Watch

Search form

Robert Reich: Should You Vote for a Third Party? (Video)

Robert Reich: Should You Vote for a Third Party? (Video)
Mon, 4/23/2018 - by Robert Reich
This article originally appeared on Inequality Media

A THIRD PARTY? HOW NOT TO SETTLE FOR THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS

Are you happy with the electoral choices provided you by the two major parties? If not, should you vote for a third party candidate?

Not so fast. Remember what happened in 2016, when Libertarian Gary Johnson got 3.2 percent of the popular vote and Green Party candidate Jill Stein got 1.06 percent. Enough votes that, had they gone to Hillary Clinton, she’d have won the Electoral College, and Donald Trump wouldn’t be in the White House.

Oh, and anyone remember what happened in 2000, when the votes that went to Ralph Nader all but sealed the fate of Al Gore, and gave us George W. Bush.

You see the problem? In a winner-take-all system like ours, votes for third party candidates siphon away votes from the major party candidate whose views are closest to that third-party candidate. So by not voting for the lesser of two evils, if that’s what you want to call them, you end up with the worse of two evils.

But here’s the good news. You’ve got at least 2 ways to avoid the lesser of two evils other than voting for a third party candidate. 

First, you could build support for your favorite primary candidate inside one of the major parties – like some of you did for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primaries.

But, you might say, look what happened to Bernie! The Democratic Party establishment rigged the game against him.

I don’t want to open up this particular can of worms, but if a party establishment has a chokehold on the primaries – the answer isn’t to go with a third party and end up with the worse of two evils, but to organize and mobilize inside the party to break that choke hold, as some would say the Tea Party has done in the GOP.

Never underestimate the power of grassroots activism focused like a laser on taking over a major political party that has ossified.

Another way to avoid the lesser of two evils: Get your state to institute ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting, which allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference.

The process is simple: In the first round, only voters’ first choices are counted. If a candidate gets a majority, that’s the end of it: That candidate wins. If no candidate gets a majority, the candidate who received the fewest votes is eliminated, and then the second choices of voters who preferred that candidate are counted.

If that gives a majority to one candidate, that candidate wins. If there’s still no one with a majority, the process continues,  until one candidate gets a majority.

Ranked-choice voting isn’t perfect, but it enables you to vote your conscience –even for a third-party candidate – without the worry that you’re giving ground to the candidate you like least.

The idea is gaining popularity. Last year, some form of ranked-choice voting was proposed in 19 states. In 2016, citizens in Maine initiated a referendum for ranked-choice voting and won. It’s already being used in statewide special elections in North Carolina, and in 10 major cities.

You don’t have to settle for the lesser of two evils. But in order to get the candidates you want elected you need to get involved, now. In the primaries. And in changing your state to ranked-choice voting. 

It’s our democracy. Whether it works, is up to us.

Originally published on Inequality Media and robertreich.org

 

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Warsaw, City is Ours, municipalist movements, Right to the City, Fearless cities, Warsaw smog, Warsaw housing crisis, Warsaw housing rights movement

The Right to the City is a core ingredient in the radical municipalist movement now spreading across cities worldwide, driven in Warsaw by local issues like air pollution and unaffordable rents.

occupy, creative activism, activism, act out, puerto rico, colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, hurricane season, aid work, earth defense coalition, strikes, UC system, worker strikes, union leadership, unemployment rates, employment statistics, economic

This week on Act Out! UC workers strike but find a foe where the friendlies should be – an unfortunately familiar story.

With March on Harrisburg, the "Blue Wave" Gathers Force in Pennsylvania

We aren’t meant to believe that what we do, or what we march for, or who we elect, on the local level, has any real larger-scale consequences. March on Harrisburg is attempting to change that.

public banks, public banking movement, Bank of North Dakota, Santa Fe public bank, Los Angeles public bank, divestment movement

After Santa Fe ceded ground as the first metropolis ready to lead us into an era of public banking, the City of Los Angeles has jumped to the forefront of the banking revolution.

struggling single mothers, working mothers, childcare costs, universal childcare, women in poverty

More than a quarter of single mothers living without partners or parents are now in poverty, and almost twice as many women as men are likely to live in poverty at some point.

Stacey Abrams holds a news conference in Atlanta to announce she has qualified to run for governor. (Bob Andres / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

A brighter political future depends upon turning out large numbers of voters of color.

Wall Street hedge funds, corporate bankruptcies, Toys 'R' Us bankruptcy, retailers

When the last Toys ‘R’ Us store closes its doors once and for all, the company's top executives will have pocketed $8.2 million in retention bonuses while liquidating the company and laying off tens of thousands.

Warsaw, City is Ours, municipalist movements, Right to the City, Fearless cities, Warsaw smog, Warsaw housing crisis, Warsaw housing rights movement

The Right to the City is a core ingredient in the radical municipalist movement now spreading across cities worldwide, driven in Warsaw by local issues like air pollution and unaffordable rents.

North Carolina teacher strikes, national teacher strikes, teacher pay, teacher walkouts, right to work laws, union busting, teachers union

Teachers from 20 school districts across the state held a strike that affected around 700,000 students, as teachers demanded an increase in per-pupil funding to the national average and raises in teacher pay.

The fast food industry has one of the widest pay disparities between CEO and worker. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The first comprehensive study of CEO-to-worker pay reveals an extraordinary disparity – with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1.

Warsaw, City is Ours, municipalist movements, Right to the City, Fearless cities, Warsaw smog, Warsaw housing crisis, Warsaw housing rights movement

The Right to the City is a core ingredient in the radical municipalist movement now spreading across cities worldwide, driven in Warsaw by local issues like air pollution and unaffordable rents.

Posted 3 days 14 hours ago
public banks, public banking movement, Bank of North Dakota, Santa Fe public bank, Los Angeles public bank, divestment movement

After Santa Fe ceded ground as the first metropolis ready to lead us into an era of public banking, the City of Los Angeles has jumped to the forefront of the banking revolution.

Posted 6 days 15 hours ago
occupy, creative activism, activism, act out, puerto rico, colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, hurricane season, aid work, earth defense coalition, strikes, UC system, worker strikes, union leadership, unemployment rates, employment statistics, economic

This week on Act Out! UC workers strike but find a foe where the friendlies should be – an unfortunately familiar story.

Posted 4 days 16 hours ago
Robert Reich, antitrust laws, monopolies, preventing monopolization, corporate mergers, wealth redistribution, consumer choice

America used to have antitrust laws that stopped corporations from monopolizing markets, and often broke up the biggest culprits. No longer. Now money and power is being entirely redistributed to the top.

Posted 6 days 17 hours ago
black identity extremists, FBI monitoring, FBI surveillance, surveillance programs, racial profiling, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, Brennan Center for Justice

Rakem Balogun spoke out against police brutality. Now he is believed to be the first person prosecuted under a secretive U.S. effort to track so-called ‘black identity extremists’.

Posted 6 days 16 hours ago
Stacey Abrams holds a news conference in Atlanta to announce she has qualified to run for governor. (Bob Andres / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

A brighter political future depends upon turning out large numbers of voters of color.

The fast food industry has one of the widest pay disparities between CEO and worker. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The first comprehensive study of CEO-to-worker pay reveals an extraordinary disparity – with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1.

North Carolina teacher strikes, national teacher strikes, teacher pay, teacher walkouts, right to work laws, union busting, teachers union

Teachers from 20 school districts across the state held a strike that affected around 700,000 students, as teachers demanded an increase in per-pupil funding to the national average and raises in teacher pay.

Robert Reich, antitrust laws, monopolies, preventing monopolization, corporate mergers, wealth redistribution, consumer choice

America used to have antitrust laws that stopped corporations from monopolizing markets, and often broke up the biggest culprits. No longer. Now money and power is being entirely redistributed to the top.

Warsaw, City is Ours, municipalist movements, Right to the City, Fearless cities, Warsaw smog, Warsaw housing crisis, Warsaw housing rights movement

The Right to the City is a core ingredient in the radical municipalist movement now spreading across cities worldwide, driven in Warsaw by local issues like air pollution and unaffordable rents.