Why I’m Not Voting Third Party for President

Here we are in 2020 with another set of sub-optimal choices between two candidates for president. I don’t think it’s quite as bad as 2016, but neither are exciting. You could not convince me to go out and proactively campaign for either one of these candidates. Sigh.

If you even kinda concur with my above assessment, voting third party might look attractive. The Libertarians in particular talk a good game. It seems in recent years, they’ve even gotten me to take a hard look at their candidates. But, I’m not voting for a third party candidate again. Likely ever. Here’s why.

How many seats does the Libertarian party hold in the national congress (house/senate), state congresses (houses/senates), or governorships? The answer is simple. According to Ballotpedia, in 2012 it was a whopping 30. Out of thousands of seats, they have 30. What about 2016? They list the candidates the Libertarian party ran in 2016, but as far as I know, none of them won.

This is like asking Madison Square Garden to schedule a gig for your band. There’s just one small problem. Your band isn’t Guns and Roses and can’t draw 20,000 people. Madison Square Garden is well aware that they could schedule your band, and it might be technically better than Guns and Roses, but they won’t. Because nobody gives shit about your band. So, if you want to change the world, you have to join Guns and Roses, write them letters, or gain as many followers as them. There’s no easy path. There’s no easy day except yesterday.

But, it gets worse.

In 2016, I wasted time listening to Gary Johnson until he said, “what is Aleppo?” with a stoned look in his eyes. I listened to Jo Jorgensen until she lost me by essentially saying 1. Libertarians wouldn’t have done Covid lock downs because people would have stayed home themselves and 2. Libertarians wouldn’t have destroyed the economy because they wouldn’t have had lock downs.

That’s fucking double speak. That’s the “what is Aleppo?” moment for me. If people stay home, because they are scared, or because of the lock-downs, the economy gets destroyed either way. Fear of the virus destroyed the economy. The lock downs were just our collective response to that fear.

I gave the band an audition for Madison Square Gardens but the guitar player was out of tune, the drummer couldn’t keep a beat, and the singer was screaming the ABCs in a death metal voice. For $5 bucks, I’d listen to them at my neighborhood dive bar. Not getting my presidential vote.

Sitting around, and playing Army does nobody any good. The Libertarian party is holding primaries, creating websites, and “counting ballots” (what ballots?) for what? We should be focused on fixing the Republican and Democratic parties or supporting a third party at the grass roots level until it wins enough seats to actually have a chance at winning the presidency. This is a place where the prime minister model works better because it doesn’t trick people into thinking there can be a third party president without all of the hard work. A third party president has never happened, and probably never will.

I made that mistake once. Once. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. We ended up with Bush, two wars and nearly a million dead brown people in the desert. Sadly, less dead brown people in the desert is a KPI for my presidential vote. Votes matter. I’m never making the third party mistake again.

I don’t love Joe Biden, but I don’t hate him either. He’s just meh. In fact he’s a hair less than meh, whatever that is. You’ll never convince me to campaign for Biden, but I’ll surely vote for him. Trump threatens to nuke people on Twitter and ponders out loud if we should inject people with disinfectant. To be fair, I think Trump has actually killed less people brown people in the desert (with drone strikes, troop surges, etc) than Hillary would have if she was elected in 2016. So, there is that.

So, for 2020, I’ll be spending my very valuable presidential vote on Biden thank you. And, good luck getting your band scheduled at Madison Square Garden or Red Rocks, or wherever else floats your boat.

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