No, I’m not voting and here’s why

The presidential election is always an extremely important event which determines our country’s future, and the 2016 race is no exception.

As a 21-year-old, this election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is my very first opportunity to vote in a general election. The thought of finally voicing my opinion in our democratic system of government excited me until I saw the candidates.

As I generally lean more to the left, I found myself in a tough spot during the nomination process. Bernie Sanders was someone I viewed as a radical and impractical choice, and Secretary Hillary Clinton seemed a trivial choice to me. The more I looked into the possibility of casting a vote for Clinton, the less I was able to rationalize doing so because I recognized some of her scandalous behavior, and I felt she was a weak speaker.

With my options on the Democratic side leaving me so doubtful, I turned to the Republican party to attempt to find a candidate to support. Most of the bunch, including Donald Trump, I immediately eliminated from consideration due to either their right-leaning policies, or with Trump specifically, his pompous behavior.

After watching the first GOP debate, I began to favor names such as Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Ben Carson. As we now know, all of these choices have been eliminated, leaving Mr. Trump as the Republican Party’s nominee.

Once the candidates were selected, I scrambled to find another option so I could participate in the election, but Gary Johnson’s lack of foreign policy knowledge and experience as well as his unprofessional demeanor at times turned me off of the idea of the Libertarian candidate. I also looked at Jill Stein briefly, but I found the Green Party candidate was not a viable option due to a lack of support.

For the past few months, I’ve been trying to rationalize voting for a candidate just so I could participate in the election that I’ve been anxiously waiting for.

When I think of the ideals of Mr. Trump, words like elitist, racist and sexist come to mind. Regardless of how you feel about his policies, which I don’t see as favorable, any candidate with those words attached to him or herself should be eliminated from consideration. He has managed to alienate nearly every group of people, whether that be Hispanics, African-Americans, Muslims, the disabled, many members of the Republican Party, women, (and most recently,) due to a leaked video, men. I cannot rationalize voting for Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton leaves me with a similar feeling but for different reasons. When she ran in 2008, she was a non-contender. Barack Obama’s speaking ability and overall likability sent him on a fast track to the nomination, and eventually, a two-term presidency. Hillary has experience in political affairs, from serving as first lady to spending time as the secretary of state. The only problem is, she’s a snake. She’s lied on multiple occasions about things that are extremely important, and I remain unsure of her morality and honesty.

These two candidates are far beyond rationalization. I refuse to cast my vote for the lesser of two evils. Leading up to this election, there has been more pressure to get out and vote than I’ve seen since my interest in politics began, but I just can’t do it. Voting should be a way to voice your opinion on who you feel should run this country. Many voters are doing so only to prevent the opposing candidate from getting elected.

While I understand that school of thought, I cannot in good conscience adhere to it. For the next four years, I will sleep better at night knowing that I chose to vote for none of these candidates than if I were to give any of them my support.