Voting for a Third Party Candidate Is NOT a Wasted Vote

Liberals and Conservatives Agree: Vote Third Party

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

Many people are starting to realize that Obama and Romney are virtually indistinguishable on war, jobs, freedoms 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 Huntsman, Sarah 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.

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  • mock turtle

    voting for a third party candidate has a high potential of causing no candidate to get 270 votes and thus according to the Constitution, failure of any candidate to get a majority in the electoral college, sends the election to the republican controlled house of representatives

    any voter who votes for a green party candidate or a more liberal candidate because they see obama as too moderate…well…this is what you will get

  • PrissyPatriot®

    I can’t afford to vote for a third party presidential candidate and allow Romney to take Ohio. There actually IS a difference between the two candidates. One isn’t a scorched Earth policy businessman, for instance. If third party candidates really want to make a difference, they need to run where they can win-school boards, city councils, Ward chairs, etc. and then move up. Their top down strategy will not work in this nation-maybe if we are around for another hundred years-but it won’t work now.

    • obama is definately a wallstreet banker fraud and a second term means he is free to persue their interest. and social programs are what he said he wants to attack. good luck I’m voting jill stein.

  • oooorgle

    Voting; theft by proxy…

  • JohnH

    Not voting registers apathy. Voting third party registers discontent.

    Voting for Robomney is a waste, because in most states the outcome is already decided.

  • Rich H

    Unfortunately there is one main difference, why would you vote for someone who’s made his legal money (let’s not talk about the rest) by laying off american workers? It doesn’t make any sense, and I’d put forth anyone who willingly closes american factories which were already profitable in order to make more of a profit overseas should be dissallowed from running for office.
    But, we are where we are, and in the long run both parties have signed free trade deals which have pretty much destroyed the middle class.
    I’m torn about voting third party. I hate having to waste my vote just to keep someone else out. Bottom line is we’ll still be weighed down by the absolute deadweight of brain dead politicians in both the House and the Senate. Their combined good will and morals might not fill a thimble.
    Perhaps third party is the way to go.

  • Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit

    I wrote about this exact thing yesterday! Similar to what you said, if you live in CA or OR or WA and plan to vote Romney, it’s as much of a “wasted vote” as voting for Johnson or Stein. They’re all firmly Obama. If you live in MT, AL, or TX and plan to vote for Obama, it’s as much of a “wasted vote” as voting for Johnson or Stein. In fact, I’d say that voting for the major party representative that can’t win 44 or 45 of the states is more of a waste than being one of us that wants to actually try to fix things by getting a legitimate third party into the system.

    So yeah, I’m a 5%er…are you?

  • gozounlimited

    Voting for nobody …. WHY?! Not voting for my own death or yours ….. or wasting my time in the future leaving comments here…..

    • gozounlimited

      What was censored here, everywhere ……

      Hurricane Sandy Geoengineered?…..

      • gozounlimited

        If you haven’t figured it out by now …. your corporate candidates are geoengineering another storm for New York….. Bains Weather Channel and (rouge) corporate/gov agencies are puttin the hurt on about 1/3 of the countries population….. and your worried about which one of the mouseoles your going to vote for? Obama is either real stupid or he is central to the activity….obvious? Can we agree on that? Get educated before you vote!

        Hurricane Sandy Under Aerosol Geoengineering by DHS to Modify Intensity and Land-fall?

        The confirmed aerosol geoengineering, deliberate manipulation
        and potential intensification of Hurricane Sandy under the DHS H.A.M.P.
        operation, could be prosecuted as criminal act when the consequence
        cannot be distinguished from a Weapon of Mass Destruction to be
        inflicted on the lives and property of citizens of the United Sates by
        DHS’s deliberate and covert experimental modification.

        see here:
        Meteorologist around the country are gathering and presenting evidence
        that hurricane Sandy was an orchestrated event by the US government. In
        the first video meteorologist show and explain how hurricane Sandy is
        manipulated from its conception.

        see here:

  • Rehmat

    Voting for the third party will reduce the margin between the two major party candidates but due to loophole, it will not stop winning one of them even if he receives only 20% votes. In Iran, the minimum is 50% of the total votes cast for a candidate’s victory otherwise the top two candidates for the second round of voting. Frankly, Rocky Anderson, the former Mayor of Salt Lake City is the only candidate worth voting for.

  • urevil

    I dunno, a million and a half Iraqis might disagree (I mean if they weren’t dead). Nader 2000 was the keystone that enabled the subsequent destruction of the America we grew up with.

    9/11 couldn’t have happened with a Gore presidency. The criminals needed to control all presidential appointments.

    Washington’s Blog = Pentagon psy-oppers, telling truth for 99 days, lying on the 100th. Paid to lose losers. You also extolled fighting even if we, progressives, lose. With friends like you . . .

  • Nikhil Gupta

    Ummm…just looking at Johnson’s positions on gun control and Medicaid tell me that he’s a bit of a loon. Sorry.

    • Seth Thompson

      He’s not a loon. He’s the only one that actually believes in the Constitution.

  • City Slicker

    Virgil Goode/ Jim Clymer President/ Vice President of the Constitution Party. Principles not Politics

  • goingnowherefast

    I’m wondering what liberal establishment you’re talking about. As far as I can tell, after the DLC took over the Democratic party, the liberal (labor) wing of the party was disenfranchised and still has no representation in Washington.

    Both parties cater to corporate interests. And you think Gary Johnson will fix this? LOL!

    I’m voting for Jill Stein. She’s the best qualified candidate to lead us out of this plutocrat designed disaster. Of course, if she were to win, the bankster criminals would JFK her before she had a chance to put us on the path to democratic recovery.

    We are under occupation by psychopaths.

    • me too, frankly rocky is better than gary.. Gary Johnson sounds just like a puppet too.

  • i’m voting third party but i must admit if you look at how wilson won over taft it was because the bankers then brought in Theodore Roosevelt and split the vote. My mom is afraid Romney might win this way but I have to vote my conscience and i refuse to vote for a baby killing drone president.

    • John

      If Romney wins because of third party votes, then you WILL have voted for Romney. Deal with it.

  • Gary Johnson is now in for 2016. It will be interesting to see what happens. I, too, feel that there is no real difference between the two main parties. Neither are committed to balancing the budget or controlling spending, which is a huge issue looming over the US. Voting 3rd party will either make the main parties nominate better candidates or allow 3rd parties to attract viable candidates. This won’t happen though, until the public proves that we are willing to say “No More” to the Republicans and Democrats.

    There is a huge void in US politics right now for socially liberal, fiscally conservative policies. If candidates can articulate these values in a way that makes sense and they can get the media coverage to broadcast it, I think they have a real chance to change the opinion of many voters. It may not happen in one election cycle, but it can happen over time.