“Why would I vote for someone who has no chance of winning?”
You’re right. Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and every other third party candidate has no chance of winning. While technically it’s still possible for a third party to win you’re more likely to get struck by lightning while being attacked by a shark. Ok, I don’t know if that’s true but statistically it’s nearly impossible for anyone other than the two major candidates to win at this point. Throughout the entire race Gary Johnson has been the highest polling third party candidate. This means Gary Johnson has the greatest chance at sparking history making change in American politics.
At this point, there is only one way in which GJ could possibly become president, and that is if neither Trump nor Hillary get the 270 electorates needed to become president. In order for this to happen a third party candidate would have to win a couple states, preferably a substantial blue state and a substantial red state or key swing states. This most likely isn’t going to happen but lets say it did.
Let’s say GJ won New Mexico and Utah and as a result no candidate got to 270 electorates. You can’t just have the most electorates, you have to have 270. If no candidate reaches 270, The House of Representatives decides between the three candidates with the most electoral votes. The House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans so you can count Hillary out and with most of the party denouncing Trump, he doesn’t seem like an option either. GJ and his running mate Bill Weld were both Republican governors so they would likely be a comfortable choice for Rs who can’t stomach voting for Trump or Hillary. In this scenario, each state would get one vote. Right now predictions are that Republicans would be 33 votes, Democrats 13 and three states would be a toss up because they have an equal number of R and D reps. So theoretically if no candidate got to 270 electorates, Gary would stand a good chance at finding himself in The White House.
The funny thing with this scenario is the senate selects a VP but only from the top two candidates. The senate will most likely be controlled by dems meaning Tim Kaine would most likely be chosen as VP under GJ. Sounds weird but, according to GJ he wouldn’t mind, in fact he wants both Dems and the GOP to serve in his cabinet.
This scenario is fun to think about but highly unlikely.
Gary Johnson may not have a chance at winning but what he does have is a chance at getting 5% of the popular vote. If he gets 5% of the popular vote then the Libertarian party officially becomes classified as a “minor party.” This means in 2020, like the other two parties, the Libertarian nominee will receive a lump sum of cash from the government. (I realize this will create a bit of a conundrum for libertarians on whether to accept the funds or not because they are vehemently anti government handouts but that’s something for a different blog). This will most likely equate to about $10 million. It’s a not a lot compared to what major candidates raise but keep in mind Gary Johnson just hit over $10 million in total raised last month. If he had those funds at the beginning he could’ve started out with a much stronger campaign. Although the libertarian party is already on the ballot in all 50 states as a recognized party they would be guaranteed ballot access and be listed higher on the ballot then they currently are in some states.
So the question still remains, why should I vote for a third party, and why should that person be Gary Johnson?
First is representation. The point of a president or any government elected official is to represent the interests of its people. America is a diverse country with no official language, no official religion and thousands of different cultures melting together to form one hell of a force. It’s something to be proud of but it also means there are hundreds of different needs, dreams, experiences and stories to go along with this diversity. Can two parties really cover all of those needs? Two genders aren’t enough, two sexual identities are not enough, two spider man timelines aren’t enough, how in the hell can two parties be enough? Can anyone honestly look me in the eye and say two parties cover the needs of all America’s citizens?
Second is political standards. Politicians like to point out what other countries are doing as a way to convince us we should be doing that too. Like when Trump said we should have more libel laws like the UK or when Bernie said we should be more like Norway. It makes sense to compare and at the very least be aware of what the rest of the world is doing. One thing neither major party will do is point out a two party system is far from modern. Twelve parties are represented in the UK’s House of Commons. Italy, Australia, Germany, and many more, all have more than two political parties represented in their federal and local governments. Diversity is celebrated. We know diversity is important..but apparently not when it comes to political representation. Two choices is not really a democracy, it’s an oligopoly.
Third is corruption. Relating to the previous point, there is a reason why major party politicians don’t point out the United States is not like the rest of the world when it comes to our political structure. This is one thing the two parties can agree on, a third would be bad for both of them. Another party means less power for the current two major parties. Think about this, two groups of people control what happens in America. Two groups. Even when a party loses the presidential race, they still have a mass amount of power within the house and senate. Two philosophies control what happens in our country.
A third party means campaigning would have to be more precise. With more options people would be less likely to vote against someone and more likely to vote for someone. With only two choices each party can just point to the other as an excuse for their behavior. “Hey I might’ve messed up on XYZ thing but if you don’t vote for me then you’ll end up with that other horrible person.” This isn’t a choice. This is torture, and without more voting options you can expect elections like the one right now to become commonplace.
George Washington warned of the dangers of a two party system:
“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”
This couldn’t be more relevant today. Having to to choose one of two sides creates a war between neighbors, friends and co-workers. It’s Us vs Them not We vs The Issues like it should be. George Washington worried a two-party system would eventually lead to a single side seizing control which is why he and others advocated for the many checks and balances we have today. But Checks and balances aren’t always enough.
So why Gary Johnson? Because according to polls he has the best chance at hitting the 5% needed. There are other options. Evan McMullin looks like he might actually win Utah and Jill Stein has a strong following as well. But McMullin isn’t even on half the state’s ballots. He’s on 11. What’s more is he doesn’t represent a particular party so even if he did get 5% of the vote nothing would change moving forward. A vote for McMullin might feel good on your conscience but it does nothing for the future of this country. Sure you can say you didn’t vote for Trump or Hillary but you might as well vote for Pedro because that vote would be just as useful. Jill Stein is simply polling behind Gary at this point. I would be delighted if both her and Gary hit 5% but it just doesn’t seem statistically possible at this point which is why I encourage you to vote for who has the best shot at making changes. After the two-party ceiling has been broken we can talk about introducing more parties.
This election is over as far as who wins. Every major poll has Hillary Clinton winning. In fact, according to a combination of polls and projections HIllary has a 93%, read it 93% chance of winning. Odds like that aren’t common. Hillary is trying to win Texas. I’ll repeat, a Democrat is spending money on Texas because a Democrat has a real shot at winning Texas. Unheard of. There is no better time to to put your foot down and vote third party.
Two parties are not enough. Gary Johnson is the candidate with the best chance at changing the political landscape this time around. Maybe next election it will be someone else belonging to a different party but right now GJ is the guy. I want my vote to matter, I want to vote my conscience, I want representation damn it. Two parties don’t accomplish that and they never will.