According to a new Rasmussen poll, more than a third of U.S. voters say they are likely to consider a third option besides President Donald Trump and the eventual Democratic nominee in the 2020 presidential election.
Rasmussen asked likely U.S. voters, “How likely is it that you will vote for someone other than President Trump or the Democratic presidential nominee in next year’s election – very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely or not at all likely?”
A whopping 38 percent of likely voters said they were likely to vote for a third option. More than a fifth, 22 percent, described themselves as “very likely” to do so.
While Democrats constantly insist that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, they do not often mention the fact that Clinton did not win a majority of votes. She won 65.8 million votes (48.2 percent) to Trump’s 63 million votes (46.1 percent). Trump won the majority of states and electoral votes, which determine the presidency.
Neither Clinton nor Trump won the majority because 5.7 percent of Americans voted for third-party candidates. Libertarian Gary Johnson won 4.5 million votes (3.3 percent), while Green Party candidate Jill Stein took 1.5 million votes (1.1 percent). The Never-Trump candidate, Evan McMullin, took 732,000 votes (0.54 percent), while the Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle won 203,000 votes (0.15 percent). Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) dropped out to endorse Hillary Clinton, but 111,850 (0.08 percent) voters cast ballots for him, anyway.
Many Republicans and Democrats castigate third-party voters, claiming that they “wasted” their votes. Due to harsh partisanship, Americans often intend to vote “against” a candidate as much as for one. Both Clinton and Trump were extremely unpopular in 2016, but 94 percent of Americans voted for one or the other.
It is extremely unlikely that 38 percent of Americans will actually vote for a third-party candidate. Most Republican-leaning voters will likely fall in line to stop Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, or whomever the Democrats nominate from becoming president. While a vote for a third party is not a wasted vote, it will not help one of the two candidates most likely to prevail.
There is always an outside chance that aa third-party candidate can “spoil” the election for the Republican or the Democrat, like Ross Perot in 1992 and Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. America’s current polarization makes that rather unlikely, however.
Americans may tell themselves they’re open to voting for a third-party candidate, and occasionally they will be. When November 2020 comes around, however, they’re likely to cast their chips with the Republican or the Democrat.
I voted third party in 2016, because I did not trust Donald Trump’s promises to govern in a conservative direction — he had been a longtime Democrat and donor to Bill and Hillary Clinton. To be honest, I still find the president obnoxious and arrogant, and I’m still frustrated at his unwillingness to tackle the debt and entitlement reform. However, Trump has proven far more conservative than I would have predicted, and if I had known then what I know now, I likely would have voted for him. With “democratic” socialism, big-government radicalism, gender insanity, and climate alarmism rising among Democrats, I may have to vote “against” them next November.
The more radical Democrats become, the more important it is for Americans to bite the bullet and vote for Donald Trump.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.