Third Party Splash
At the beginning of this election cycle, there was a deep fear than Donald Trump would lose the Republican primary, and then run as a third party candidate. If he did this, he would take votes away from the GOP candidate and give the election to Hillary Clinton. This was such a concern, that the Republican National Committee issued a “pledge” that no candidate would break away from the party if they lost the primary.
But then the unexpected happened. Trump beat all other candidates by a landslide. The result, however was a general election with two polarizing candidates.
Here, enter Dr. Jill Stein and New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. But while the media portrays Trump as the candidate who should fear these two third party candidates the most-it is in fact not Trump, but Clinton who seems to be mostly affected by the other options.
What does this say? Since Trump is such a polarizing figure, his followers are steadfast and loyal. His personality would suggest that it is hard to be on the fence about Donald Trump. But as for Hillary Clinton, she looks great on paper and seems like a better option, but is she? That is what is going through many millennials’s minds, especially former Bernie Sanders supporters. Sanders’ supporters are just as loyal as Trump’s supporters, and they view Clinton as rigging the election so she can continue to rig the system. Because of this, they look at Jill Stein and Gary Johnson as better options than Clinton in the general election.
In recent polls, Clinton is leading Trump in Florida, a crucial swing state, by just three points. But, if you take out Stein and Johnson from the mix, she beats him in the polls by seven points. These are the types of numbers that make or break an election. That independent vote that decides to not give you your vote makes all the difference in the type of victory night a candidate has.
Clinton has spent the past week trying to appeal to millennials. She had Bernie Sanders urge his supporters to vote for her, and has spent some time with A-list celebrities talking about millennial issues. Obama got almost 30 percent of the youth vote in 2012, which made a huge difference in his election. Political insiders do not think Clinton can pull that same number. And if those numbers go to third party candidates, then Clinton is the one who has everything to lose-not Trump.
If these numbers go to Stein and Johnson on election night in crucial swing states-Trump’s numbers may go up which may edge out Clinton. The poll numbers are tight-and both candidates are going to need that Independent vote. But if the Independent vote goes to third parties, then the election outcome, and the predictions to what this might be, will change.