Ever since the first presidential election, there has been essentially two parties running against each other.
Whether it’s been the Federalists against the Democratic-Republicans or the Democrats against the Republicans, one party will emerge victorious over the other.
However, there has almost always been a smaller third party weaving its way in and out of elections. From the Whig Party of the early 1800s to today’s Libertarian and Green Parties, these lesser-known parties have come up with candidates for mayor, governor, senator, representative or even President.
This year Jo Jorgenson is the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate. In 2016, that honor was bestowed upon Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, while Jill Stein, a physician from Massachusetts, was the presidential candidate of the Green Party, a position she resumed from the 2012 election.
Another thing that US elections have seen in recent years have been write-in votes. In 2016, Queen Elizabeth II was a popular write-in vote since many Americans did not have faith in Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Maryland governor Larry Hogan received some backlash recently for putting in Ronald Reagan as his write-in vote, which brings me to my main point: write-in and third party votes aren’t just a waste, they’re detrimental to elections.
Even if one electoral vote were to go to a third party or write-in candidate, it could completely change who wins the election. Another overseen problem are faithless electors, who are individuals that give their electoral votes to people that are not running for the presidency.
In 2016, there were 7 such individuals. 2 of these votes came from Texas, with 1 vote going to Ron Paul and another to John Kasich. Washington had the most faithless electors, with 4;3 of the votes going to Colin Powell while the other went to Faith Spotted Eagle.
The last faithless elector came from Hawaii, and their vote went to Bernie Sanders. Although these might just look like 7 electoral votes, they could have easily helped strengthen the race between Clinton and Trump.
I don’t have anything against those who support a third party, but I believe that when it comes to presidential elections, it’s best to stick to the two main parties, especially with such a crucial election like this one.
If even one electoral vote goes to someone other than the two main candidates, it could easily devastate the election and change an outcome. No matter how different our ideological views may be, for now let’s just put our differences aside, vote for the major candidate of our choice, and see how the election plays out.