Joel Christensen, Washington, D.C.
The “lesser of two evils.” This is how many former Bernie Sanders supporters are referring to Joe Biden in supporting his candidacy for president in the November election.
Meanwhile, there are just as many vocal opponents to this principle. Enter Justin Amash, the five-time U.S. Republican Congressman turned Independent turned Libertarian. Amash jumped into the presidential race late Tuesday and will be the first of several “third-party” candidates to enter the race. It is these candidates, I believe, that will decide who wins the presidential election.
Hillary Clinton didn’t receive a majority of the ballots cast in 2016. Neither did Donald Trump. With a 48%-46% finish, Clinton won a plurality of votes and ultimately lost the Electoral College, giving Trump the presidency.
But what about the other 6% of Americans who voted “none of the above?» Gary Johnson ran on the Libertarian ticket and picked up 3.3% with Jill Stein of the Green Party picking up another 1.1%.
The remaining percentages were split up among 1.5% of Americans disenfranchised by both the Republican and Democratic parties. It was this 6% that decided the election, ultimately.
Congressman Amash was the only Republican in Congress to vote to remove Trump from office on both articles of impeachment, Sen. Mitt Romney having only voted for one. He resigned from the Republican party last year and wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post decrying the “death spiral” that American politics was in. Biden is hardly a popular pick, even among Democrats.
Bernie Sanders truly ran a grassroots movement with broad support from hundreds of thousands of volunteers nationwide. Biden doesn’t have the same level of enthusiasm behind his candidacy. Enthusiasm and hate are the two driving factors behind galvanizing voters.
Will voters love Biden or hate Trump enough to get up and vote for Biden in November? If we had to answer that question now, with Biden marred in controversy over sexual harassment allegations? Yes.
Amash is seeking to be on the Libertarian party’s ticket in November, a party already on the ballot in 35 states. He supports smaller government, which would attract Republicans who would normally vote for Trump. He also supports less foreign intervention which would attract Democratic voters uneasy with Biden’s policies.
Who he will ultimately steal votes from is unclear at present but he will almost certainly be joined by other third-party candidates, and that is who will decide the election.
Amash followed former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura who recently dismissed rumors he would run on the Green Party ticket only to confirm them Monday. “OK, I’ve decided I’m going to test the waters.
If I were going to run for president, the GREEN party would be my first choice” tweeted Ventura. Ventura would almost certainly steal votes from Bernie supporters reluctantly being forced to vote for Biden. So now we have at least two former elected officials running in November and we’re still months away.
With the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision, any candidate could move unlimited amounts of money over to a third-party candidate’s Super PAC or campaign for them outright. What’s stopping Biden from supporting a third-party candidate that would hurt Trump or Trump from doing the same to Biden? How much money would it take to siphon off 2% to 3% of the vote in states that were neck-and-neck in 2016?
This is the “Money Ball” strategy to the 2020 election, and this is how it will be decided. Who cares who wins the popular vote? Not the U.S. Constitution.
© Times of U