NICK AND TIRED: Your third-party vote doesn't matter

Disagree with this column? Read a column on why your third-party vote matters more than you think.

Nick Siano is a junior telecommunications and journalism major and writes "Nick and Tired" for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Nick at

Nick Siano

We owe Bernie Sanders for getting young people fired up about politics. But in the end, he didn’t win the Democratic nomination.

What does this mean for Sanders supporters come Nov. 8? Some are siding with Hillary Clinton, at the behest of Sanders. Others felt angered that Sanders, in their words, sold out to the establishment. These voters have been backing third-party candidates: Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.

Much of the traction tertiary candidates have is due to protest voting. That’s people fed up with the choice of mainstream candidates voting for a fringe candidate. A third-party vote does nothing but eat away at the bases of the two major parties.

Let’s take it back to 2000. Perhaps in high school you learned about Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case surrounding the Florida recount that election year. George W. Bush was named winner of the state by only a few hundred votes. Though Florida granted a recount for Al Gore, this was later ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and the recounts were abandoned.

Ralph Nader was a popular third party candidate then. He won 97,421 votes in Florida, of which, 45 percent said they would have voted for Gore had Nader not been on the ballot — enough to offset the 27 percent of Nader votes that would have gone to Bush on top of his slim lead.

This happened in 1912 as well, when Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive Party. He received nearly 28 percent of the popular vote after fracturing the Republican Party and giving Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson a landslide victory.

Johnson is no miracle for Sanders’ supporters. He is a staunch believer in the ruling of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which opened the doors to massive donations from corporations and unions. His pro-business stance stands at odds with how both Sanders and Clinton are approaching student debt. Johnson would plan on leaving the financial stability of college students in the hands of the free market, as well as environmental issues and job creation.

Stein is no better. She views the presidency as an end-all be-all, capable of dismissing all student debt. She also plans on putting a moratorium on genetically modified organisms, despite GMOs posing no threat to health. This includes more than 90 percent of the corn and soybeans produced in the U.S., according to the Department of Agriculture.

Not to mention, Stein, a physician, has pandered to the anti-vaccine movement, despite historical and scientific evidence that they are both safe and effective.

She is stubbornly refusing to reform planks in light of scientific evidence, even in her area of expertise.

If you align with these parties, keep that in mind for local elections. Those will have a much more direct influence on your life. A third party vote on this large a scale isn’t making a point — it’s spoiling the inevitable, without affecting policy afterward.

Politics isn’t about getting what you want. Compromise is key in every political move, even in the voting booth.


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