By Troy Carter Chronicle Staff Writer
We reported in this morning’s Chronicle that Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky De La Fuente of the Delta Party had qualified as minor party candidates for Montana’s presidential election.
On Facebook, several readers said that a vote for a third party candidate like Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson was ill-advised.
Statistically, no single vote is meaningful. But that’s not what many of you said in response to the “wasted” commenters.
This wasted vote vs. two-party hegemony is an argument for the ages.
But I do want to point out a story by Harry Enten published this morning about Gary Johnson’s strength in the polls. It’s interesting because, Enten reports that the Libertarian is holding strong at 9 percent, apparently because the two major party candidates are unpopular.
It might be unlikely that Johnson will make a stunning surge and win the campaign, that’s for you the voters to decide, but Enten does point out that that if Johnson (or Stein) exceeds 5% of the total popular vote, their party qualifies for federal election funding up to $20 million in the next election. For comparison, Johnson has raised $3 million this year.
Minor party candidates and new party candidates may become eligible for partial public funding of their general election campaigns. (A minor party candidate is the nominee of a party whose candidate received between 5 and 25 percent of the total popular vote in the preceding Presidential election. A new party candidate is the nominee of a party that is neither a major party nor a minor party.) The amount of public funding to which a minor party candidate is entitled is based on the ratio of the party’s popular vote in the preceding Presidential election to the average popular vote of the two major party candidates in that election. A new party candidate receives partial public funding after the election if he/she receives 5 percent or more of the vote. The entitlement is based on the ratio of the new party candidate’s popular vote in the current election to the average popular vote of the two major party candidates in the election.
That amount of money would seriously boost a third party candidate’s profile, and likely lead to candidate inclusion in nationally-televised debates, which Johnson is fighting for right now.
That means, if 6.3 million people across the country “waste” their votes on Johnson, Stein, or De La Fuente, the 2020 election becomes a break-through year in the American two-party system.
Author: Troy Carter, Chronicle Staff Writer
Date: Aug 26, 2016