Why Voting for a Third Party Candidate Never Has Its Intended Result




I’m a Bernie fan myself and voted for him in the primary. But I also understand how the political process of elections works and has worked for some time. None of the info brought to light by the WikiLeaks is news to me. I completely agree that the process must change and that money’s influence in US politics is rampant and runs counter to the basic premise of democracy.

However, making these necessary changes cannot happen in one election. Bernie Sanders has, for quite some time, been a lone voice in the election-reform woods. He’s not alone anymore. This is how things change. He has had a profound effect on the DNC platform. He has run an enviable, dynamic, engaging and even courageous campaign that will affect further change for years to come. Hopefully we’ll see important changes to the primary procedures and efforts to minimize the influence of money in elections before we vote again. I believe this can and should be done. And I believe it’s achievable thanks in large part to him.

But first, there’s November.

I’ve seen more than a few sudden third-party voters express the hope that a Trump presidency might actually help move the Bernie Revolution forward. By voting for someone other than Trump or Clinton, they say they are forgoing the choice of “the lesser of two evils.” They say that Trump and Clinton are virtually the same. It’s an opinion that drips with a renegade spirit, unbending determination and uncommon bravado.

It’s also kinda crazy.

Statistically speaking, Third Party candidates typically serve only as election day spoilers. Conservative darling Ross Perot helped seal victory for Bill Clinton. Cue the loud sucking sound of jobs leaving. Progressive firebrand Ralph Nader made it 3 million votes easier for George W Bush to abscond with the White House. This killed important and timely Climate Change initiatives for eight critical years, initiatives that Green Party voters would probably liked to have seen enacted sooner. Just sayin’…

But rather than a Trump presidency serving to “wake the country up” and hasten the adoption of the Bernie Sanders platform in 2020, it is infinitely more likely that the DNC and Democratic Party would be thrown into DEFCON 1 chaos just to ensure Trump’s impact on the economy, and domestic and foreign policy is minimized over his term, which would leave precious little time, energy, resources or talent for moving any sort of “revolution” forward.

Here’s why.

For the last eight years, the overarching Republican strategy has been hyper-focused on preventing any Obama-led legislature from making it to the House or Senate floor. They’ve concentrated on halting the SCOTUS appointment process, shut down the federal government on more than one occasion and prevented any practical discussion of gun control reform. And they’ve challenged the ACA more than 40 times, investigated Benghazi many times and even tried to impeach Obama.

Now, there are lots of brilliant and caring conservatives in the US. And our nation works best when both parties are being led by strong ideals that emphasize the strengths of each party’s character. However, when a party — either party — goes off the rails and sets as its only purpose the demonization of the other party, well, the entire country suffers. And I think it’s safe to say that, after the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the GOP is all but cratered. Even for Liberals and Progressives, this is not good.

For eight years, this obstructionism has been the GOP’s sole revolution. They have not proposed any meaningful legislation at all on healthcare, firearm safety, jobs, veterans affairs, the economy, tax reform, election reform or anything else. Their only action at all — at tremendous cost to the American taxpayers they pretend to protect — has been to stop Obama from leading the nation in a way that would make Democrats more popular among the American people. They’ve said as much, over and over again.

And now, after all that energy, all that effort, all that organized force of will has been spent blocking the president for eight years, look at what they have left. Their exhausted party is utterly powerless, rendered too weak and defenseless to prevent the one antisocial asshammer candidate — that no one in the party wanted — from becoming their party’s nominee for president. That is what happened to their revolution.

And if Donald Trump becomes president, then Democrats and Green Partiers and Socialists and a shitload of independents will be forced to spend their time and resources and talent and political capital — not to mention a great deal of taxpayer time and money — just to build a protective wall between our society and its “leader.” Everything Bernie stands for will be stopped dead in its tracks. Crucial momentum will be lost. Money will continue to conquer all. And the young people who have waged and raged and voted for this revolution will do what disillusioned voters have done for many, many decades. They will simply turn their backs on our government and our country.

And if that happens, we are truly and thoroughly screwed.

© 2016 Chris Henson


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