I don’t think that many people are going to throw their vote away this cycle.
Partially, because “Libertarian Party” candidate Gary Johnson only got votes because sexists didn’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump…and this year’s Libertarian Party nominee is Jo Jorgensen, a woman. And if you’re going to vote for an old white guy, you’ve already got Joe Biden or Trump to choose from–so why go for Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins?
I also don’t think people are going to risk Coronavirus exposure or long voting lines or the trouble of mailing in a ballot to throw their vote away on some obscure long-shot nobody has heard of…
But still, for the 2% of people out there even thinking of doing this, you should know that you are absolutely, unequivocally, irrevocably throwing away your vote.
Even when a third-party candidate does EXCELLENT in a Presidential race, it is only as a spoiler to one of the two main parties…
—Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party almost certainly cost Taft the election towards Woodrow Wilson.
—Ross Perot did PHENOMENAL for a third party candidate…and helped secure the victory for Clinton against HW Bush.
—Ralph Nader scored the biggest victory for the Green Party ever in 2000!…And handed the election to Bush over Gore.
—The number of votes for Jill Stein’s Green Party ticket in 2016 were easily enough to sway Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania if they’d gone to Hillary. Likewise, Gary Johnson’s Libertarian ticket was big enough it could’ve affected all those states, plus Arizona and Florida.
We have not had a “third party” Presidential candidate win election since Abraham Lincoln, if you count the newly-formed Republicans AS a third party after the dissolution of the Whigs.
But America was a much smaller and newer country then. And the idea that the Libertarian Party or the Green Party would get big enough to replace the Democrats or Republicans is a pipe dream.
The most major independents alive today are Senators Angus King and Bernie Sanders. And Sanders—despite his enormous name recognition and fundraising stature—ran for the Democratic nomination (TWICE) over an independent bid because he knew it would be just like Nader in 2000: a spoiler.
It’s also the reason the country’s other best known independent, Michael Bloomberg, thought he had better odds wasting a fortune in the Democratic primary instead of running as an independent.
Sure, Bloomberg got stomped in the Democratic primary, but the man has made his fortune crunching data, and he still thought he had a better chance doing that than running as an independent. Probably because he knows elections where nobody clears 270 electoral college votes go to the House, and almost no member of congress is going to go against their party for an independent, let alone a majority of them.