President Barack Obama spoke forcefully on nationally syndicated radio this morning to tell voters considering a third-party protest vote, to think about the terrible consequences of supporting a candidate who will never hold America’s highest office:
“If you don’t vote, that’s a vote for Trump,” Obama said in an interview on the Steve Harvey Morning Show. “If you vote for a third-party candidate who’s got no chance to win, that’s a vote for Trump.” He also assailed Trump’s performance in his first debate against Clinton on Monday, saying the Republican nominee “doesn’t know basic facts” and again calling him unqualified for the presidency.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton shined in the first presidential debate this week, while her main opponent Republican Donald Trump entertained the largest viewing audience of the entire campaign by telling them his cyber-security plan is having 10-year-old son that’s “good at computers” and “manterrupting” Secretary Clinton ceaselessly.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s anger at the situation boiled over right afterwards, leading him to publicly wonder if he should just drop out of the race. The former New Mexico governor is a popular protest vote for moderate Republicans, and for those who advocate his domestic civil liberties policies.
Sadly, Johnson is also a first class climate change denier who gained recent attention saying roughly that ‘in 5 billion years, the sun will explode’, so why worry about the heat now. It’s not like the Johnson/Weld campaign has been entirely without mainstream media coverage, in fact CNN hosted a much hyped town hall broadcast for Johnson in June, where he was said not to shine, but not to have any horrendous miscues like the “what is an Aleppo?” gaffe on MSNBC which has recently dogged his campaign. Just today in an MSNBC televised town hall with Chris Matthews there was another “Aleppo” moment (which you can watch below) for the Libertarian candidate who came up dry when asked the relatively simple question “Who is your favorite foreign leader?” Johnson seems like a very nice person, but he just doesn’t have the mettle to be President this fall.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein has many mainstream ideas like raising the minimum wage or revving America’s clean energy sector, but her platform is peppered with bad ideas that border on the kind of unhealthy government interventions that America hasn’t imposed on private business since Republican President Richard Nixon imposed wage and price controls in the 1970s, which ended disastrously by causing high inflation. Stein’s platform includes this according to The Hill:
The platform states that “the unemployed would have an enforceable right to make government provide work.” It also says that they would “outlaw scabbing on striking workers” and “impose an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.”
Unfortunately, freezing evictions and foreclosures does little to solve people’s underlying problems, but would cause a major dislocation in America’s real estate markets which have recovered solid footing after President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Act that forced homeowners to prove their income before borrowing to buy a house. Forcing the government to provide labor is a very obtrusive mandate, which could quickly lead to a situation like Greece is experiencing, with an overly large, totally useless bureaucracy strangles the life out of any hope of economic development with levels of red tape more or less designed to keep bean counters in their positions until retiring, early at the age of 51 when their financial crisis started. Stein’s running mate is known for his strident opposition to Bernie Sanders and for making provocative statements on race in America. At their core, the sweeping platform ideas of the Green Party have some merit and some really unworkable ideas mixed in.
Regardless of the merits or flaws these third party candidates may have, and it bears mention that there are also the many others who inhabit odd corners of America’s ballots running for President, it is mathematically certain that this year’s election will be selected between the Democratic and Republican nominees.
So President Obama is absolutely correct when he asserts that a vote for those or any third party candidate is just another vote for the racist Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 28, 2016
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition.