For many Rice students, voting Donald Trump for the presidency is out of the question, but Hillary Clinton may not be the clear alternative. However, the Thresher calls on the Rice community to carefully consider the threat Trump poses to them and in particular to their fellow minority students, reject third-party candidates and rally behind Clinton.

You do not have to agree with Clinton on a single policy issue to have perceived the egregious yet true-to-form sexism exhibited by Trump at the first presidential debate Monday night. Aside from Trump interrupting Hillary at least 50 times (a conservative estimate) throughout the event, it was incredibly painful to see a woman who has dedicated her life to public service being shouted over by a man who possesses nowhere near the comparable level of expertise, experience or knowledge. Any woman who has occupied a leadership position can attest to the quiet patience she must acquire to bear the regular occurrences of “mansplaining” and “man-terrupting.”

While there are legitimate critiques to be made of Clinton that are not entrenched in sexism, we implore our readers who may be on the fence about which candidate to vote for (or whether to vote at all) to consider the heavy ramifications of not casting a ballot for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming election.

It’s not surprising that most Rice students don’t support Trump: His continual lies, childish rhetoric, sexism, racism, lack of knowledge and casual disregard for human civility should shock and horrify anyone considering this man as commander in chief. That he apparently doesn’t read books and has a concerningly low attention span is equally terrifying when considering the taxing duties of the presidency.

However, third-party candidates cannot win the presidency in the current U.S. electoral system (see: Duverger’s Law). While we understand the appeal of individuals using their vote to “send a message” or “vote their conscience” regardless of their preferred candidates’ electability, the stakes in this election are far too high. “Voting your conscience” should include consideration of whomever else your vote will affect. Those of us who are women, who are Muslim, Latinx, black, LGBTQ or socioeconomically disadvantaged, do not have the luxury to vote our conscience. Each day we live with the fear that Trump is elected in November and we will lose any semblance of respect for our lives and our personhood.

Most importantly, Rice students, vote, and help others become informed and vote. There are several registration drives occurring on campus within the next few weeks until Oct. 11, the last day to register. If you do not wish to register in Harris County, seek out online methods of registering to vote absentee in your home district. It is not just the presidency that is at stake: 12 governors, 34 Senators and every U.S. representative, along with local propositions and elections will be decided by voters in November. Get educated, get registered and go vote.

Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Thresher editorial staff. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinion of the piece’s author.