Regardless of how you vote, there is one absolutely unavoidable conclusion to the 2016 presidential election: Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States.
There can be no other possibility.
In establishing the Electoral College, the Framers sought to diminish the influence of the largest states, much the same way they did by making Congress bicameral. Moving to a winner-take-all fashion of awarding electoral votes, however, has damaged that impact somewhat, but even today, one cannot win the election by swaying the voters of the most populous states alone.
Our Founding Fathers also established a two-party system when they divided themselves into Federalists and Democratic-Republicans (they used the phrase "Republicans" colloquially, but I'm seeking to disambiguate). And it has remained that way—despite the best efforts of communists, socialists, libertarians and constitutionalists—ever since.
Libertarian Gary Johnson is on the ballot in all 50 states, and may have elector slates in each of them, but based on current polling, is nowhere near a number that would suggest he could win any particular state. That means the 538 electoral votes will be divided between Clinton and Trump.
So, in that regard, voting for a third-party candidate could result in either candidate you don't like winning outright on Nov. 8. But there's another possibility that should be explored, as well.
The Electoral College requires 270 votes to win. If no candidate gets 270 electoral votes, the election of the president will go to the House of Representatives, where each state's legislators will vote "en bloc" (meaning one vote for each state's delegation).
Given the stakes, it's impossible to imagine a scenario where the representatives wouldn't vote along party lines.
Republicans not only hold a majority of the House of Representatives, they hold a majority of the state delegations by a 33-14 margin. Maine, New Hampshire, and New Jersey are split evenly.
So, deciding to vote for a third-party candidate, if it doesn't directly contribute to Clinton winning in the Electoral College, would likely result in Trump winning a tiebreaker vote in the House of Representatives. Either way, you're still stuck with a binary situation.
Christians have a duty to engage in the political process and vote. Not only that, with so much at stake, they have a duty to cast a vote that matters.
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