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When Third Parties Become First Choice

One day I was asked that if it came down to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who would I vote for President?   My answer was Justin Trudeau because I would be living in Canada. (Rimshot!)  But seriously folks,  when you take a good look at what’s been happening at the national level and to a lesser degree, the state level, third party candidates are starting to look a lot better to a lot more people.

A recent Monmouth national poll had Libertarian Presidential candidate and former two-term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson at 11 percent in a three-way match up with Clinton and Trump.  Clinton was at 42 percent, Trump came in at 34 percent.   And before you accuse Johnson of “stealing” votes from Republicans thus helping elect a Democrat, the data showed he pulled about equally from both candidates.  Actually he pulled slightly more from Clinton than Trump.   And the main reason for his support, you guessed it, people are really tired of two-party system and the current crop of candidates.

Here locally, while the Republican and Democratic candidates have pretty much settled on their gubernatorial candidates, Libertarians actually have a contest between longtime party activist and construction company owner Rex Bell of Wayne County and Fishers businessman Jim Wallace, who sought the GOP nomination in 2012.   I sat down with both of them and moderated a debate and they’ve both encountered a lot more support for a third party candidate than in previous years.  And even on my own website, Indy Politics, I am running an informal poll and so far nearly 60 percent of the  close to 1,000 respondents so far say they would be willing to support a third party candidate.

Why are so many people taking a new interest in third parties?  It’s easy, they are tired of the current two-party system; the bickering, the ineffectiveness, the gamesmanship that doesn’t lead to anything, the inside baseball, you name it.   Normally third parties only get nominal attention, unless there is something really big going on, like a Ross Perot in 1992.  This year is different.  Will they win, probably not.  But will their presence be felt, definitely.

  • malercous

    H. Ross Perot won 21% of the popular vote & zero electoral votes. Our system doesn’t allow for 3rd parties, they never last. 3rd party votes are pretty much “protest” votes. Hillary has this election sewn up anyway.

  • RAM500

    They want to lose in style.