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Charles Ballay, M.D., Libertarian Candidate for U.S. President, Regarding "The Wasted Vote"

In the U.S. political landscape, the pejorative "wasted vote" is used collectively by the dominant Democratic and Republican parties to maintain an unwavering grasp on central power in Washington. The misconception of a 'wasted vote' is a fear-mongering strategy that ignores the historical evolution of American politics, where seismic shifts have occurred, like the transition from Federalists to Democratic-Republicans and later to Whigs and so on. American politics have, and will always, evolve because of such "wasted votes;" we need third-party discourse to be reminded of what the Republican and Democratic parties would like us to forget. 

Look at our History of U.S. Political Parties, Continuously Evolved by Voting, as illustrated in this vertical graphic. Our two-party dominant system emerged from discontent with previous party values and representation. In 2024, we are at one of these significant crossroads in our country's history, and our dominant two-party system now seems most intent on preserving central power, each losing sight of its foundational purpose of representation. Such discord is increasingly detrimental to our constitutional republic: our choice between two polarizing major party candidates in November. From Gallup: "President Biden's Approval Rating Among Democrats has fallen to 75%, and 35% Among Independents, Bringing his Overall Approval to 37%. From Pew Research: Trump's Favorability Rating Among Combined Republicans and Republican-Leaning Independents is at 66%. Think about it: Likely More Than 40% of the country is against both candidates of the dominant parties. Parties Are About Representation. Voting is about representation. There is growing political and mainstream buzz about 2024 being ripe for independent and third-party candidates. We can do better. 

A "wasted vote" is a myth in a democracy. Historically, American politics have witnessed dominant parties evolve, sometimes split and dissolve, resulting from changes in demographics, ideologies, and societal values – through votes. The formation of the Republican Party from the Whig Party's anti-slavery factions in 1854 is a prime example. Today, the fragmentation within the dominant parties suggests a potentiality for similar realignments, as seen in the current dissatisfaction with both major parties and the increasing interest in independent and third-party candidates for the 2024 election. Nearly half the country doesn't feel represented by the "representatives" forced upon us by the dominant parties, and they tell us that any other votes are "wasted." That's broken democracy and just incorrect. 

Voters are increasingly disenfranchised by Washington D.C., feeling that federal politicians need to be in touch with the heart and soul of the USA and are out of touch with the middle ground and mainstream instead, caving to special interest groups or those with deep pockets. And rightly so, growing groundswell opting for a third-party presidential candidate in the November 2024 election challenges the outdated notion of a "wasted vote." The current broad and divided range of views on complex issues within the major parties, such as abortion rights, immigration, foreign aid, taxation, and debt limit (and the list goes on), underscores the need for a choice in our political system representing diverse perspectives. Voting along party lines has become more complicated as individuals find their views and priorities not consistently or fully addressed by either dominant party. Expectedly, current societal needs demand a reassessment of the "wasted vote" concept, focusing on individual representation and beliefs and a government that espouses similar-minded principles. 

In our current divisive climate, I propose that the rise of the Libertarian Party offers an alternative to the traditional political battle and has the potential to reshape the dynamics between Republicans and Democrats. We need a party literally "of the people" that speaks by and for the people, not to the people. A party willing to accept middle-of-the-road policies yet uses common sense in protecting our people and homeland, liberties, financial stability, and American values. At the same time, the rise of a people-based party, will surely compel the major parties to listen to their populace and present more appealing candidates and policies -- especially in presidential elections. Such a development could mark a significant step towards a more representative and responsive political system.

As a Libertarian voter and presidential candidate, I assert that your vote can never be "wasted" if it represents your choice. Your vote may help shape this great country and compel better political circumstances. The 2024 election will present a unique opportunity to reaffirm this principle in our democratic republic. In a government 'of the people, by the people, for the people,' voting should express our diverse views and needs, ensuring a genuinely representative political system. Historical figures like Abraham Lincoln or JFK exemplified candidates who transcended party politics, and in times of profound national division, voting for the person rather than the party becomes paramount. Diversity is America's strength, and when parties fail to represent it, they are subject to change through the power of the vote … and only through the power of the vote. Thus, there is no such thing as a "wasted vote;" voting should express our diverse views, needs, and political direction -- and not remain a tool to perpetuate political party divisions. 

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