Voting for a Third Party Candidate Is NOT Wasting Our Vote

George Washington's picture

Preface:  Many Americans are waking up to the fact that the Republican and Democratic candidates are incredibly similar. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this

Many people are starting to realize that Obama and Romney are virtually indistinguishable on war, jobs, freedoms and favoring fatcats instead of the little guy.

Many of us want a third party candidate to win … but are afraid of “wasting our vote”.

Leading conservatives and liberals say that we should vote for a third party candidate.

Judge Napolitano explained today why voting for a third party is not wasting one’s vote:

Can one morally vote for the lesser of two evils? In a word, no. A basic principle of Judeo-Christian teaching and of the natural law to which the country was married by the Declaration of Independence is that one may not knowingly do evil that good may come of it.




So, is a vote for [a third party] or no vote at all wasted? I reject the idea that a principled vote is wasted. Your vote is yours, and so long as your vote is consistent with your conscience, it is impossible to waste your vote.


On the other hand, even a small step toward the free market and away from …  central economic planning would be at least a small improvement for every American’s freedom. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

(Conservatives like Jon Huntsman, Sarah Palin have spoken favorably of third parties as well.)

Liberal news commentator Lawrence O’Donnell urges us to vote for a third party candidate:


The liberal former chief aide to progressive Congressman Alan Grayson – Matt Stoller – agrees.  After demonstrating how similar Obama and Romney are on most major issues, Stoller concludes:

I think it’s worth voting for a third party candidate, and I’ll explain why below.




There are only five or six states that matter in this election; in the other 44 or 45, your vote on the presidential level doesn’t matter. It is as decorative as a vote for an “American Idol contestant.” So, unless you are in one of the few swing states that matters, a vote for Obama is simply an unabashed endorsement of his policies. But if you are in a swing state, then the question is, what should you do?




The people themselves, what they believe and what they don’t, can constrain political leaders. And under Obama, because there is now no one making the anti-torture argument, Americans have become more tolerant of torture, drones, war and authoritarianism in general. The case against Obama is that the people themselves will be better citizens under a Romney administration, distrusting him and placing constraints on his behavior the way they won’t on Obama. As a candidate, Obama promised a whole slew of civil liberties protections, lying the whole time. Obama has successfully organized the left part of the Democratic Party into a force that had rhetorically opposed war and civil liberties violations, but now cheerleads a weakened America …. We must fight this thuggish political culture Bush popularized, and Obama solidified in place.


But can a third-party candidate win? No. So what is the point of voting at all, or voting for a third-party candidate? My answer is that this election is, first and foremost, practice for crisis momentsElections are just one small part of how social justice change can happen. The best moment for change is actually a crisis, where there is actually policy leverage. … Saying no to evil in 2012 will help us understand who is willing to say no to evil when it really matters. And when you have power during a crisis, there’s no end to the amount of good you can do.


How do we drive large-scale change during moments of crisis? How do we use this election to do so? Well, voting third party or even just honestly portraying Obama’s policy architecture is a good way to identify to ourselves and each other who actually has the integrity to not cave to bullying…. We need to put ourselves into the position to be able to run the government.


After all, if a political revolution came tomorrow, could those who believe in social justice and climate change actually govern?




[If we had had more courage, we could have] reorganized our politics. Instead the oligarchs took control, because we weren’t willing to face them down when we needed to show courage. So now we have the worst of all worlds, an inevitably worse crisis and an even more authoritarian structure of governance.




The reason to advocate for a third-party candidate is to build the civic muscles willing to say no to the establishment in a crisis moment we all know is coming. Right now, the liberal establishment is teaching its people that letting malevolent political elites do what they want is not only the right path, it is the only path. Anything other than that is dubbed an affront to common decency. Just telling the truth is considered beyond rude.




We can do this. And the moments to let us make the changes we need are coming. There is endless good we can do, if enough of us are willing to show the courage that exists within every human being instead of the malevolence and desire for conformity that also exists within every heart.




Systems that can’t go on, don’t. The political elites, as much as they kick the can down the road, know this. The question we need to ask ourselves is, do we?

Why I’m Voting for Gary Johnson

One of the main reasons to vote for a third party candidate is that the broken two-party system will never change unless third parties get more backing.

If 5% of the American people vote for a third party candidate, that candidate will receive government matching funds, which will give them a better shot at competing.

Moreover, a showing of 5% or more would create buzz and start a self-fulfilling dynamic of lending credibility and a sense of possibility for a third party.

But do any third party candidates have a chance of getting 5% of the vote.

Yes … Gary Johnson.

Judge Napolitano endorses Gary Johnson.  Jesse Ventura endorsed Johnson.

Even Ron Paul hinted that he would vote for Johnson. And in 2010, Paul said that if he didn’t run in 2012, he would endorse Johnson.

A bunch of other people have endorsed Johnson as well.  And at least some newspapers – such as the Chattanooga Free Press – have endorsed Johnson.

In fact, polls show that Johnson might reach 5%.  A September CNN/ORC International poll showed that 3% of likely voters and 4% of registered voters say they’d vote for Johnson.   A Reason-Rupe poll the same month showed Johnson raking in 6% of likely voters.

Those polls were taken before Ron Paul convinced his supporters that he’s out of the race, and before he virtually endorsed Johnson.

Moreover – since the polls were taken -  Johnson has gotten on the ballot in 48 states … and won the right for write-in votes for Johnson to be counted in the remaining 2.

Ron Paul supporters can, of course, write in Paul on the ballot.  But a write-in vote for Paul will not be counted in most states.

And since he is not affiliated with any party at this point - and since even he will likely himself vote for Johnson - a vote for Paul will not help any third party.    No wonder many diehard Paul fans are announcing that they're going with Johnson.

As such, I’m voting for Gary Johnson.

Postscript:  Johnson is not perfect, but he is solid on issues of civil rights, liberty, peace and fiscal responsibility.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Jabotinsky_USA's picture

Voting for Gary Johnson is a total waste of a vote.  You won't get everything with Republicans but it's always an incremental change.  Ron Paul got a lot more accomplished when he stayed within the party vs. running as libertarian.

Marley's picture

I can't morally bring myself to vote for Obama.  Romney, well, would be even worse if not a sin.  Ron surrogates? None of those right of Romney.

What to do?

Grin Bagel's picture

Vote with your feet and take your brain with you. Get out while you can and still have something to take.

Jackagain's picture

I think that in a re-election you are obligated to vote out the incumbent...that really hurts their system, especially when you have someone in who will do as much damage as Obama will do with a 2nd term.


In a new election when both candidates are new, like the in the next presidential election, then I'll vote a 3rd party. Not this time though.

rwe2late's picture

There’s a lack of understanding by both Romney and Obama supporters, perhaps most especially by the Obamaphiles.

The US physical and social infrastructure is in dire need of repair and upgrade. From the bankrupt local governments to the antiquated above ground electric grid, from the anemic transportation systems to the dysfunctional sewage treatment, from the debilitating products of factory foods to the destructive urban sprawl developments.

But domestic policies and foreign policies are inseparable.

The militarist globalism has distorted and misdirected not just the US, but the world, militarily, socially, politically, environmentally, and morally.

The “war on drugs” and the US maintenance of the world’s biggest prison system is connected to alliances with drug lord allies, corrupt despots, money-laundering banksters, and criminal covert operations.

The total cost of storm Sandy’s damage and repair represents but a month’s worth of overseas military activity, or one of the smaller fraudulent “bailouts” handed to banksters.

The global Pentagon is world’s biggest institutional user of petroleum, and cause of all types of pollution and environmental destruction. Moreover, the Pentagon machine is a main driver to self-servingly “secure” resources for military “security” and gain “full-spectrum” world dominance.

The violations of international and Constitutional laws, and loss of personal liberties and rights goes hand in hand with the unending wars and jingoist militarism.

In short, the finances and the political will to properly address US and global problems are incompatible with the overseas militarism and the growing Homeland police state.

Any promises to bring about improvement which are made by those who support that racket will necessarily be impossible to fulfill. Such self-contradictory promises are deceitful.


War, environmental plunder, economic malaise, and human degradation are linked as one.

You cannot support advocates of the petrodollar and abuses abroad, and expect those leaders and advocates to support contradictory policies at home.

Both Obama and Romney support and promote that global financial/militarist racket.

The only way to clearly register voter opposition is to vote for either Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

Whoever promotes the global military/financial racket is ultimately and essentially opposed to a better world.



ejmoosa's picture

Not only did I vote for Johnson, I voted against every incumbent and refused to vote in races that were unapposed.



redeals's picture

I always pass on voting for unopposed  candidates unless they are doing a good job.

Hopefully (but doubtful) if a candidate  is running without opposition and sees 10,000 votes cast in their district and they only received 3,000 they might get a clue.

Wishful thinking I know, but............

FFox's picture

Normally I would agree with much of the point...

However, not this time.  Mainly because until there is a solid orgainzational effort to build a VIABLE third or fouth option, I'm going to vote again for Obama.

The main reasons:

Romney = Austerity for people

Another 2$Trillion in wasteful defense spending for the military industrial complex

Greece on steroids

A tanking of the US stock markets


Bush3 (as 27 of his top advisors are from the bush administration (two phony wars & massive debt on steroids baked in when obama came in) 

I'm hoping true patriots realize that Romney was/is the job outsource king who off-shored (facilitated) millions of lost jobs for American workers.

Plus... he's one of the biggest lying candidates to ever run for the office of President.

No thanks.... not this time.  Perhaps later when there is a viable 3rd-4th choice. 

zapdude's picture

You realize that you openly admitted you're voting for Obama on ZH?

Obama & Romney are essentially two sides of the same corrupted coin.  Break out of the false-choice paradigm that is forced upon you! 

I asked my kids this question the other day:  How many different cereals can you choose from in the grocery store?  Don't you think it's stupid or wrong that we only have TWO choices for a president?  Even children can see this system is jacked up.  Its all by design and ruthless deception.

So when the zombie apocolypse arrives and the drooling horde comes for you and me, perhaps then your eyes will be open, although it may be too late for you at that point.

I want to be part of the solution and will vote for Gary Johnson.  The fight for liberty starts with me!

redeals's picture

You could apply most of those points to Obama as well.

Burticus's picture

I will vote for Gary Johnson and all those in my large circle of influence will vote (or have already voted) for Gary Johnson too.

Anyone with a brain in their ukranium should accept that any vote for the Obamney sock puppets is a wasted, sucker's vote!

Of course, as long as the ruling ElephantJackass party "counts" votes in secret by computer, those who cast the votes decide nothing and those who count the votes decide everything.  Of course, the ruling party and their cheerleading parrots in the gubmint-media complex avoid this issue completely, since "omission" is the most effective form of propaganda, more effective than even lies or distortions.

I'm Sen. Burticus and I approve of this message.

Downtoolong's picture

I actually think a multi-party system would reduce gridlock in Congress and national level politics. It wouldn’t always be so clear and easy to draw a single line on every issue. That would actually force people and politicians (OK some of them are probably people too) to think about the issue, and put it above the party. The sooner we get party politics out of politics, the better off we will all be.

Uncle Remus's picture

OK does not have a 3rd party candidate for POTUS on the sample ballot I printed a couple of days ago. So, not voting in that. There are some county and state issues/referendums including a tax hike I'll weigh in on and a whole slew of judges to un-retain. My US Rep district is on the block this year and there is a 3rd party candidate.

redeals's picture

Read the article. Your vote for Johnson will count as a write in.

Uncle Remus's picture

Unlikely in OK. That Johnson is not now on the ballot in OK is a tawdry tale of corrupt politics in fly-over. In my view, the net result is the same whether I decline to tick either "approved" candidate or scrawl in "Nobody" - neither of the two gets my vote. It is unlikely that anyone in election officialdom will read my ballot or give a shit if they do.

Cheyenne's picture

The media portrays the election like it's a horse race, with prizes for picking "the winner." It's a doubly toxic load of horseshit because it means not only voting against your conscience but also for the system that produces weak-minded bankster tools like Obamney in the first place.

And yet just like McDonald's, people eat that shit up.

Super B's picture

So when Obama wins, you can proudly say you voted for Gary Johnson.

rwe2late's picture

Super B

"So when Obama wins, you can proudly say you voted for Gary Johnson" [or Jill Stein].

Better than having to say you voted for Obama [or Romney] - with "pride" or not.

redeals's picture

In reality, even if Johnson gets 5% of the vote, it won't change the choice of president because of the electoral college.

But it will send a message.

redeals's picture

Yes I can and I will.

willwork4food's picture


To blame my vote for GJ if Obama wins is tantamount to blaming me for the dog I own that rips your nuts off when you break in my house uninvited looking for food.


trentusa's picture

i'm unsure that the right thing to do when people ask, 'Who are you voting for?', isn't to verbalize the actual problem that choice & free will in america is largely an illusion, the candidates are puppets, & no matter for whom you vote nothing will change. The problem needs to be realized, verbalized, & articulated before a solution can be found.  

Hacking Democracy
DOT's picture

Occasionally I see that 5% number tossed around as though just getting there will promote the Libertarian ethos. I think this is truly foolish. What Libertarian or equally strident voice for less government would take the "public funding".

beercandad's picture

johnson's "platform" doesn't have a solution either ...Waste your vote

willwork4food's picture

Who needs a stinkin' platform when you can say one thing to get elected and do the exact opposite when you win? The morons do it all the time. It's called lying.

Go grab another six-pack, Oprah's on.

moneybots's picture

The wasted vote is Romney or Obama.  Nothing changes.

mayhem_korner's picture



You can always vote with your feet and get out of the country.

Vooter's picture

Or I can just stay here in the land I was born in (through no choice of my own), not vote for any of these pigs, and say FUCK YOU, AMERICA! And in fact, that's EXACTLY what I'm going to do...

malikai's picture

That's what I did. Sadly, even this option doesn't change much because you're still a tax slave no matter where you live.

redeals's picture

Go for dual citizenship and then turn in your US passport.

mayhem_korner's picture



The problem isn't that people vote or don't's that their decision is uninformed or misinformed, or that they just don't get reality.  An informed vote is anything but a wasted one.

trentusa's picture

fine fine fine whatever... i wasn't going to vote b/c i don't think my vote matters but hell if GW (& Judge Neopolitano) says that writing in a 3rd candidate isn't a waste of my time... what the hell might as well go down the street to vote- & write in my guy Ron Paul (or Gary Johnson)

JP McManus's picture

You can vote for any candidate you like (or not vote at all), but I assure you, the Electoral College will cast your vote for either Obama or Romney.


So no, you're not voting for Johnson or Paul or Gandhi or Santa Claus.  You're voting for Obama or Romney.

redeals's picture

While that may be true, I really don't think that anyone believes that Johnson will win, remember that busting the two party system has to start somewhere.

A drop of water combines to form a river that combines to form an ocean.

And, sadly, this election is not about saving America because the idea that was America is dead within the borders of the US but it is alive and will find a home somewhere.

JP McManus's picture

Busting the two party system  (arguably a 1 party system with 2 flavors) must first start at the local level, then move to the state, and finally, the federal level.  


kaiserhoff's picture

The last successful new party in the States was..., the Republicans in the 1850s, and then only because the Whigs collapsed.

What works is achieving real power within one of the parties.  Look at the power the dykes have in the dim party with what , 1% of the population? 

Democracy will work just fine when voting rights are restricted to those who work for a living in the productive sector.  On the other hand, some are just looking for an excuse to hide under the covers in Mom's basement.

kaiserhoff's picture

At least you are consistent George.  Always a shill for the fat fuck kleptocrats.

When will you take on that conspiracy?

Hypocrisy, thy name is GEORGE.

poldark's picture

Ron Paul for president.

Dexter Morgan's picture

I will vote for Johnson.  I will never again vote for ANY Republican or Democrat.  Fuck 'em all!

Tortuga's picture

Well, looks like the tin-foil hat wearing cool aid drinking soros funded trolls rule @ GW's articles. Just reading the title I knew where you people would be. Only thing missing is the Joooooooooooooooooooooooooooooos are for O and R.

q99x2's picture

I'm voting for Gary Johnson too. Let those other guys find some other country for the UN to rule.

redeals's picture

I voted for Gary Johnson.

And contrary to some opinions, I did not waste my vote. The people who waste their votes are the ones who don't vote.

BeetleBailey's picture



I did not vote, and am not.

Now I can complain at will. Johnson won't "win" - nor will the American people - whomever they choose; OCuntus or Rombo.

Until I see these choices on the ballot, I'll stay away, prepare in all ways to defend myself, and sustain my life;









Mysteerious Rooshian Vooman's picture




Fail. If they spend more than they have taken in, they will simply raise taxes to be in compliance with a balanced budget amendment.


Fail. This will simply increase the speed with which one set of fools and poltroons is replaced by another set of fools and poltroons. Until universal suffrage is abandoned, we shall have the government we deserve. Some people should simply not have the right to vote. THAT is the root of the problem. Term limits with universal suffrage is totally pointless.




BeetleBailey's picture

Here's one little item I left off...


Thus, Congress cannot raise taxes - period.

As far as term limits, I stand by my statement. To have the same motherfuckers in office for decades is asinine.


aka Gil's picture

I respect your decision not to vote. I'm still not sure who has it right, those who vote or those who don't. But meanwhile I continue to vote (always for one of the "others") and, like you, prepare in all ways to defend myself and sustain my life.

northerngirl's picture

Can't we all just get along?