With less than a week left until the election, a vast majority of voting Americans have made their choice. On Nov. 8, either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be our president, and at this point it is more and more likely that Clinton will win. “Fivethirtyeight” gives Clinton a 79.0% chance of winning. With the results of election all but decided, why would anyone vote for a third party? With next to zero chance of winning and a guarantee of a wasted vote, why bother?
Even so, third parties are having a concrete influence on this election. Evan McMullin, a #NeverTrump conservative, might win Utah with no electoral experience. Trump and Clinton are both under some form of investigation. If there has been a year for third parties, this is it.
Enter Mike Maturen. The salesmen and semi-professional magician running under a party no one has heard of — the American Solidarity Party. Who in their right mind would advocate for him? I would. Voting is an expressive act more so than it is a deciding factor. The Electoral College picks presidents, and when we vote for the major parties we give our tacit approval of its choice. Third parties, despite their lack of electoral success, have long been a feature, not a bug, within American politics. They hold a definite sway over policy and can signal public opinion, even from outside office. The Republican Party, for instance, began as one of many antislavery third parties, and eventually replaced the Whigs as the major rival to the Democrats. The Prohibition Party helped get a constitutional amendment passed. And now, there is a third party to represent just about every nominal interest and faction there is. But these competing groups’ wants and needs aren’t harmful to democracy – they strengthen it.
The American Solidarity Party is only five years old. In Sept., their Facebook page had 3,000 likes, and now, at the end of Oct., they have over 5,000. At that rate, by the next election, it could be competitive with more mainstream third parties that do hold elected positions at local levels all over the country. So no, this won’t be the year the ASP wins the White House, but it shows promising growth. The goal is to be winning local elections by the next election cycle.
Beyond this, the ASP represents a balance on the ideological split that has not historically had a presence in American politics. The Republicans are socially and economically conservative. The Democrats are socially and economically liberal. The Libertarians, generally speaking, are socially liberal and economically conservative. The ASP is socially conservative and economically liberal. This election, for them, is a publicity election, and every vote in their favor is a signal to the ruling class that those ideals represent a large portion of the electorate.
Before you vote, do your research on federal and local candidates. Vote for the candidates you actually agree with. Vote with your conscience as much as your intellect. If we all did this, perhaps we wouldn’t be facing a choice between two different species of criminal.