Reality Check: Why Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are not 'Wasted Votes'

Author: Ben Swann
Created: 11 August, 2016
Updated: 17 October, 2022
2 min read

In what has been an election year unlike any other, things could become even more unusual. As we head toward the presidential debates, is it possible that we will see 3 candidates on the stage, not only 2? Let’s give it a reality check.

While most media wants to talk about the increasing lead of Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, they are missing a major part of the story. This is not a two party race, and for the first time since Ross Perot in 1992, we could actually see 3 presidential candidates on the debate stage: a Republican, a Democrat, and a Libertarian, as that nominee, Gary Johnson, is surging.

Johnson: If you’re honest and tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything. So that’s who I am.

So what are the chances that Gary Johnson will make the debate state? It’s still a long shot, but according to the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is run by officials from the Republican and Democratic parties, in order to qualify to be on the debate stage, a presidential candidate must poll at 15% in at least 5 national polls.

Johnson is getting pretty close. He is polling as high as 13% in national polls, and his numbers in the midwest swing states are even higher. Johnson is now polling at 15% in midwest states. Here in Georgia, he’s polling at 12%.

READ MORE: Johnson and Weld Offer Voters Humility on CNN Town Hall

Johnson: The biggest message today is really, consider us, as a very, very viable alternative to this two-party system that has become so polarized that they’re not able to do anything.

So the big question, which candidate does that benefit? Well, actually Johnson pulls from the Never Trump and Never Hillary groups. Right now, Gary Johnson, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, they are pulling about 21% of the vote from voters younger than 45. But Johnson and Stein actually pull more from Clinton, creating a tighter race. The majority of pollsters have Clinton’s margin over Trump actually shrinking when at least one third party candidate is included.

So what you need to know is that the minute a third party option is mentioned in this election, partisan thinkers will always say, well why would you want to waste your vote? That’s a very good question. Right now, nearly 50% of all American voters are not registered as Republicans or Democrats. And this year, Clinton and Trump are the two most unpopular presidential candidates in modern history.

So the question is, if you don’t like those candidates, if you don’t believe in them, if you think that they would be bad for the country, then why pick the lesser of two evils? Why waste your vote? Doesn’t it make more sense to vote for a candidate that you actually believe in, rather than simply the candidate you think might win?

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