Opinion: Voting Third Party Diminishes The Impact of Your Vote
As American politics has become a divisive dichotomy of a two party-system, voters have the option to vote for a third party, rather than the traditional Republican or Democratic presidential candidates. Although third-party voting seems like a protest or neutral stance to the traditional two-party system and their respective candidates, voting for a third party in a presidential election is simply throwing away your vote as opposed to supporting your general politics.
In modern American presidential elections, third parties simply do not win elections; Libertarian Gary Johnson led the way for third parties in 2016, only amassing 3.27% of the popular vote and winning zero electoral college points. The last time a third-party candidate won any significant portion of the popular vote was Ross Perot, almost 30 years ago in 1992, who won 19%, according to Thought Co. and the Hanford Sentinel. Voting for a candidate other than a Republican or Democrat is throwing away a vote for a candidate that has no chance of winning.
Political issues such as abortion, taxes, Second Amendment, etc. should produce responses from voters that either side with the Republican or Democratic candidate. Being neutral on an issue such as abortion, especially as Christians, should not exhibit indecision or neutrality for sake of a cop-out third-party vote.
Another argument for third-party voting is that the voter cannot bring themselves to vote for said Republican or Democratic candidates they deem unfit. While this position may seemingly leave you with no blood on your hands from an unexceptional candidate winning office, there are unintended consequences for voting toward a third party that leans with your political ideology.
When someone chooses to vote for a third-party candidate over someone who best aligns with their political beliefs (Republican or Democrat) they are basically giving their vote to the opposing party — the party they would prefer not to win over the other.
Voting for a third-party candidate often accomplishes the opposite of what the voter is attempting to accomplish.
Third-party voting seems like a neutral stance, but a vote toward a conservative third party benefits the Democratic candidate, and vice versa with a liberal vote toward a liberal third party benefits the Republican candidate.
The goal of voting should be to vote for the candidate most likely to help the policies you care for win, not to vote for someone who perfectly matches your political leanings.
In a presidential election more important to our nation than any other, each vote is important. Third parties only occupy small percentage points, but many states, especially tight races in swing states, are decided by one percent or less. If third-party voters decide to use their vote more efficiently for one of the two main candidates, their state will be better-represented by the candidate that would win their state.
For this 2020 Presidential Election, vote for policy and not personality. Vote for the candidate that matches your politics relative to their winning chance. Do not be stubborn or indecisive; do not vote for a third party.
Keaton Browder is an Opinion Writer.