Every four years elections come down to two candidates from our majority parties, while third parties are left to alternative debates, a lack of media respect and a misunderstanding electorate. It’s unlikely that candidates who haven’t been nominated by either the Republican or Democratic party will be elected into public office. There have been exceptions, but Americans overall tend to vote for major-party candidates.
America’s lack of a strong third party, according to “Duverger’s law,” is due to our single-member plurality districts, which is said to favor a two-party system. This doesn’t stop third-party candidates from trying and sometimes even succeeding. Jesse Ventura, who ran as a Reform Party candidate in the late 1990s, defeated Republican Norm Coleman to become the governor of Minnesota.
President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney won’t be the only candidates appearing on the ballot for this year’s presidential election. Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party will appear on many state ballots throughout the nation Nov. 6, though not all.
Many consider voting for third-party candidates to be a waste of a vote, as the likelihood of them winning the election is extremely farfetched, if not mathematically impossible. While it is true that third-party candidates are unlikely to achieve victory at the polls today, seeing your vote for them as a “waste” is the wrong attitude. Voting for a candidate who you believe would be a better leader than either of the two major party candidates sends a message to politicians, party leaders and ballot-makers involved in the voting institution. Being informed and confident in your political opinion is an honorable experience far from the pejoration of wasting a vote.