We haven’t had a legitimate third party candidate in many, many years. Ross Perot was a quirky, eccentric billionaire who accomplished little more than getting Bill Clinton elected in 1992. Perhaps we should thank him for that, but third party candidates have usually failed to gain much traction in presidential elections, because that is how our political system was set up.
As Ilyssa Fuchs explained earlier this year, the 12th Amendment makes it nearly impossible for a third party candidate to win, even if they were do more than fail to break double digits in the polls like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein this time around.
Even Bernie Sanders, who is the longest-serving independent U.S. Senator, decided to run as a Democrat in 2016 because there isn’t any viable third party organization out there, and because he didn’t want to throw the election to a Republican candidate.
Currently, there are very few Libertarian lawmakers at the state level, and none at the federal level. As for the Green Party, they have zero state or federal office holders, and their party is almost non-existent in many states.
Then there is the fact that both Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are awful candidates. Libertarians would have been better off running Weld instead of Johnson, who failed to win a single electoral vote in 2012 and only brought in 0.99% of the popular vote. Jill Stein performed even worse, but her supporters still rage on my page on a regular basis about how she is sooooo qualified.
Jill Stein panders to anti-vaccine fanatics and pals around with Russian interests, and her running mate is an anti-Semitic nut who dabbles in 9/11 conspiracies. Gary Johnson admitted on television that he didn’t know what Aleppo is, which means he wouldn’t know what the significance of the city is in the Syrian civil war.
If Gary Johnson or Jill Stein were third party candidates running for city council or some other office that didn’t involve foreign affairs, science or economics, perhaps I would consider voting for them. And yes, I know Gary Johnson was a two-term governor of New Mexico, but he only accomplished that by running as a Republican.
Let me be very clear: I am not against the idea of third parties, at all. However, if they want us to take them seriously, starting at the state level and building from there would be a good start. Running candidates who understand science and foreign affairs rather than dabbling in conspiracy ideas is also necessary, especially if they want to become the leader of the free world.