I was a Nader supporter at 18 in a red state as well. I remember being excited about the idea of other parties, for everyone to vote for the candidate they truly aligned with, not just the lesser of two evils.
A long time has passed and I’m still as passionate about politics as I was back then. I’ve also lived a lot more and experienced things in the past four years that have terrified me about the way our country is going. I love Bernie, I think he would be wonderful for this country. But the truth is that he can’t win if he is only attracting that third force that you speak of. It’s not a majority. And no president should win based on a minority vote. We have one of those now, and it’s not good.
The thing is, I’ve been hearing this argument a lot from many of my friends. That they won’t vote if it’s not Bernie. But, and I’m being perfectly honest here, the only ones who’ve said it are white men. Sadly, I think it’s just the way that our politics are in this country. The reason we don’t have the things that Bernie is fighting for; socialized medicine, higher minimum wage, and better education, so many things… the reason we don’t already have all of that is because Americans are too self-centered. They just can’t bring themselves to have enough empathy to see that what is good for the poorest and most destitute of us is good for us all.
I vote not just for me, but for the voiceless. I vote for children, for refugees, for victims of shootings, I vote for the citizens of Puerto Rico, for indigenous people, for disenfranchised voters, for the mentally ill.
I would never not vote. Because you know who is definitely going to vote? The rich, old white men that want to control the wealth, the power and the bodies of the people of this country. I will take a moderate candidate over them any day. But that’s because as a queer woman I have rights that can be potentially be taken away.