If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that voting third party was wasting my vote, I would be able to go to a lot of baseball games. Having been in the trenches for many a year working hard and having fun at it for a third party or independent candidate, I hear the same old tired complaints from the uneducated as to how much impact historically outsiders of the two party system really make. This is not just my viewpoint but a long historical fact. We will get to those facts in a minute.
Cue up the green God Ted, as they say. So here is the basic premise: A third party comes along and says, “Either you adopt parts of our platform or we will take away that which you think you deserve.” In other words, no one is entitled to win an election, votes must be earned. However, the nature of power entrenched think that they have the right to our vote. That is part of their sell job. Another part is that they always say that this is the most important election ever, and if you don’t vote for us, you are note only wasting your vote but you are a spoiler and stealing our votes. Let us be good consumers shall we, and look at the merits of what they are selling.
How can someone steal votes that no one owns? They can’t. How can one be a spoiler? They aren’t. Either everyone is a spoiler or no one is a spoiler. This is the most important election ever. Oh really? Who says? Either every election is important or no election is important. Of course hereditary voting is really a problem and has always has been. I mean if the Democrats had Ayn Rand at the top of the ticket and the Republicans had Leon Trotsky at the top of theirs, at least 20% of the electorate in each party would vote for them. Now that is serious hereditary voting! But of course this example is a bit absurd I know because they would never get to top of the ticket anyway. But with 2016 turning out as it is, who knows? But I digress.
Here are the facts that I promised you in paragraph one. Since 1832 William Wirt running in the Anti-Masonic party garnished 7.8% of the vote, and got a grand total of 7 electoral votes. From there until the impact of Ralph Nader and the Greens in 2000, third parties have changed elections, wreaked havoc, and have forced the hand of the 2 major parties or they ended up losing. In other words, their impact is just that: IMPACT. Still not convinced? OK, then chew on this: 1860 John Breckinridge running for president on the Southern Democratic Party won 18.1% and ended up with 72 electoral votes. Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 Progressive Party won a whopper 27.5 percent ending up with 88 electoral votes, handing the election over to Wilson.
And it even gets more fun. Debs got 6 percent, Lafollette got 16.6 percent. Thurmond got 39 electoral votes, George Wallace got 46 electoral, and Perot got 18.9 percent. The 12th Amendment passed in 1804 was just waiting backstage for a few more votes. The ideologies of these candidates are interchangeable in context with what I am saying. They are all over the map. But see here is the thing, parties have lost over them. Those big parties that were smart adopted some of their platform. Those who didn’t lost. These are the indisputable facts. This is how democracy works, and anyone who charges that voting for a third party is a waste of a vote either is ignorant of these facts, or worse, they know them and are lying to us.
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