Election 2008: Some students opt to vote third party, or not at all

By Sidney Ainkorn

Though the effort to “get out the vote” for Obama has been non-stop on Macalester’s campus as of late, come election day some students will be voting for a third party candidate or not voting at all. “It will sort of depend on how I feel [on election day],” Brendan Rogers ’10 said.

If he does go to the polls, Rogers said, it will be most likely be to vote for Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party presidential candidate, because, he said, “the Green Party is the lesser of three evils.”

Though he expresses dissatisfaction with all political parties, Rogers said that his decision not to vote stems as much from an ideological opposition to voting as a lack of viable options.

According to Rogers, “politics is something we do every day of the year,” and voting is “a less useful kind of democracy.” He cites the slogan, “our dreams will not fit in ballot boxes.”

Sarah Levy ’12 is also planning on voting for McKinney. She said that Obama and McCain “agree on all the basic fundamentals.”

But that is just the beginning of her opposition.

“The worst thing that people can do is get all excited about electing Obama,” she said, “and then sit back, feeling accomplished, and let him do whatever he wants.”

She added, “Real pressure and real positive movement can only come from an independent group of people who are not bound to the mainstream political system.”

Paul McGuire ’12 is also looking outside of mainstream politics this election cycle. McGuire said he is “nominally a Republican” and believes that most people “assume [he is] going to vote for McCain,” since “libertarian ideology is closer to conservatism.”

McGuire said he would definitely be voting for McCain if he had chosen Mitt Romney, rather than Sarah Palin as his running mate. Now, though, he said he is weighing percentages and acknowledges, “part of me does not feel like wasting my time voting for Barr [since he will not win].”

No student is under any delusions about the eventual outcome of the election.

“I know she’s not going to win,” Levy said of McKinney. Rogers suggested that Obama has “locked up” the votes of college students.

Students who decide not to vote for Obama or McCain said they have faced mixed reaction across campus. Rogers said he has been told he is throwing his vote away and said that some people are simply reluctant to discuss their support of someone other than Obama or McCain.

Levy notes that she could provoke people if she chose, but she said “more people than [she] expected are up for listening to a different view.