Third Partiers: I Call Your Bluff

You balked and squawked that white privilege was not your motivating factor. You swore up and down that a third party vote was not actually passive aggressive support for Trump. Now it’s time to call your bluff.

We begged, cajoled, debated, and sometimes screamed from the mountaintops for you to reconsider voting for a third party candidate. You remember the logic we slung at you: don’t waste your vote; there’s too much at stake; no candidate is perfect, but Trump is unprecedented; or, you’ll never make enough of a statement to turn this two-party system into a legitimate multi-party one.

It was all for naught. Voters cast ballots for third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein at a consistent rate of 5 percent in swing states. You dug in your adolescent heels and maneuvered statistics to highlight the similarities between the Democrats and Republicans. Due to corruption and lobbyists, you asserted, there was no lesser of two evils and the mainstream parties had amalgamated into one.

Via social media, I accused the mostly white, male, heterosexual third partiers of sacrificing women and people of color to a lost multi-party cause. I more than insinuated that third partiers were willing to risk a Trump presidency because his bigoted policies won’t impact them directly. I found meaning in the fact that white millennials were far more likely to support Libertarian Johnson than nonwhites.

You balked and squawked that white privilege was not your motivating factor. You swore up and down that a third party vote was not actually passive aggressive support for Trump. Now it’s time to call your bluff.

Why is there not a notable presence of third party voters in the resistance movement against Trump? Progressives have formed more than 75 prominent resistance groups to monitor and oppose Trump. Where is the third party dissent?

Libertarians, especially, where was your outcry when Trump trampled on state’s rights to determine their own law enforcement practices by banning so-called Sanctuary States and Cities? Is it fine for Trump to tread on “them” as long as he doesn’t tread on you?

Perhaps his xenophobic, deadly policies don’t quite ruffle your feathers enough for you to take a stand. I notice and judge your silence. We need to run a “Where Are They Now” special about the 2016 election’s third party voters.

The Two Were Never One

Even though I don’t like it, I’m realistic enough to know that any politician able to reach the level of Democratic or Republican candidate for president will have questionable ties to lobbyists and more than a few skeletons in her closet. What kind of skeletons and how many we can stomach play a decisive role in choosing which box to check. Voting for a third party candidate will not change that reality. Rather, it will potentially tip the scale toward one of the two mainstream candidates. It is past time for third partiers to own up to their responsibility for Trump’s rise to power.

During the exhausting election, third party voters saturated their media outlets with the ridiculous notion that Clinton and Trump have more similarities than differences. Now that Trump’s ideology has become policy, let’s test their reckless theory.

As his first military action, Trump initiated an attack in central Yemen on January 29, 2017. The Obama administration (in which Clinton is inextricably linked as former Secretary of State) met the same intelligence with caution and were waiting to act until the risk for civilian casualties decreased.

As eager as his followers urge, Trump authorized the raid which resulted in dozens of civilian casualties, including children. Although the operation met its objective to kill at least a dozen al-Qaida combatants, it sacrificed the life of Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens and injured three other American soldiers. Trump politically cashed in on Owens’ widow’s tears during his first speech to Congress, even though it was his hasty decision that claimed the SEAL’s life.

Although I have no supernatural ability to create an alternate universe wherein Hillary Clinton is president, I am certain that she (under advisement of President Obama and his advisers) would not have approved the raid. Ten children would still have breath in their lungs today.

Yet another way that the two diverge is that Trump’s Muslim Ban (which he is too much of a coward to call by name) would not exist under a Clinton presidency. Because of his policy, an Afghan family was recently detained for five days. The father was kept separate from his wife and three children, one of whom is a baby. The father committed no crime against America. To the contrary, he was offered sanctuary in America as compensation for being shot and assaulted while employed by the U.S. military in Afghanistan. This inhumane, embarrassing debacle is Trump’s version of making America great again. Clinton is far too savvy to treat an ally like an enemy.

Trump has done something else that I guarantee Clinton wouldn’t. He has normalized white supremacy. Steve Bannon is a neo-Nazi and currently serves as chief adviser to Trump. What’s more, Trump validates bigotry by frequently citing alt-right Breitbart News as if it is a legitimate source.

Clinton’s ties to the establishment and her overt political correctness were two chief reasons why third party voters rejected her. Those very characteristics serve as the evidence that she would never champion policies that lead to political suicide (i.e. detaining a baby and hiring a neo-Nazi).

I hesitate to even write about Clinton because the election is over and she is no longer a contender. However, the record must show that third party voters’ dismissal of her makes them complicit in Trump’s election. Each person who did not vote for Clinton is part of the reason why the greater of two evils has taken to his throne on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I invite you to prove me wrong. Join the resistance. Or start your own.

Regan Manwell Sowinski makes the resistance visible at