Saturday, May 2, 2020

Why You Should Never, Ever Vote for a 3rd Party Candidate

You don’t like either Trump or Biden?  Thinking about voting for a 3rd Party?  Don’t.  If you vote for a 3rd Party candidate, you won’t just be throwing your vote away, you very likely will be helping elect the major party candidate you like the LEAST.  Here is why.

First, 3rd Party candidates can’t win.  The system is designed to prevent them from doing so.  NO 3rd Party candidate has ever been elected.  Former Republican Theodore Roosevelt running on the Progressive Party banner in 1912 had the best showing and he managed to get only 88 of the 531 electoral votes.  No other 3rd Party candidate has come close to matching Roosevelt.  Note: Roosevelt split the Republican Party handed a landslide victory to the Democratic Party candidate Woodrow Wilson.

The American system is designed to make it impossible for 3rd Party candidates to win.  

First, the system is rigged to keep 3rd Parties off the ballot.  Most states place a nearly impossible requirement that a 3rd Party candidate must get signatures from 1% of the voters in the state who voted in the last presidential election AND these signatures must be obtained and verified by August and in some states as early as June of the election year.  Candidates who obtain the necessary signatures can expect to be sued by one or both major parties challenging each and every signature.  

Second, running for President is expensive.  Hilary Clinton spent $768 million in 2016 and Trump spent $440 million.  In 2020, Trump and Biden will probably have to come up with $1 billion each.  Most 3rd Party candidates can’t come close to raising that amount of money and, without it, they can’t get their message out.

Third, like them or not the Presidential Debates still, matter.  To get invited to participate in the all-important debates, any 3rd Party candidate must be picked by 15% or more of voters in at least 5 national polls.  Most people vote for their party identification and there are very few true independents.  Pew Research says that while 38% of Americans say they are Independents, 17% of those Lean Democrat and 13% Lean Republican.  Only 7% of Americans truly don’t lean toward one of the major parties.  Getting 15% or better in one national poll given the fact that even self-proclaimed Independents have a Republican/Democratic Party preference  is next to impossible if you are not running as a Republican or Democrat.  Getting 15% or better in five polls is impossible if you are a third-party candidate.

Bottom Line:  3rd Parties Can’t Win….EVER


You are not just throwing your vote away on a guaranteed loser when you vote for a 3rd Party candidate.  You are actually helping the major party candidate you like the LEAST.  Why is that?

You are considering voting for a 3rd party candidate because you don’t like either of the two major-party candidates.  You don’t like Trump and you don’t like Biden.  Okay, but do you dislike them equally?  Let’s say, you had no 3rd party candidate to choose.  Let’s further say, just for the sake of this illustration, that write-in votes aren’t allowed.  You are stuck with picking Trump or Biden.  There is no other option if you vote.  You say you don’t like either candidate.  But, do you dislike Trump and Biden EQUALLY?  One is going to become President.  Will you be EQUALLY happy or unhappy with Trump or Biden? My guess is that you DO have a preference, even if it is a weak preference.  It is likely that you really, really don’t like one guy but only really dislike the other.  Unless you can honestly say that it makes absolutely NO difference to you whether Trump or Biden is President, then when you vote for a 3rd party candidate, you are voting FOR the candidate you would LEAST like to see as President.  Why?
Let’s say, you don’t like Trump or Biden.  However, if forced to pick between the two, you would pick Biden, not because you like him but because you DISLIKE Trump more.  You vote for a 3rd party candidate who cannot win.  Since you would have otherwise reluctantly voted for Biden, you are taking a vote away from him.  In a close election like 2020 is going to be, the loss of one vote could make a huge difference whether Biden beats Trump since in close elections EVERY vote counts.  If you are a “Biden is the lessor of two evils” voter and you vote for a 3rd party candidate, your best hope is that a “Trump is the lesser of two evils” voter votes for a 3rd party candidate, thereby canceling out your vote.  That’s the best you can hope to achieve, and that’s not a very good bet.  

What about not voting at all?  Here again, it depends upon whether you absolutely don’t have a  preference for one candidate over another.  Not voting when you have some degree of preference, even if it is very small, is the same as voting for a 3rd party candidate.  When you don’t vote, you take your vote AWAY FROM the candidate that you would have selected, although reluctantly.  That’s the same as voting for the guy you like least.

Bottom Line:  Hold your nose and cast a vote for the Democratic Party candidate or Republican Party candidate.  If nothing else, you avoid voting FOR the candidate you like LEAST.

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