Vote for 3rd party candidates - it can make a difference

Why Should I Vote for 3rd Party Candidates?

If you are dissatisfied with the current candidates that the main parties have to offer, we challenge you to consider a vote for 3rd party candidates.  We all know that the Republicans and Democrats are the major political parties at this time.  It feels like smaller parties, such as the Libertarians, Green Party, Constitution Party, etc don’t have a chance to make an impact.  Many people simply choose to vote for the lesser of two evils or not vote at all.  (Make sure to check out those links to find out why those aren’t the best options.)  If the Republican and Democratic parties have most of the power these days, why should someone think about voting for something else?  Would that be a wasted vote and wasted time to go to the polls?

This is such a negative outlook on the situation.  If your candidate doesn’t win, it doesn’t mean that you had no impact on things or that it was a waste.  When we talk to people, we hear so many people that would vote for 3rd party candidates if they felt that the person had a chance to win.  What if they didn’t have to win, though?  Did you know that just getting 5% of the popular vote can make a huge difference in future US politics?  Think about that for a minute.  If you talk to 20 people, if just 1 of them actually voted for the particular 3rd party candidate, the party would hit the magic 5%.  So they hit 5%, great…what does that mean exactly?

Public Funding of Elections

The government provides funds to political parties running presidential campaigns through the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF).  There are different amounts of funding available to major parties (parties that get over 25% of the popular vote) and minor parties (parties that get more than 5% but less than 25% of the popular vote.)  Did you catch that?  Minor parties that receive at least 5% of the popular vote are able to get public funding towards their campaign.  This means millions of dollars would be available to the party to ensure that they were on the ballot in every state, could advertise, and run more effective campaigns.  This would help a tremendous amount in the next election.  How many of those 20 people from above do you think would vote for the 3rd party candidate if they were suddenly seeing commercials, yard signs, mailers, etc or if they were able to appear on more media programs with these extra funds?  The extra visibility automatically makes the candidate seem more viable.  If you want to read more about the PECF, visit the Federal Election Commission site.

So we’ve covered how a vote for 3rd party candidates can lead to increased funding, visibility, and long term gains in future elections.  What else will voting for independent or 3rd party candidates do?

Better Candidates

By voting for third party candidates, we will receive better candidates in the future.  This will happen two ways.  First, if the third party has more funds and people have proven they will vote for minor candidates, a more viable, or big name, candidate may choose to run as a 3rd party.  For instance, if the Libertarians had matching funds and had proven that at least 5% would vote for them, maybe Ron Paul would have run as a Libertarian.  I think many politicians do not fit exactly in the boxes or “under the tent” of the Democrats or Republicans, but now they have to appear to fit in these major parties to have a chance at having their voice heard.  Second, and this is just as important, the Republicans and Democrats will have to nominate candidates that are more widely popular.  If these parties start to lose their power to a 3rd party, they will make every effort to win back those voters to maintain their spot in the political system.  To do this, they will not be able to nominate candidates that are so partisan and divisive.

We’ve covered some good reasons why you should consider a vote for 3rd party candidates if you are upset with our current political system.  We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section or over in the forums!  If you’d like to help us out, check out our About page for the top 3 ways to help Independent Florida!

Comments (2)

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