If You Wait Until Election Year to Talk About 3rd Parties, You May Need to STFU

Why do these obnoxious contrarians suddenly wax poetic about the need for third parties ONLY during election years? If you want a third party, get to work now on 2024.

By Abu Khalil

Like clockwork, those soaring figures of righteousness who dare not participate in the process of ‘evil of two lessers’ begin to panegyrize the virtues of a potential third party once election year rolls around. Or when their favorite major party candidate fails to secure the nomination. These brave and pious souls suddenly understand the need for a third major political party only every four years. 

Viable third party candidates have been a rarity in recent U.S. history. The most realistic expectations of victory came from wild-eyed Texas billionaire Ross Perot in 1992 when he ran unsuccessfully as an independent candidate. Though he led in a few certain polls, he lacked the ground game and infrastructure forged over the previous 4 years by the major parties. That is because motherfuckers who talk about third parties only do so in election year. If they really cared, they would be working on that party years before bumping their gums on social media. Besides Perot, no third party candidate has ever made a dent. A ripple. In Texas, we would say they have been so quiet you could hear a frog piss on cotton.

Now there is Yeezy.

Kanye West is a faux candidate. He is likely half running out of sheer narcissism and half hoping to siphon votes away from Biden. Yet there may be some fantasy in the idea that third parties take away votes from one party or another. It is possible, even if he could actually get on state ballots, that he could have little to no impact at the ballot box. Of course, the rumors swirled  when we learned the lawyer who filed West’s signatures for Wisconsin was a former Republican lawyer that is representing Trump’s campaign in a pending lawsuit. Nonetheless, there is little evidence that West, or any other third party candidate would have any effect. Barry Burden, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, agrees in an interview with Politifact.

“Every minor party or independent candidate who has run in modern history has taken some votes from (both parties),” said Burden, who has authored numerous studies on the impact of third-party candidates. “It’s also incorrect to say the votes come even disproportionately from a Democratic candidate.”

Yet despite the long history of ineffectual third party candidates and lingering questions as to whether they pose any discernible difference at the ballot box,  naysayers and virtue-signallers use the idea of the third party to demonstrate their purity and innovation every election year. 

No election in the last hundred years has been as much about not making ‘the perfect the enemy of the good.’ The contrast between the clumsy, flawed, and sleepy corporatist Joe Biden and the incompetent, crypto-fascist, hopeful authoritarian Donald Trump is so strark that only a self-important idelogue can’t see the difference. Maybe these motherfuckers can’t remember the year 2000. Maybe they were too young. Or maybe they did not mind the disastrous consequences. Let’s go through a brief primer.

In the 2000 election, Ralph Nader’s third party candidacy cannibalized votes that could have moved Florida in favor of Al Gore— yet we instead got George W. Bush. Enron. 9/11. Afghanistan. Lies for war. Blood for oil. 1.5 million dead Iraqis. Deregulated finance markets and a subsequent housing crash.  Poor Al Gore just wanted to give us climate change reform and put money in a ‘lock box.’ But no, many could not see the difference between a flawed yet tolerable career politician like Gore and the utter train wreck and global disaster that was the Bush-Cheney administration. Rage Against the Machine even made their election year music video for ‘Testify’ display images of Gore and Bush intermixing with one another as to say there was no difference. I fell for that reductive bullshit unfortunately. Here we are 20 fucking years later facing a global climate crisis wishing we elected the one guy who was ahead of the curve on it. 

Really, if your friend proposes voting third party this election as some sort of virtuous protest then please tell them to kindly shut the fuck up. If you want a viable third party, get to work now on 2024.

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