As Facebook friend Chris Zeichmann put it, people who say that a vote for a third party is automatically a vote for Trump have a poor understanding of electoral politics. If you’re in a state where Hillary’s victory is near guaranteed, then voting third party doesn’t impact her victory. If I lived in Massachusetts, New York, California, Oregon, or any of the blue states on the map to the right (aside from perhaps Maine), I would vote third-party without question.
The problem is that I don’t have that luxury. I live in the swing-state of New Hampshire, where the difference between Clinton’s approval (43.6%) and Trump’s approval (39.0%) is quite narrow. If I vote for either Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, as I advocated yesterday, then that could effectively be a vote for Trump.
Those of us who live in the tan swing-states should at least consider biting the bullet and voting for Hillary. I don’t want to do that but it may be necessary. But if you live in a blue state there’s no excuse. Vote for either Johnson or Stein. I honestly don’t care which. (Johnson is a decent enough libertarian, and Stein a social leftist if a bit regressive). And remember: The point of voting third-party isn’t because candidates like Johnson or Stein stand a chance; they obviously don’t. It’s a protest vote when the other two are terrible, and is typically done to send a message to voters for the future.
Here are the 10 swing states (identified by Politico), where the difference between Clinton’s approval (the first figure) and Trump’s approval (the second) is less than 10%.
Ohio — 41.4%, 41.2% (0.2%)
Florida — 43.6%, 41.8% (1.8%)
Nevada — 44.5%, 42.5% (2.0%)
Iowa — 43.2%, 39.6% (3.6%)
North Carolina — 44.4%, 40.6% (4.0%)
New Hampshire — 43.6%, 39.0% (4.6%)
Virginia — 42.6%, 37.4% (5.2%)
Pennsylvania — 46.0%, 39.6% (6.4%)
Colorado — 44.0%, 36.2% (7.8%)
Wisconsin — 43.8%, 35.4% (8.4%)