Saturday, June 11, 2016

Ain't No Party Like a Third Party

With the Republican and Democratic nominees selected (sorry Bernie supporters, keep fighting, but I think the war is won), most Americans are facing the depressing prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

In any other year, it would be significant news that Clinton is more disliked than any other candidate in recent history. However, in this historically awful election cycle, that fact is completely eclipsed because Trump is polling considerably worse:

(FiveThirty Eight)

If you're like a large segment of the voting population, you're probably pretty disappointed with this situation. Nearly a quarter of the population would not vote for either candidate. But on the positive side, you're not alone!

Even better, there is another choice!
Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and 2012 candidate, is once again the Libertarian nominee for President of the United States.

While most people may believe voting for a third party is the same as "throwing away" their vote, (it's true, history has not been favorable to them) I believe this election is unique and, especially this year, supporting a third party candidate is not a waste for several reasons.

First, as noted above, both large party candidates are disliked.
This has translated to more voters open to other options than ever before. 47% would consider a third party candidate this year; that's up from 40% in 2012 and 38% in 2008.

Second, forget the "spoiler" narrative.
Johnson is pulling roughly equally from both Trump and Clinton; whereas, traditionally, Libertarians pulled more from Republicans. In fact, Johnson is polling higher than Clinton among Independents, but lower than Trump. In a race so tightly contested, it is valuable voice your opinion and force the "big two" candidates to come to you.

Third, this is not just about 2016, but for the future of the United States and the direction we wish to drive the narrative.
As I stated, it is valuable to state your opinion through your actions at the polls. True, it is unlikely that a third party candidate will win this year but, if Johnson (or Stein or others) gets significant support, future candidates will try much harder to win those votes. Thus, they must have have positions that more closely appeal to independents and libertarian-leaning voters.

Need more encouragement to diverge from the pack?
Some good synopses from ReasonTV:

Why Democrats Should Vote Libertarian This Year, According to Libertarian Party Members

Why Republicans Should Vote Libertarian This Year, According to Libertarian Party Members

If you're interested in reading more about this topic, here are a few other articles that go into more detail:

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