Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentElections · 1 month ago

Why do people who tell me my vote for a third party candidate is a waste, tell me their candidate needs my "worthless" vote?

So is my vote meaningless, or is it so important it will make all the difference in the world?

'cause if my vote makes a difference, then why wouldn't I use that toward the candidate I believe in? And if it's worthless, then what do you care how I vote?? 🤨

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    Voting for a third party candidate in a Presidential race is worse than useless.  At best it doesn't do anything constructive.  At worst is helps elect the major party candidate who is farthest from your views.

    Voting third party is a waste, not because your vote is worthless, but because they have no chance of winning.  The Democrats and Republicans have enough support that they are the only ones with any chance at victory in a Presidential race.  You may lament that reality, but it is a reality.  The last time anyone other than a Democrat or Republican even got more than 10% of the vote was almost thirty years ago when Ross Perot took 18% in the 1992 election.  The last time a third party candidate won any electoral votes was over 50 years ago, when segregationist George Wallace won five states in the Deep South.  Wallace's 46 electoral votes still left him 224 votes shy of what he needed to win the Presidency. 

    The reality is that no third party candidate is going to win the election.  So voting for them is, at the very best, a pointless exercise, at least from a practical standpoint.  But it gets worse than that.  Because voting for a third party can actually tip the results of the election.  Presidential elections are not decided on the basis of who gets the most votes.  Instead, they're decided by the electoral college.  There are 538 electoral votes and a candidate needs to get at least 270 (50%+1) in order to win.  States award their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote.  But they award ALL of their votes to the winner, regardless of how much of the vote that candidate gets.  Third party candidates can cause a candidate to lose the electoral college in a state by robbing them of votes.  And the candidate who suffers for it is usually the one who is ideologically closest to the third party candidate.

    Here's a real world example of this.  Back in 2000, Vice President Al Gore was running against Texas Governor George W Bush.  One election night it all came down to Florida.  Both candidates needed it's votes in order to win.  I won't go into the whole saga about Florida, but it was very close.  Bush ended up being the winner, but he had a lead of only 500 votes over Gore.  But here's the thing, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader got almost 100,000 votes in Florida in 2000.  He ran to the left of Gore and attracted support from people on the left who felt that Gore wasn't sufficiently liberal.  If just one half of one percent of Nader's Florida supporters would have voted for Gore instead, he would have become President.  So the Iraq War, and the thousands of Americans who died there (not to mention the half million Iraqis) were all because a bunch of liberals in Florida decided to "throw their vote away" on Nader, a candidate who had no chance of winning, rather than backing Gore, who was the most left wing candidate who could actually have a chance at becoming President. 

    The same thing happened in 2016. Of course, we all know that Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by about 2% in the popular vote.  But Trump got only 46% of the vote and Clinton got 48%.  This means that about 6% of voters didn't vote for either of them.  If all of the non-Trump voters had gotten behind Clinton then she would have gotten 54% of the vote and beaten Trump.  In three of the four states which Trump flipped, Green Party candidate Jill Stein got more votes than Trump's margin of victory over Clinton.  Stein had no chance of winning.  So if her voters had instead voted for Clinton, the most left wing candidate who actually had a chance of winning the race, then she would have won.  All of the bad stuff under Trump: the corruption, the scaling back of environmental and workplace protections, the mainstreaming of white supremacist ideology and rhetoric, the children in cages, the 130 thousand Americans dead from corona, all of that is because a bunch of voters in 2016 decided to vote for candidates who couldn't win instead of for Clinton. 

    As a voter you should vote not for some hypothetical candidate who best represents your interest but has no chance of winning.  Instead you should vote for the candidate who has the best chance of making the policies and ideals you believe in a reality.  Because that's what the election is all about.  Those 100,000 people who voted for Ralph Nader in Florida in 2000 may have felt good in the moment because they thought Gore was too compromised and felt that voting for him would make them seem wishy washy on their liberal ideals.  But I guarantee you that they felt terrible for the next eight years as Bush destroyed the country and undermined every ideal they believed in.    I was going to make some kind of argument here about making a choice between virtue signalling by voting for a third party candidate who might more align with your views, or actually trying to effect change by voting for the candidate closest to your views who can actually win.  But voting third party isn't even effective in terms of virtue signalling.  It's not like the people who voted for Nader in 2000, or Jill Stein in 2016, did anything to boost the virtues which those candidates represented.  In fact, by aiding the opposing side, they helped obscure those virtues.  And, in 2020, if you're a leftist, the best way to send a moral message is not to cast a pointless vote for some candidate who can't win, but to join with others to send Trump packing by as large a margin as possible so we can refute him and everything that he stands for. 

  • 1 month ago

    Time to face reality-- It's a *two horse race.* Casting a vote for any other candidate IS a wasted vote, because no one else has even a glimmer of a chance. So you'd only be throwing your vote away as pointless, futile protest.

    I've been where you are... I was foolish enough to vote 3rd party decades ago, bcuz I couldn't stomach either of the front runners. But in taking the "moral high ground," all I succeeded in doing was to help perpetuate the corruption & incompetence I'd opposed all along. And I've regretted that decision for 30+ years.

  • John W
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Any vote not for Biden is a vote for Trump.

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