Our current election status with two major party candidates and high disapproval ratings has produced a group of Christians whose convictions will not allow them to vote for Clinton or Trump. I share your concerns. They will either write-in a candidate or splinter their votes between one of the four third party candidates. So let’s look at the history of third party candidates. Should Christians vote third party?
The most successful third party campaign launched in American history was by Theodore Roosevelt. As a Republican who served two terms as president from 1900 – 1908, he formed the Progressive Party after failing to win his party’s nomination in 1912. As a former incumbent, he only grabbed 27% of the popular vote and 88 electoral votes.
Historians agree that Roosevelt’s 1912 candidacy took votes away from the Republican candidate, incumbent President William Howard Taft, allowing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win with just 41.8 percent of the popular vote. If the Electoral College required runoffs in states where one candidate does not get a majority of the votes, this election might have turned out differently. We see, however, that third party candidates can contribute to a president being elected without the majority of popular votes. And sometimes third party candidates are those who failed to get their own parties’ nomination.
Ross Perot ran as an Independent in 1992 garnering 18.9% of the popular vote (highest ever for third party candidate who’d never held the presidency before). He received no electoral votes. He ran again in 1996 only obtaining 8% of the popular vote. In some people’s eyes, his efforts only gave us eight years of Bill Clinton. Nonetheless, we elected another president without a majority of the popular vote.
Ralph Nader (Reform Party) was credited by many throwing the 2000 election to George W. Bush. Although he only received 2.74% of the popular vote, his votes in the swing-state of Florida, where the election hung in the balance until the Supreme Court ruled, proved critical. And who could forget those hanging chads! This presidential election was one of the closest in history, and also the fourth election in U.S. history where the eventual winner failed to win the popular vote. So in close elections, a third party candidate can influence the outcome.
One of the current third party candidates, Gary Johnson, was the least impressive of the 2012 Republican primary candidates when he dropped out to run on the Libertarian ticket in 2012. He ended up with 1% of the vote. In order for a candidate to earn the right to debate on stage, the Commission on Presidential Debates requires candidates to: 1) be constitutionally eligible for the presidency; 2) be on the ballot in enough states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority; and 3) receive at least 15 percent support in an average of five major national polls.
With Johnson (Libertarian) currently polling at 7.2% and Jill Stein (Green Party) at 2.4% (both down about 1% since first debate), neither of the front-runners of the third party candidates made it into the first debate, and unless major changes occur, they won’t make it to the second or third debates. Evan McMullin (Independent Party), a beneficiary of the “Never Trump” movement and someone I ranked closely with when I took the isidewith.com poll, was unable to get on the ballot in a majority of states. Although Johnson will pull from both Clinton and Trump (more from Trump), Stein will impact Clinton, and McMullin will take votes from Trump. Darrell Castle (Constitution Party) is not making enough waves to show up on the radar.
Here’s my advice for those whose consciences won’t allow them to vote for Clinton or Trump. One week before the actual election, if your third party candidate has not polled enough to make it onto the debate stage and is not polling nationally at 25% – 30%, you might consider shifting your vote to where the real race lies—between Clinton and Trump.
It would also be helpful if Christians would pull together behind one, third party candidate, rather than spreading out their votes and writing-in names that have no statistical chance. As Christians wane as a majority, we may well see our only power in a third party status.
Since the Electoral College is part of the original design of the U.S. Constitution, it would be necessary to pass a Constitutional amendment to change this system. Third parties have not fared well in the Electoral College system, and there have been more proposals for Constitutional amendments on changing the Electoral College than on any other subject. Making these important changes may well benefit us down the road.
Historically, third party candidates have only delivered a message or signaled a shift to the two major political parties, while never obtaining more than a five percent overall average of the vote. A third party candidate has NEVER won the presidency. And it is highly unlikely that any of the third party candidates running this season will make it into the debates, much less capture the presidency.
With an election as close as this one, third party candidates might be the reason one candidate wins over the other. They might also throw the race to the candidate Christian’s dislike the most, and they can contribute to a president winning without a majority of votes. Need I remind you our entire country is hanging in the balance.
We have a choice. Should we make a statement or help to decide the future of this country? Don’t fall for the delusion that third party candidates can win.
What is God saying to us when many Christians are displeased with both major party candidates, and then can’t find a strong favorable choice with any of the third party candidates? God is speaking, but are we listening?
Our main job as Christians is to be salt and light in a darkening world. If we had made this a priority when we were a majority, we might not be in this position. But such is the downside of abundance and prosperity.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
In the next article, we will look at what respected Christian leaders in our country are saying about our predicament.
To learn more about Ginny Dent Brant, visit her website.
Click to read Ginny’s recent article on the election, Ten Questions for Christian Voters to Consider
The time for being pragmatic is over. Supporting Trump or Clinton destroys the testimony of the Church. WE. MUST. STAND UP.
Evan McMullin for President.
Voting third party right now is absolutely throwing your vote away. Yes, sure, that Independent guy is going to get some votes, but not enough to win the election. Please, use your vote somewhere it will count. Donald said those ugly things 11 years ago. Good thing God doesn’t hold on on to people’s sins like you do. Nobody would get into Heaven. Mr Trump accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior since that time. Those sins are forgiven. Far be it from us to keep bringing them back up. Time to let them go. God says He will not forgive your sins, if you do not forgive. Trump’s sin is in his past. Hillary continues to lie and cheat and subject us to danger from the Middle East.
Mt Trump will not single-handedly be running our country. He will be the leader of those who will be. He has already selected a Conservative Christian for his VP. Why? Because the man is a Christian and he knows politics. He is very level headed and will help with all Trump’s decisions. He will keep Trump’s high strung personality leveled out. Mr Trump wants to put God back into our country. I haven’t heard Hillary say that. He wants to end because it is not a born American yet.
Trump wants to stop illegal immigrants from flooding our country with the criminals that flee theirs. And to prevent terrorists from entering disguised as refugees.
There have been 85,000 immigrants secretly brought in and settled in our communities without us knowing it. In some cases, not even local government knew. That is a fact that I myself got from the Web page that hilds the statistics. They are planning on another 200,000 fiscal year 2017. There are already 12 Muslims holding top security positions in our Capital. Can you see something coming together here? It has to be stopped before we are bowing to Allah or being beheaded. It is not a joke anymore. It is serious business. We will be an Islam nation if Conservatives do not win this election.
The third party candidates only divide what votes could go to the better person of this country. Ross Perot came in strong, divided the voters and dropped out! The Liberal Democrats won the election. I was for him. He duped us.
Mr Trump can give us back the Supreme Court and our entire Justice System which is now controlled by Liberals. That’s why Hillary wasn’t arrested for treason. You know that has to be true. She is as guilty as sin itself and uf let off for her crimes and then elected President, what kind of monster do you think we have created? I know for certain that kind of person is not who we need to lead this country!!!
I beg you to drop the third party vote idea. You are going to be responsible for Hillary being elected if you vote Independent. They should not be allowed to enter the race this late into the campaign anyway. It is damaging to the election. I seriously cannot stand the thought of a Hillary admisistration. It will be a prelude to Hell right here on earth in our country. Mr. Trump is being led by God. We are all oraying for God’s guidance fir him. God used Paul, a murderer of Christians, to start the Church of our Savior, the Christian Church.
Trump is no murderer. Hillary? That’s debatable, depending on Benghazi.
We that support Trump are not heathens. Jesus Christ, the Son of God is my Savior and my Redeemer and he is for millions of us Trump supporters. We are not deplorables either. We are Americans who want our free country back with God in it.
In my comment before, a couple of sentences were left out. I was saying, Trump wants to end abortion. Hillary wants to allow it almost up to birth. Is that a horrible thought or not? How could a woman with a daughter and a granddaughter of her own even think like this? That is beyond my comprehension. She said on video in an interview, I have watched it, that a baby that is not born yet has no Constitutional rights!!! (so the Cobmnstitution cannot protect them from abortion.) Say what? What about the God given right to life then?
I saw a few other “fat finger” typos that I made. I apologize for them.
History has changed over and over and to say that a 3rd party candidate has no way of winning is buying the Kool Aid to serve to others!
There ARE enough upright, God-fearing Christians in this country to take this away from both major candidates, but it takes FAITH and TRUST In GOD to not drink that Kool Aid!
There is finally an honest, constitutional-abiding CHRISTIAN man who believes he can lead this country back to the Great Republic it once was. Have you thought that JUST MAYBE God placed him here…for such a time as this?
Trust in God, have FAITH that Evan McMullin can and will live up to the things he has promised! Stand with all Christians you can find and we shall be help raise a standard to the world that We the People will not be moved!