A Facebook fan sent us this link, claiming it showed why third parties are a “wasted vote.”
In a winner-takes-all system, there is a strong tendency toward two parties because voters act strategically, preferring to vote for legitimate contenders than cast a “spoiler” vote for a third-party candidate. As a consequence, most voters eventually gravitate toward either the Republican or Democratic candidate.
This seems a charitable view of voters. While some might say they’re acting strategically, it’s part of a false concept that your voter matters more when you vote for candidates who have the best chance of winning.
Mathematically the odds of an individual voter casting the deciding vote in most elections is so small as to be effectively zero. If the strategic goal is for your vote to carry weight, voting for a third party candidate is more powerful. It sends a message that is more meaningful than choosing between Tweedle Red and Tweedle Blue.
Another reason the two-party system thrives in American government is the duality of political issues. For the most part, there are only two sides to a given conflict. From the time of our founding (Federalism versus anti-federalism), to the present (pro-choice versus pro-life), most of our political debates have been two-sided affairs. It’s difficult for a third point of view — and consequently a third party — to gain political traction in a two-sided debate.
This is also garbage. Most issues are multifaceted. It may be true that the major parties, their candidates, and the mainstream media work to define everything as two-sided. But it is not really true. Spending is not A vs. B but rather a question of how much as well as where to spend. Same with taxes. They are not yes or no, but what to tax and how much.
Please post comments with your thoughts.