Voting for 3rd party candidates counts

Caleb Bolin 
Political Columnist

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is interviewed at the Los Angeles Times on Feb. 11, 2016 in Los Angeles, Calif. Purple PAC, which originally supported Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, has spent $1 million on advertising for Johnson. (c) (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is interviewed at the Los Angeles Times on Feb. 11, 2016 in Los Angeles, Calif. Purple PAC, which originally supported Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, has spent $1 million on advertising for Johnson. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS) (c) 2016, Los Angeles Times, Distributed by Tribune News Service. ( Photo by Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

In an election year when the nominees from the traditionally favored parties both have a historically low favorability rating, a large number of voters look for a third option.

According to Real Clear Politics averaging of polls, Hillary Clinton has a 42 percent favorable rating and 55 percent unfavorable rating; Donald Trump has a 38 percent favorable rating and 57 percent unfavorable rating.

In the most recent CNN poll, the two most prominent third party candidates, Governor Gary Johnson and activist/physician Jill Stein, received 9 percent of support nationally.

Despite the poor favorability ratings of Clinton and Trump and the support of 9 percent of polled voters, supporters of one of the two major parties repeatedly tell voters who consider voting for a third party candidate that their votes would be a waste.

“A vote for a third party is a vote for [insert candidate that speaker believes to be worse of two evils],” they say.
There is no evidence that supports claims that voting for a third party candidate specifically helps a certain candidate. It is still the Constitutional right of voters to choose to vote for a candidate they deem acceptable–regardless of whether or not it hurts or helps a mainstream candidate.

The market for third-party candidates is so large (because leading up to the presidential election there was a lot of disapproval of the Democratic and Republican parties as a whole) that many politicians who have been in Washington for years have started tossing around phrases like, “I’m an outsider,” or “I’m not part of the establishment.”

When candidates, like Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson and Donald Trump claim to be outsiders to try and tap into a pool of disappointed voters, it is clear there could be enough support for true outsiders.

It is unfair and against the principles of democracy to tell people that if they vote for somebody outside of the establishment that their vote is a waste.

To do so is similar to the campaign of some unnamed Republican candidate telling voters that their preferred candidate has dropped out of the race when they have not; to do so is to tell someone that their candidate can never win, which discourages true choice.

See also: Students should care about presidential election

See also: Upcoming election inspires students to start political party clubs


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