Every four years, dissatisfied voters paint presidential elections as choosing the lesser of two evils.

Partisans will counter by saying a vote for a third-party candidate is a wasted vote. If your candidate can’t win, the argument goes, then you might as well throw your ballot in the nearest trashcan. The least you should do, they might say, is choose the lesser of two evils so your vote actually counts. Then they make the case that the other candidate is more evil.

But the lesser of two evils is still evil.

If you, like a sizable chunk of the American electorate, believe both Clinton and Trump are wholly unacceptable, should you stay home or hold your nose and vote for the least offensive candidate?

Your voice this year might be heard the loudest by choosing a viable third-party candidate.

More than half of the country has an unfavorable view of Clinton. The Republicans could have nominated almost anyone and likely won the White House.

But the Republican Party may be destined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by nominating a candidate with an even higher unfavorable rating.

If you, like millions of Americans, believe Donald Trump represents everything that is wrong with the culture in America and Hillary Clinton represents everything that is wrong with government and backroom politics, a third-party vote is a principled vote, not a wasted vote.

If third-party candidates receive a sizable popular vote this year, and could possibly even win one or two states’ Electoral College votes, it would send a message to the two major parties primary voters and/or superdelegates that, if they want their parties to remain the major parties, they need to get their acts together, or the American public is ready and willing to leave them in the dustbin of history along with the Whigs and the Know-Nothings.

You don’t have to choose between voting for a candidate you can’t stomach or wasting your vote. Take a look at the third-party candidates to see if one is qualified, experienced, doesn’t have a trail of corruption or boorish behavior allegations, and closely matches your political beliefs.

Don’t let anyone convince you that you’re wasting your vote.

The only wasted vote is one not cast.

For more information on third parties on the Wisconsin presidential ballot for president/vice president:

– Gary Johnson/William Weld

Libertarian Party

– Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka

Green Party

– Darrell Castle/Scott Bradley

Constitution Party

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