Third Party Voters Could Decide Next President

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Recent polls show Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump still within a few points of each other in Ohio.  Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein could attract a combined 7%  -  more than enough to tip the election in the Buckeye state.  And that could decide the overall election.  Ideastream’s Mark Urycki  reports on the “third party vote.”

The Green Party candidate for the US Senate in Ohio is Joe Demare, a machinist from Bowling Green.   He calls labor’s connection to the Democratic Party an “abusive relationship” and says it’s time to go elsewhere. 

“The 2-party system is broken and it no longer works.  It no longer serves the vast majority of the people”

In a year when old line Republicans reject Trump for his opposition to free trade and young Bernie Sanders supporters turn against Clinton, there are voters to be had.   Libertarian volunteer Daryll Krivanos of Parma believes there are enough to win.

“60% of the people don’t like their own candidate. OK?   You take some of those percentages from each side and shift them to somebody they would like and it’s pretty simple math.”  

But last month even Jill Stein wasn’t promising her Cuyahoga Falls audience a victory.

“However far we get is a victory in order to eventually win the White House. And I wouldn’t rule it out by any means.   There are stranger things that have already happened in this race.” 

But winning isn’t everything for third party voters.  Gwen West of Barberton is dedicated to Jill Stein.   

“I really hope she wins. I think she can win.  But for me it’s just about voting for who I have to vote for so that I can sleep at night.”  

Stein supporter Charles Wright of Akron doesn't see much difference between the two leading candidates.

“I think people will suffer because of Hillary’s politics and people will suffer because of Donald Trump.  I mean we have no choice really except going for a third party.”

Kent resident William Tarver was a fan of Sanders, likes some stances of Donald Trump, but will vote for Stein.

“Go to an alternate party just so the top two parties can learn a lesson, if anything.” 

Playing spoiler is not a concern for voters like Julius Johnson of Canton.

“I can’t look at that this year. I have to go, vote for my conscience.  I can’t pick either candidate.  I have to go for the candidate I feel comfortable with.  I can’t look at that.”

Even if it helps [another candidate], someone you don’t like?

“I don’t like either one, so.”   

Spoilers have had an effect on elections before.   Ross Perot may have cost George HW Bush his re-election and in 2000, and if not for Ralph Nader’s 97,000 votes in Florida or his 21,000 votes in New Hampshire, Al Gore might have been president.

Still, Libertarian Daryll Krivanos can’t see voting for Trump or Clinton.

“I probably wouldn’t vote.”

Are you afraid if you vote for Johnson you’re helping one of those people get elected?    

“Not at all.   Not in the least.”

Peggy Kacerek of Bedford will not vote for anyone outside the Green Party.

“No, I don’t believe in that.  I don’t believe in lesser-evil voting."

But isn’t that how Ralph Nader voters in Florida ending up getting George W. Bush elected?

“That’s what the Democrats love to say.” 

The possibility of electing Trump does scare some third party voters like Stein supporter Caleb Chang of Cleveland.

“Uh yes, I am actually very afraid.”  

Thomas Reek of Akron won’t take that chance.   He says the Presidency is not a job for amateurs and he’ll vote for Clinton…

“There have been a few elections that have been determined by the toss of a coin.  I'd cast my vote for Jill Stein.”  

There is a way that a third party candidate could win without a majority of the votes.

If neither major party candidate wins 270 electoral votes, the House of Representatives will decide which of the top THREE vote-getters, becomes president.  

That’s what Libertarian Kevin Cline, a Kent State student, is banking on.  The next House is likely to remain dominated by Republicans and led by Paul Ryan.

“Based on his statements about Donald Trump and the way he’s keeping him at arm’s length with ‘yes I support you but I also kinda hate you’ I can see them choosing Gary Johnson as a former Republican governor, and he’s right in the middle, maybe a little bi-partisanship, and at the end of the day if he mucks up the whole thing they can say ‘he’s not our guy.’   So it could work out for everybody.”

To be considered by the House, a third party candidate would have to win at least one state and this week, Evan McMullin in Utah, appears to have the best chance.

In this week’s Washington Post ABC News poll shows Clinton leads Trump nationwide by one point.  But when third party candidates are included, Trump leads by one point.

 

 

Mark.Urycki@ideasream.org

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