Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, is polling higher than ever this year. According to the most recent IBD/TIPP Presidential Election Tracking Poll, Johnson has 6.3% of the vote, including 13% of independents. He’s also getting 4.7% in the RCP average. Now, those numbers aren’t strong enough to win the election this year, but they are strong enough to send a message to Washington.
Likewise, Evan McMullin is doing extremely well in Utah, and not too bad in other parts of the country. It’s conceivable he could pull more than 5% of the vote his way. Make no mistake, for a conservative running as an independent, McMullin’s success is a big deal. An independent win in Utah would be an unprecedented accomplishment and could significantly alter the national political discussion. It’s hard to imagine a more effective rebuke of our two-party system than McMullin doing well enough to keep Trump and Hillary from reaching 270 Electoral College votes.
For voters unhappy with the establishment, McMullin is an easy — effective — choice.
Even Jill Stein is doing better than expected. She has 3% of the vote, which is a pretty big deal for such a fringe candidate. Usually candidates closer to the political center do better among independent voters, but Stein is farther to the left than either Hillary or Bernie.
Why does any of this matter? Why the focus on 5% when it takes a much larger percentage of the vote to actually win the election? The answer is simple: Money.
The 5% threshold is important because it’s the measure used to determine if a party qualifies for public matching funds in 2020. This extra funding would help get more candidates and their platforms in front of voters during the next election cycle. It would be the catalyst that finally breaks down the barriers of our supposed two-party system and allows other parties to compete on more equal footing.
Just imagine seeing the major parties having to actually compete. Think about how wonderful it would be to wrest control of the political narrative away from the establishment! Envision what it would be like to be able to vote your conscience without fearing you’re wasting your vote.
There are lots of reasons to vote third party in this election, but few are as significant as bringing balance and competition to future elections.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and vote!