• Flux Magazine

"Biden? Trump? Here's Another Option" by Luke Gover

As the General Election approaches I find it unlikely that someone who does not

necessarily share the views of Donald Trump or Joe Biden is torn between voting for

those two candidates. It’s more likely they already lean in one direction, but they find their

party’s candidate insufferable to the point that they are torn between sticking with the

party or “wasting” their vote on a third-party option. If it sounds like I’m speaking from personal experience, it’s because I am. At this point, both candidates could save all the kittens stuck in all the trees and I’d still refuse to vote for either. My friends always follow up by asking “Well if it’s not Trump or Biden, who will you vote for?” Any other option seems better to me and here’s why.

Perhaps one might believe their vote truly matters if the country operated under a

popular vote system as opposed to the Electoral College. “California is too blue! My vote won’t affect” is simply too one dimensional of a thought. While the results of the Presidential

The election is based upon Electoral College results, understand that the country has policies that operate off of the popular vote as well. More specifically the FEC public funds policy might be convincing enough for one to vote for a 3rd party candidate. According to the FEC website, “Minor party candidates and new party candidates may become eligible for partial public funding of their general election campaigns. A minor party candidate is the nominee of a party whose candidate received between five and 25 percent of the total popular vote in the preceding presidential election. The amount of public funding to which a minor party candidate is entitled is based on the ratio of the party's popular vote in the preceding presidential election to the average popular vote of the two major-party candidates in that election. A new party candidate receives partial public funding after the election if he or she receives five percent or more of the vote. The entitlement is based on the ratio of the new party candidate's popular vote in the current election to the average popular vote of the two major-party candidates in the election”

I understand there is a capacious amount of information to take it with that dense paragraph, so I’ll reveal the key takeaways:

1. A new party candidate only needs 5% of the popular vote to receive partial public funding the next election.

2. The amount they get is based upon how much of the vote the third party candidate earns, vs the amount the major party candidates earn.

Regardless of whether the third party candidate wins within a state or not, understand that by voting for them it adds to their popular vote which can earn them more funding in the

next election. Then by not voting for a major party, this, in turn, lowers their popular vote and

boosts the ratio mentioned in the quote above.

Within the pool of third-party candidates, there are only two viable options, and

their political viewpoints can be split as left and right. These two parties would be the Green and the Libertarian Party, who are far left and far right respectively. I would recommend looking up their candidates on Ballotpedia before voting for them, although it is important to know with these options you are voting for the person, instead, you’re voting for the future of a party. Their odds of winning the Electoral College, let alone any of the states are statistically

irrelevant. A vote for one of these candidates is a vote against the two-party system, which has only provided great dissatisfaction for most Americans thus far.

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