In Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 8, two of the main characters meet for the first time and discuss the possible future of the Iron Throne of Westeros. The conversation serves as a perfect metaphor for the 2016 election.
Daenerys Targaryen (the Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, played by Emilia Clarke, pictured right) meets Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister, the smartest man in Westeros (and most likely to cause riots in our streets if his character is killed off in a future episode). Dani has a legitimate claim to the throne, but her family has been out of power for almost two decades since the overthrow of her father, the Mad King.
Tyrion proceeds to explain the political landscape of Westeros to her, including the current ruling families, whom she might align herself with and the difficulty of pursuing her claim given the political realities of Westeros. Dani ticks off the names of the various families and lays out her vision of the future.
Dani: Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell… they’re all just spokes on a wheel. This one’s on top, then that one’s on top, and on and on it spins crushing those on the ground.
Tyrion: It’s a beautiful dream…. stopping the wheel. You’re not the first person who’s ever dreamt it.
Dani: I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel.
It’s a perfect metaphor for 2016, as we’re told we have two choices – Democrat or Republican, Clinton or Trump – who are met with less enthusiasm than any presidential race in the modern era. According to RealClearPolitics (based on June 21 to July 20 polls), Ms. Clinton’s unfavorable rating is 55.9 percent (compared with 38.2 percent favorable). Mr. Trump is very slightly worse, with an unfavorable rating of 59.1 percent, compared with a 34 percent favorable rating.
Both are solidly over 50 percent unfavorable and roughly a third of the electorate has an unfavorable rating of both candidates. Yet their poll numbers consistently run above their dismal favorable ratings, meaning that a fair number of those polled are preparing to hold their nose and pull the R or the D lever despite not trusting either candidate.
I’m consistently shocked at the number of people who tell me they don’t particularly like either candidate, but voting for a third party is “throwing away your vote.” That is exactly what the two major political parties want you to believe. The only thing either party would like less than losing to the other major party would be the victory of a third party, potentially weakening their monopoly on the halls of power.
Democrat, Republican… they’re just spokes on a wheel, spinning on and on and crushing those on the ground. How do you break the wheel? If you don’t like the two candidates, vote third party. It’s only throwing away your vote if we all choose to believe what the power brokers would have us believe.
Think for yourself, and exercise your right to vote for a candidate you aren’t ashamed of.