with a president who may be the greater of the two evils according to Rob Baker, professor of political science at Wittenberg University.
In an unscientific written survey of 30 Wittenberg students, 13 percent said they were going to vote for a third party candidate this year, and 10 percent said they weren’t going to vote at all.
“It’s a lose – lose situation and the United States is screwed either way,” one student said, who was not planning on voting this year.
According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials [ages 18-35] make up 31 percent of the eligible voting population.
But, according to the recent Wittenberg survey, the amount of people planning on voting third party — and those not voting at all — leaves 23 percent of potential youth votes not going toward a major party candidate. This could prove harmful to the election. If you belong to a third party, voting for your candidate is not an issue, he said. But voting third party — or just not voting — as a way of protest over the two candidates proves useless in an election.
“One of them — either Trump or Hillary — is going to get elected. You’re just increasing the chances of the candidate you like the least to get elected,” Baker said. “A deeper reflection of who these candidates are and what they could do for the country needs to be addressed — and a vote needs to be cast.”
Paul Krugman, a columnist for the New York Times, also cautioned young people to vote wisely.
“Does it make sense to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, for president? Sure, as long as you believe two things,” Krugman said.
He went on to say that a voter would have to believe in Libertarian ideas, such as no public schools or income tax. Krugman also said that one must not care whether Trump or Hillary gets elected, because one of them will end up in the White House, like it or not.
Although over half of the students surveyed had an unfavorable view of both candidates, most of them said that it’s crucial to get the best major candidate into office, even if they didn’t agree with that candidate.
“Even though I’m not the biggest fan of either candidate, I would rather help vote for the lesser of the two evils,” Heather Rucker, ‘19, said.
A student who asked to remain anonymous took the opposing side.
“I disapprove of that mentality and think it is extremely harmful. The lesser of the two evils is still evil,” the anonymous student said.
But to some, not voting is out of the question, as it would be failing to exercise a basic right that many take for granted.
“Voting is my right and privilege, and as a woman, it’s something my gender fought for less than 100 years ago,” Evelyn Ritzi, ‘17, said.
There were 30 participants surveyed at Wittenberg University. Of those surveyed, 27 percent of the participants planned on voting for Clinton, 17 percent were planning on voting for Trump, 23 percent were undecided, 13 percent were going to vote for a third party candidate, 10 percent weren’t going to vote at all and 10 percent did not give a clear answer on who they intended on voting for.