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Can Voting Third Party Tank an Election?

We’ve all heard it: voting third party is a waste. The small percentage of Americans who voted for third party candidates could have led to four years of Donald Trump. It can lead to a potential win again. Anti-third party sentiment stems from an age-old argument that has repeated itself from the disputed election of 2000 and beyond.

Now, Bernie Sanders has suspended his campaign. Movement shifted to urge his supporters to vote for Biden in an effort to defeat Donald Trump: to vote blue no matter who. That movement especially targets those who might not agree with Biden’s history, policies, or demeanor. Given the reluctance of voters to support either candidate, a new option might arise: the elusive third party.

Bernie supporters are unironically turning to candidates like libertarian Vermin Love Supreme: a candidate who wears a boot on his head and is a staunch proponent of a pony-based economy, funding time travel, and mandating toothbrushing across the US.

This isn’t a new trend. Let’s not forget that 2016 candidates were so vastly unpopular that tens of thousands of people wrote Harambe in as a resistance to feeling forced to choose between two evils in 2016. It is clear how little enthusiasm our presidential candidates are bringing to the nation. Is it truly democratic that we feel like our only moral vote must be cast for a martyred gorilla?

While possibly unfortunate, it does not seem that Vermin Supreme (by the way, that is his legal name) will gain enough traction to become the presidential nominee. But his candidacy and his thousands of pledged supporters do provoke some thought. Is a vote for ponies for all truly wasted? Or are the American people simply voicing the mediocrity of mainstream political parties?

It’s no secret that our two-party system has a large hand in selecting and limiting who might become a presidential nominee in the future. Is rejecting that structure a waste and a vote for the incumbent? Or is rejection a colorful protest of the status quo?

  • Who would you vote for if we had a presidential election today?

    • Trump
    • Biden
    • Write in Bernie
    • Vermin Supreme
    • Harambe

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Written by Marina Martinez

Arizonan student at the University of Edinburgh, dog lover, desert rat, meme aficionado and coffee enthusiast.

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