Voting for a Third Party Candidate Is NOT a Wasted Vote

Preface:  Many Americans are waking up to the fact that the Republican and Democratic candidates are incredibly similar. See thisthisthisthis, thisthisthis

Many people are starting to realize that Obama and Romney are virtually indistinguishable on war,jobsfreedoms and favoring fatcats instead of the little guy.

Many of us want a third party candidate to win … but are afraid of “wasting our vote”.

Leading conservatives and liberals say that we should vote for a third party candidate.

Judge Napolitano explained today why voting for a third party is not wasting one’s vote:

Can one morally vote for the lesser of two evils? In a word, no. A basic principle of Judeo-Christian teaching and of the natural law to which the country was married by the Declaration of Independence is that one may not knowingly do evil that good may come of it.


So, is a vote for [a third party] or no vote at all wasted? I reject the idea that a principled vote is wasted. Your vote is yours, and so long as your vote is consistent with your conscience, it is impossible to waste your vote.

On the other hand, even a small step toward the free market and away from …  central economic planning would be at least a small improvement for every American’s freedom. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

(Conservatives like Jon HuntsmanSarah Palin have spoken favorably of third parties as well.)

Liberal news commentator Lawrence O’Donnell urges us to vote for a third party candidate:


The liberal former chief aide to progressive Congressman Alan Grayson – Matt Stoller – agrees.  After demonstrating how similar Obama and Romney are on most major issues, Stoller concludes:

I think it’s worth voting for a third party candidate, and I’ll explain why below.


There are only five or six states that matter in this election; in the other 44 or 45, your vote on the presidential level doesn’t matter. It is as decorative as a vote for an “American Idol contestant.” So, unless you are in one of the few swing states that matters, a vote for Obama is simply an unabashed endorsement of his policies. But if you are in a swing state, then the question is, what should you do?


The people themselves, what they believe and what they don’t, can constrain political leaders. And under Obama, because there is now no one making the anti-torture argument, Americans have become more tolerant of torture, drones, war and authoritarianism in general. The case against Obama is that the people themselves will be better citizens under a Romney administration, distrusting him and placing constraints on his behavior the way they won’t on Obama. As a candidate, Obama promised a whole slew of civil liberties protections, lying the whole time. Obama has successfully organized the left part of the Democratic Party into a force that had rhetorically opposed war and civil liberties violations, but now cheerleads a weakened America …. We must fight this thuggish political culture Bush popularized, and Obama solidified in place.

But can a third-party candidate win? No. So what is the point of voting at all, or voting for a third-party candidate? My answer is that this election is, first and foremost, practice for crisis momentsElections are just one small part of how social justice change can happen. The best moment for change is actually a crisis, where there is actually policy leverage. … Saying no to evil in 2012 will help us understand who is willing to say no to evil when it really matters. And when you have power during a crisis, there’s no end to the amount of good you can do.

How do we drive large-scale change during moments of crisis? How do we use this election to do so? Well, voting third party or even just honestly portraying Obama’s policy architecture is a good way to identify to ourselves and each other who actually has the integrity to not cave to bullying…. We need to put ourselves into the position to be able to run the government.

After all, if a political revolution came tomorrow, could those who believe in social justice and climate change actually govern?


[If we had had more courage, we could have] reorganized our politics. Instead the oligarchs took control, because we weren’t willing to face them down when we needed to show courage. So now we have the worst of all worlds, an inevitably worse crisis and an even more authoritarian structure of governance.


The reason to advocate for a third-party candidate is to build the civic muscles willing to say no to the establishment in a crisis moment we all know is coming. Right now, the liberal establishment is teaching its people that letting malevolent political elites do what they want is not only the right path, it is the only path. Anything other than that is dubbed an affront to common decency. Just telling the truth is considered beyond rude.


We can do this. And the moments to let us make the changes we need are coming. There is endless good we can do, if enough of us are willing to show the courage that exists within every human being instead of the malevolence and desire for conformity that also exists within every heart.


Systems that can’t go on, don’t. The political elites, as much as they kick the can down the road, know this. The question we need to ask ourselves is, do we?

Why I’m Voting for Gary Johnson

One of the main reasons to vote for a third party candidate is that the broken two-party system will never change unless third parties get more backing.

If 5% of the American people vote for a third party candidate, that candidate will receive government matching funds, which will give them a better shot at competing.

Moreover, a showing of 5% or more would create buzz and start a self-fulfilling dynamic of lending credibility and a sense of possibility for a third party.

But do any third party candidates have a chance of getting 5% of the vote?

Yes … Gary Johnson.

Judge Napolitano endorses Gary Johnson.  Jesse Ventura endorsed Johnson.

Even Ron Paul hinted that he would vote for Johnson. And in 2010, Paul said that if he didn’t run in 2012, he would endorse Johnson.

A bunch of other people have endorsed Johnson as well.  And at least some newspapers – such as the Chattanooga Free Press – have endorsed Johnson.

In fact, polls show that Johnson might reach 5%.  A September CNN/ORC International poll showed that 3% of likely voters and 4% of registered voters say they’d vote for Johnson.   A Reason-Rupe poll the same month showed Johnson raking in 6% of likely voters.

Those polls were taken before Ron Paul convinced his supporters that he’s out of the race, and before he virtually endorsed Johnson.

Moreover – since the polls were taken -  Johnson has gotten on the ballot in 48 states … and won the right for write-in votes for Johnson to be counted in the remaining 2.

Ron Paul supporters can, of course, write in Paul on the ballot.  But a write-in vote for Paul will not be counted in most states.

And since he is not affiliated with any party at this point – and since even he will likely himself vote for Johnson – a vote for Paul will not help any third party.    No wonder many diehard Paul fans are announcing that they’re going with Johnson.

As such, I’m voting for Gary Johnson.

Postscript:  Johnson is not perfect, but he is solid on issues of civil rights, liberty, peace and fiscal responsibility.

Category: Politics, Think Tank

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

8 Responses to “Liberals and Conservatives Agree: Vote Third Party”

  1. ItalicBold says:

    I have never understood this wasted vote concept. It is the ultimate insult to the many that gave blood for your freedom to vote, to vote for someone who doesn’t truly represent your interests and beliefs.

    Rather dont vote than give a mandate to something you dont believe in.

  2. ByteMe says:

    And under Obama, because there is now no one making the anti-torture argument,

    Umm… who have we been torturing anyone lately? Anyone? Could that be why we don’t need to make this argument now?

    Hey, people, just remember that there are a LOT of down-ballot candidates as well as state constitutional amendments. Educate yourself on them and go vote!

  3. denim says:

    “Judge Napolitano explained today why voting for a third party is not wasting one’s vote:
    Can one morally vote for the lesser of two evils? In a word, no. A basic principle of Judeo-Christian teaching and of the natural law to which the country was married by the Declaration of Independence is that one may not knowingly do evil that good may come of it.”

    This is a set up for a bait and switch. The bait is good sounding religion and a revered American document. The switch is that he will then preach the politics of merciless, heartless conservatism.

    So throw away your likely liberal vote so his minority party moves one vote closer to a win. For your edification, no bait, no switch:

    “Blessed is the man that trusts in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
    For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
    “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

  4. Moopheus says:

    I don’t think a third-party vote is in principle a wasted vote, but I also think that the third parties are wasting their time fielding candidates for president, which is a slightly different issue. A viable third party has to have a base, and a broad platform. In order for a third-party president to get anything done, there needs to be support in Congress, in the Senate, in state legislatures. Any party that wants to influence politics at the presidential level has to first build the support. Therefore I think it is more important to vote third-party or independent at that level.

  5. whskyjack says:

    For frustrated Republicans, independents and even Democrats in states that don’t matter, I thing a libertarian vote could have a real impact on the future of politics in the US. We need some way to tell the Asshats running the current parties that we are very unhappy with the current light weights they are putting up for us to choose from. Libertarians at this moment have the opportunity to break the 5% barrier. Getting on the federal funding list would get them attention and put a little fear into the current Republican party.
    This is not a partisan issue for me, I personally believe that if you give the Libertarians a national platform they will prove themselves to be the batshit crazies they have always been but I do believe it could be a wakeup call for the Republican party.

    BTW, if you want your voice to be listened to you need to vote, even if all you do is cast a spoiled ballot and choose none of the above. The political parties don’t know how you vote but they do know if you vote. They can easily pull up your name as they are talking to you and know if you are a person who votes and if they need to listen to you, So there is no such thing as a wasted vote.


  6. Greg0658 says:

    I’m with denim .. divide, bait, take the prize
    I like (G)Jill Stein (no relation) and I stated in site Free&Equal (did 3rd party debates*) that if we Americans got all the women we could possibly get to vote for her, with some of us Greens maybe there would be an anti 2 party momentum .. but there wasn’t enough press to bust that ceiling … its a 2 party dole system and its gotta break, rinse up, repeat to align heart & souls … money and its capture is the root of all evil (ok throw in ego too)

    its not “wasted vote” – its make the vote matter .. really matter .. whats an oval filled in with black pen? just that. baby steps are terrible when your not in the big club.

    * watched both debate nites – (L)Johnson is wrong on controlling the banksters and the FED – his ideas would lead to kaos – which would favor the establishment by vitue of captured powers as of this date in time

  7. Legatus says:

    This is a new blog post from yesterday about another member of the GOP leaving the party and voting for Gary Johnson in 2012 after years of buying into the “vote is wasted” and “lesser of two evils” arguments.

    A Lifelong Republican’s Path to the Libertarian Party

  8. Clif Brown says:

    I voted Green. What put me over the top was the outrageous arrangement between the GOP and the Dems to keep any third party candidate out of the debates. The debates are nothing but a showcase for the personas that the two parties want to sell to the public. The only interesting thing that happened was the re-configuration of the Obama persona when his handlers decided he was being too passive. It is by design all smooth production with the intent of keeping the candidates comfy, shielded and free to spout platitudes.

    Add in the fact that assassinations, which once brought on the Church Commission that investigated the out-of-control CIA, are now so acceptable that the President can boldly state that it’s just fine if he is the one who decides who to target. Congress is silent on it. And it’s ok for the military to arrest and detain Americans in America and for the National Security Agency, once specifically denied the ability to spy on Americans, now set free to do so. Romney and Obama are twins in support for all these things.

    There are many who are longing for a choice but the two major parties will do all they can to prevent that from happening.