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To my Utah friends planning on voting for third-party candidates:

Today, in Utah, there is a presidential election that is actually contested. This is the first time that Utah has been any sort of “swing state” in living memory. It means that votes matter more now than they have in a long while.
I can think of many reasons why you might make the choice to vote for a third-party candidate. Maybe you just can’t tolerate either of the primary candidates. Maybe you think Trump would be an unfit president but Hillary’s views are deeply contradictory to your own. Maybe you want to push for voting reform, and you think this will help. Maybe you want to push against the two-party system. Maybe you feel a third-party candidate simply represents your values and views far better than the primary contenders.
And maybe you don’t want to set aside your idealism, your hope for something better, your symbolic gesture of protest, or your concerns for your preferred major candidate. Why should you have to? What kind of unjust world would demand such things?
Well, I’ve long considered myself a pragmatist, so I want to speak in defense of that view here for a moment.
It sucks doing what is “politically expedient.” It sucks feeling like you have to vote for the lesser of two evils. It sucks to participate in a system that’s so imbalanced, so polarized, so broken. But there is a tremendous difference between dreaming of a better world and actually changing the world we live in.
The simple fact of the matter is, third party candidates will not win this election. And while some good may come of a surge in third-party voters — in getting us talking about the system as it stands — there is no reason to believe it will change anything.
The U.S. is not brand new. There is plenty of history to look through if you want to see what voting for a third-party candidate might do. The Bull Moose party shows us that even a tremendous amount of support for a third-party candidate will not change our voting system, and will cause a majority of people to wind up with their least favorite candidate. The situation in Florida in the 2000 election shows us that votes are sometimes so narrow that third-party voters swing elections away from their second favorite candidate. And so on, and so forth.
There are ways to push for voting reform. There are other major improvements our voting system needs. The two-party system, the electoral college, the way primary elections lead to extreme candidates … all of these should be overhauled or eliminated. But voting for a third-party candidate is a purely symbolic gesture that will make no lasting impact.
At the end of the day, voting for a third-party candidate is the equivalent of giving half a vote to your least favorite candidate. Now, I’m not here to tell you who your least favorite candidate is. We can have a separate discussion on that, if you’d like. But I am telling you that deciding on your preferred candidate of the two who may actually win is the best way to get a president who best reflects your values. It means compromise, it means settling for less, but the alternative is giving de facto support to the values that least reflect your own.
With a Republican-controlled senate today, a Trump presidency would mean major Republican legislation could go through. With a contested senate majority widely anticipated during the next election cycle, it’s entirely plausible that the same would apply to Democrat legislation during a Clinton presidency. And while presidents do not have any kind of unlimited power, they do direct the priorities and the conversation, which means that the discussion we’re seeing during the presidential campaigns is indicative of the types of political changes or projects we may see in the next four to eight years. And, of course, our president is our representative to other nations, and will influence how other nations view us and choose to interact with us.
The outcome of this election is not neutral. The way the U.S. will look in the coming years will be very different based on who wins this November. What I encourage you to do is simply this: Think of what the world is likely to look like in either scenario, and decide which of those worlds you would prefer to live in. Don’t give into the hype or the fear. Listen to the candidates and their stated goals, investigate impartial analyses of the likely consequences of proposed legislation, and –in short — figure out which of these candidates best reflects your values.
I’m not saying they will reflect your values particularly well. But it is my view that choosing the lesser evil is a civic responsibility. Otherwise, you are giving de facto support to the candidate you believe to be the greater evil. You are, in essence, making the world reflect your values less when you choose to vote for a third party candidate or choose not to vote.
A part of me wants to end with a call to action. Something profound and inciting. Instead, I’ll just pose a question. What do you believe is truly the better way to embody your values? Making a symbolic — but ultimately unproductive — gesture that reflects the way you wish the world worked? Or jumping into the muck and shit of how this country actually works and making what difference you can?

Where to Stay in Pennsylvania’s Most Memorable Cities

From beautiful scenery to bustling metropolitan experiences to niche getaways, Pennsylvania has it all. In today’s article, we’ll explore four of the state’s best destinations and some of the top hotels in each.

Pittsburgh: The Renaissance or the Fairmont

Pittsburgh is home to attractions like the Andy Warhol Museum, which is the largest American art museum dedicated to a single artist, as well as the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, a historic museum established by Andrew Carnegie himself. It’s also home to the National Aviary, which is the biggest aviary in the country.

While you’re in Pittsburgh, consider a stay at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel. This historic hotel is in the Fulton Building, which was built on the riverfront in 1906. Today, you’ll find an on-site gym, pet-friendly rooms, and one of the best-rated restaurants in the city, Braddock’s American Brasserie.

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Stunning Hotels in Seattle’s Suburbs

Seattle is one of the most popular destinations on the West Coast, which also means its hotel rates are among the highest on the coast. One great way to save money and explore this region is to stay in one of Seattle’s beautiful suburbs. In this article, we’ll explore three of those suburbs and five of the area’s best hotels.

Seattle Area Attractions

Seattle has something for every type of traveler. Into museums? Check out the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Flight, or the Experience Music Project Museum. Like natural attractions? Head to the ocean shores or nearby Lake Union, explore the countless acres of green space, or head out to Seward Park or Mount Teneriffe. Like to visit the major icons? Head straight for the Space Needle or the Seattle Great Wheel. You won’t want to miss the city’s many fine dining options, music venues, theatres, or festivals, either.

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The Best Hotels and Sites for a Michigan Vacation

I need to return to Michigan. My only visit thus far was to Detroit, where my brother insisted that we go to 8 Mile Road to see the place Eminem grew up. It was a memorable trip, but Detroit probably wouldn’t be my top pick if I were to return. Rather, I’d want to go to Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. In this entry, we’ll explore the best accommodations and attractions in those cities.

Things to Do in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is a beautiful city with an impressive historic district. It’s home to several buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and offers access to nearby lakes, rivers, and nature preserves.

What are the best attractions in Grand Rapids? The Frederick Meijer Gardens include miles of walking trails surrounded by beautiful flowers and outdoor sculptures. The Grand Rapids Public Museum features educational exhibits in a retired flour mill. Millennium Park is a sprawling nature area with multiple beaches.

Stay Downtown: The Holiday Inn

The Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown will give you easy access to the major attractions of the city. In fact, it’s just a 15-minute walk to three of the city’s most famous museums. What’s more, this affordable hotel also features several key amenities. All guests receive free Wi-Fi, access to the pool, and a room with a flat-screen TV.

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The Most Luxurious Hotels in Columbus and Cincinnati

There is no such thing as a bad place to take a vacation. Sure, there are places with more risks or that are better suited to certain tastes, but you can get a great deal any place you go. Take Ohio, as just one example. While passing through on my last road trip, I discovered many things to do in Cincinnati and Columbus. In today’s entry, we explore the attractions and accommodations available in those two cities.

In the Columbus Polaris District: The Hilton

Near the Polaris District, you’ll find dozens of things to do. Check out the Magic Mountain Fun Center, which features go-karts, laser tag, golf, and more. Explore the Polaris Towne Centre for a day of non-stop shopping. If you’re strange like me, visit my personal favorite, the nearby Jungle Jim’s mega-store, an international grocery market with over 200,000 square feet of store space.

While visiting this district of Columbus, consider the Hilton Columbus/Polaris. This three-star hotel includes a pool, fitness center, and two on-site restaurants. Additionally, you’ll receive complimentary WiFi throughout the building and free parking.

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GoSeeWrite’s Great Budget Midwest Accommodation In Branson, Fort Wayne, and More

This post originally appeared on GoSeeWrite on June 28th, 2016, was written by Michael Hodson, and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.


The Midwest is a beautiful area of the country that has a wealth of different options for those who are looking for a destination for their next vacation. From the Ozark Mountains to the cosmopolitan cities, there are plenty of activities to enjoy, from outdoor pursuits to glamorous stage shows. If you are looking to travel on a budget, there are plenty of places that balance great attractions with affordable accommodation options, and here are a few suggestions for your next Midwest trip.


This lovely town in Missouri has a wealth of things to offer the visitor, with the riverboat cruises on the ‘Branson Belle’ having an old-time charm, while there are also great theaters for those who want to enjoy a show, and a series of excellent golf courses here too. In terms of good places to stay for those on a budget, check out these Branson hotels, with the Gazebo Inn being one affordable option that boasts an outdoor swimming pool.

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The Most Beautiful Hotels in Downtown Hollywood

Winter’s still a while off, but I’m already planning for my escape to warmer places. Since I’m lucky enough to be in a low-residency MFA program just twenty minutes away from Hollywood, that’s where I’ll be spending much of my December. For those like me who need to go from the frigid climate of home to a kinder place, Hollywood is a phenomenal destination. Here are a few of the best places to stay during your Los Angeles getaway.

For the Budget Option: Motel 6

The Motel 6 Hollywood is by no means a classless hotel, but it has one of the lowest nightly rates of any hotel located in central Hollywood. These accommodations put you within easy walking distance of Hollywood Boulevard, which means you can stroll right over to the Walk of Fame, Madame Tussaud’s, The Hollywood Museum, and dozens of other attractions. The rooms at the Motel 6 come with basic amenities, including free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, and a mini-fridge.

Luxurious and Well-Located: The W

Some hotels are designed to be destinations in and of themselves. Take, for instance, the W Hollywood. Beyond comfortable rooms with plasma TVs, pillowtop mattresses, and stunning views, the hotel offers a fitness center, pool, and on-site restaurant. However, like the Motel 6, the greatest appeal is that the accommodations are within walking distance of Hollywood Boulevard, making it easy to explore the city’s most famous landmarks.

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