I have seen quite a few articles asking the age old question,
“Did the presence of third party candidates make Trump win?”
Third Party blame shifting is a classic rhetorical sleight-of-hand. It is a glorified “What If?” argument that hides behind the authority of mathematics. “Donald Trump won by (x) amount. If only Gary Johnson or Jill Stein weren’t in the race, then they wouldn’t have made Hillary Clinton lose!” However, not only does this erroneously assume all Johnson and Stein votes would result in Clinton votes, but one could just as easily say Hillary Clinton helped Gary Johnson and Jill Stein lose by being in the race. The argument sounds good on paper, but it doesn’t actually mean anything.
The Clinton campaign is explicitly responsible for helping the Trump campaign win. They completely misjudged the spirit and demographic of the Republican Party in thinking men like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson were outsiders to the majority of Republicans, and thus they intentionally tried to keep them in the spotlight in the hopes that the establishment Republican candidates don’t see the light of day. The Clinton campaign was completely oblivious to how much the average American now hates the establishment, because they live in a Washington bubble where everyone wants Hillary Clinton in the White House. On top of this, they actively worked against Bernie Sanders being their candidate, despite the fact that every poll had him beating Trump in the general election by wide margins. Establishment Democrats didn’t understand that you can’t fight an Anti-Establishment Republican Progressive (Trump) with an Establishment Conservative Democrat (Clinton) if the spirit of the country is one of perpetual revolution against the establishment. Washington is living in an alternate reality where people still like cookie-cutter politicians, and their own blindness became their undoing.
Voting for a Third Party candidate is a vote for democracy. It is a vote for something rather than a fear-vote against something. More and more people are realizing the flaws of the current two-party duopoly (which is really just one “Establishment party” that has two different colors), and it is increasingly more important to get more voices into the debates. Next time, we don’t need a few shades of blue and seventeen different shades of red. We need more colors. Getting a Third Party to 5% is a big deal for the political future of this country, and it’s about time we take it seriously.