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Third parties sway legislation, not elections in US

Howie Harkins (left) is the Green Party candidate, and Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party candidate

By Myles Hoenig

Third party inclusion in presidential elections is insignificant, except when one party loses and needs a scapegoat, as the Democrats always blame the Green Party for their own losses and failures. In modern times, Ross Perot ran as an Independent and garnered nearly 20 million votes, about 20% of the total, but zero electoral votes, where it matters. His policies were far more aligned with the Republicans, so it’s reasonable to argue that if he weren’t in the race then George H W Bush might have prevailed. That was the last time that a third party might have had an electoral influence.

Without beating a dead horse, Ralph Nader and the Green Party did not give George W. Bush the win over Al Gore. One can use all the numbers one wants but two major points are missing in the narrative of the ‘spoiler candidate’. One, the Democrats and liberals in particular never refer to the millions of Democratic voters who voted for Bush, and two, no party owns a person’s vote.

People may vote for a third party who might otherwise have voted for the mainstream one if it weren’t in the race, but the vast majority of voters, and Greens in particular, have very little in common with so many of the past Democratic candidates and their positions. People actually vote their conscience, values and interests. If one of the two main parties cannot convince someone to vote for them, it is only them to blame.

The same can be said for 2016 when the Green Party ran Jill Stein. Only looking at her numbers one would try to make the claim in some swing states that if her voters only voted for Hillary Clinton instead, then Clinton would have won those states. But considering how despised both Clinton and Trump were by the larger population, blaming third party for their disaster shows how immature, irresponsible, and clueless the Democrats are.

Trump tapped into something the Democrats had no clue about. The disgust of Washington and Clinton herself should have been a boon to the Green Party, but Trump had everything going for him a winning campaign needed: exposure, money, and a dissatisfied electorate.

What third parties influence is usually policy. Socialists and Communists and other leftists have been responsible for pushing such legislation for the rights of workers, women, retirees, and all other marginalized populations. Of course the Democrats and the Republicans eventually water down such legislation and rights. One major example today is the Green New Deal, extremely watered down from how the Green Party perceived it and wrote ten years ago.

Finally, the mere presence of third party tickets at the presidential level is another mountain to climb. With voter suppression practiced by both parties, law suits to prevent new parties from being heard, onerous ballot access laws designed by the two parties, and of course limited money and virtually no media coverage guarantees a bloc to maintain a war mongering, Wall Street agenda, held together by the Democrats and Republicans.

*Myles Hoenig is a political analyst in Baltimore, Maryland. He ran for Congress in 2016 as a Green Party candidate. He recorded this article for Press TV website.

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