I will be the first to admit, I never had much interest in third party candidates. As a former convicted felon, this is also the first time I will be voting in a presidential election. But amid the cries of “That’s one more wasted vote for Gary Johnson!” it is time to set the record straight on how voting actually works in our country.
It Is Not Always A Wasted Vote for Gary Johnson In The 2012 Election
Politicians divide populations into districts. All the votes within these districts add up to one vote for that district—the majority vote. All of these votes are then counted to see who wins that state’s electoral votes. Those electoral votes are determined by the size of the state both in geography and in population. These are called electoral votes. Whoever is able to get the most electoral votes wins the election. A perfect example is when George W. Bush lost the popular vote when he served his first term. It did not matter because he won the electoral votes. So is voting for a third party candidate like Gary Johnson a wasted vote?
Not necessarily. If you live in a swing state like Ohio, then yes, your vote for Romney counts and will decide if we live with Obama as president for four more years (yikes…). However, if you live in a decidedly democratic district, as I do, then voting for Romney is actually the wasted vote.
Obviously, no third-party candidate is going to win this election. However, if a third party candidate is able to get 5% of the vote, then that party is then entitled to government-matched campaign financing that the GOP and Democrats benefit from. Additionally, seeing that so many other Americans are disenchanted with the current two-party system lends the option of third party candidates more credibility and legitimacy, rather than being a so-called fringe movement.
In essence, it becomes one of the only true ways to break free from the current trends in politics.
Think of it this way: if you are the lone conservative in a district full of liberals, does it really matter if you vote for Romney? No. Especially if you do not particularly like Romney, the better option is to contribute to the third-party candidate of your choice to help create more options in future elections.
So why do people think voting for third party candidates like Gary Johnson means a wasted vote? Because most people are woefully ignorant of how our political system actually works, especially now that parties have evolved into teams. You are either for or against, in most people’s minds.
But that was not how our government was supposed to function. That change that Obama has been calling for all these years was never possible with him at the helm. If he wanted real change, he would have strayed from party lines. Of course, then he would never have won his party’s nomination.
Even people who are aware of how our voting system works forget how insignificant the popular vote is when it comes to who gets into the White House. I know it escaped me. I was ready to vote for Romney until I looked at Johnson’s policies and realized that they are far more in accordance to what I believe is the best path for our country.
It is also the path that is the polar opposite of Obama.
Again, though; make sure you live in a non-swing state before voting for a third party. We will end up with either Romney or Obama in the White House, and we cannot afford to have Obama there another minute, let alone another four more years.
Have you ever considered voting for a third party candidate? Do you still think voting for a third party is a wasted vote?