Election 2020

The Incredible Shrinking Third Party Voter

If Biden retains his 2–1 advantage among 2016 Libertarian and Green voters, Trump is probably toast.


Turns out President Donald Trump has good reason to be playing rhetorical footsie with former supporters of former Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson—the road to his re-election may well be blocked by those 7.8 million Americans who voted third-party or independent in 2016.

"The combined national NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls from this year," reported NBC News last week, "have interviewed 215 voters who said they backed either [Gary] Johnson or [Jill] Stein in 2016….Forty-seven percent say they're voting for [Joe] Biden, 20 percent are supporting Trump, and 33 percent are unsure or say they're backing another candidate."

That sample size is very small, but the implications are potentially huge, and in line with several other indicators about third-party voters over the past two years. If you crudely assigned 47 percent of the 5,946,559 Johnson/Stein voters to Biden, 20 percent to Trump, and otherwise kept the same totals for the major-party candidates from 2016, suddenly the Democrat is winning 50.2 percent of the popular vote, and the Republican is 4.47 million votes behind. And oh yeah, at least two-thirds of the third party vote goes POOF!

That's not how life works in the real world, of course, but there's plenty of other supporting evidence for the theory that the indie vote will collapse, in ways not friendly to the incumbent. To wit:

* The 2018 midterm congressional elections, which featured the highest voter turnout in a century, surpassed almost all expectations for Democrats while being strikingly brutal for third-party and independent candidates.

* Exit polls of Johnson and Stein voters in 2016, while showing a much higher propensity for just sitting out any contest without smaller-party alternatives, nonetheless tilted more positively toward Hillary Clinton. "[We] asked voters [who] they would have cast ballots for if there were only two candidates (Clinton and Trump)," CBS News wrote at the time. "A quarter of Johnson voters said Clinton, 15 percent said Trump, and 55 percent said they would not have voted. Numbers were similar for Stein voters, with about a quarter saying they would have chosen Clinton, 14 percent saying Trump, and 61 percent saying they would not have voted."

* One of the main reasons why the 2020 race has been so unusually stable, especially compared to 2016, with very few polling zig-zags and with a steady Biden lead, is that the number of undecided voters has been much lower. The electorate is engaged (by the derision of the other candidate/party as much as anything) and knows who it's voting for.

* Four years ago this week, even in the immediate wake of the "Aleppo moment," Gary Johnson was polling nationally at 9 percent. The 2020 Libertarian nominee, Jo Jorgensen, has polled between 1 percent and 3 percent in each national survey (and all but a couple of state polls) for the past month.

* Meanwhile, Jorgensen has led or been tied with all other non-major candidates—the Green Party's Howie Hawkins, the Constitution Party's Don Blankenship, rap superstar Kanye West—in every poll taken since August. Support for third-party candidates in 2020 has yet to exceed a combined 5 percent; in 2016 the combined vote for candidates not named Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton was 5.73 percent.

* And don't forget that polling almost always exaggerates third-party support by at least one-third; Johnson's final-day polling last time was 4.8 percent, and he ended up with just under 3.3 percent.

* Unlike the Libertarians, who again managed to get on all 50 state ballots plus the District of Columbia, the Green Party is lagging in ballot access in 2020, with just 30 states plus D.C. so far, compared to 44 in 2016.

* According to the Washington Post's David Weigel, "At the start of August, Jorgensen had raised less than $1.4 million, on track for far less than the $12 million the Johnson/Weld ticket raised in 2016. A spokesman for Hawkins said he had raised 'over $300,000' for his Green Party bid, less than 10 percent of what Stein raised by the end of her 2016 campaign."

* Third-party presidential totals are cyclical—spike years (1992, 1968, 1948) tend to be followed by a comparative collapse, particularly if the two-party contest was close. Last election was the biggest third-party year since 1996, and the most controversial election since 2000 (which also saw a steep dropoff in third-party enthusiasm four years later). The fundamentals are just bad this year, which is one of many reason that—as predicted—no big-name outsiders swooped in for the Libertarian and Green nominations, nor mounted anything like an organized independent run.

The expected third-party contraction, and projected benefit to Biden, does not mean that Jo Jorgensen or maybe even a lower-polling candidate won't beat the margin of victory in a battleground state, including one that may go for Trump. Just today, the Libertarian pulled 4 percent in a Marquette University Law School poll of Wisconsin, site of the narrowest Trump victory in 2016.

But if the president truly believes that the 2020 defectors from the Johnson/Bill Weld ticket (including Weld himself) are "all Republican voters," let alone that "they have to vote for us," he is in for a rude surprise come November.

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  1. Ok, which of you clowns are voting for Biden?

    1. Not me.

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      2. Lol, of course not.
        You’re actually voting for Kamala.

    2. I cannot imagine voting for Gropey Joe under any circumstances.

      1. then you aint black

    3. “If voting made a difference they wouldn’t let us do it.” – George Carlin

      1. George Carlin never saw the likes of Vice President Kamala Harris waiting to shuffle a dementia case President off to a care home and take over, continuing the left’s march over the rest of us.

        1. Doesn’t matter — you’re going to get it good and hard with Trump or Biden regardless of what you do with your single paltry, inconsequential vote.

    4. 2 out of 3 of us apparently.
      White Knight
      The Rev. K (the real one)
      The rest of us must all be bot accounts of the same LP activist.

      1. I’m not voting for Biden.

        1. “(I’m voting for Kamala)”

    5. I was voting Jo Jo until the DNC announced that Harris is the real candidate.

      Now I am voting Trump.

      1. Well THAT decision will change the course of history!

        Your vote isn’t going to change the outcome, so why not vote for a libertarian (assuming you’re actually a libertarian)? Try it — you’ll feel better and the outcome will be exactly the same as it was going to be anyway.

    6. Hard to believe that any libertarian would choose this iteration of the Democrats over Trump. Trump May have a disagreeable personality but his policies aren’t trying to micro manage every aspect the economy and your life.

      1. Why would a libertarian vote for Trump or Biden?

        1. Mainly to stop the authoritarian left (Harris).

          Biden/Harris and other prominent Democrats excitedly supported Antifa and BLM Marxists up until recent polling showed that Americans are turning on them due to the rioting.

          If it turns out to be true that many of the wildfires in the western USA were set by Antifa activists, I expect even more people to turn against Biden/Harris.

        2. I am a libertarian. (Small L.)
          I will be voting for Trump, and anyone that votes for Biden cannot call themselves a libertarian.
          Trump is not perfect, but he is not trying to expand the power of the government like Biden and Harris are trying to do.
          If a libertarian cannot support Trump, hopefully with legitimate arguments, not some crap they were told and didn’t research, then they should vote for a third party. I have voted for a third party, not because I supported that party, but as a protest vote. against the candidates offered.
          Trump moves at least moves in the right direction, and a small victory is better than none, or even the opposite which is Biden.
          But another reason is whatever is going on with the Democratic Party is just insane, and we have to stop it. They need to be slapped back into sanity, (by voting against them,) or they need to be voted out of existance.

      2. Therefore we must conclude most Johnson voters were non-libertarians, which is a reasonable conclusion.

    7. Jo Jorgensen 2020! But i guess im just a bot?

      1. A “Russian” bot.

      2. You and me both. I think most of the posters here are Trumpettes.

        1. No the left is just that scary.

    8. I’m thinking Welsh and Bailey for sure. The rest are non-voters or going LP. Robby is the most likely “shy Trump voter” on the masthead.

      1. ENB, Shikha and KMW will be voting Kamala, so will Binion, Boehm, Britischgi, Suderman and Sullum.
        Robby will pretend to vote Kamala, but will secretly vote Jojo.
        Nick will vote for Jojo, but his jacket will proudly vote Trump.

        Don’t know what Stossel, Volk or Bernstein will do.

    9. Libertarians can take issue with Trump but no way they can vote for Biden. Higher individual and corporate taxes, expand Obamacare’s control of health coverage, forced energy choices. Then the big issue in Trump’s favor is judicial nominees where he has pressed for those closer to a Libertarian view.
      Sorry but Jo J. won’t get 1% of the vote. I voted for Gary Johnson last time but he appeared to quit once he was prevented from entering the debates.

    10. Not me; I voted libertarian in 2016 but I live in a “battleground” State and the stakes are too high to throw my vote away for the sake of feeling virtuous.

      1. Damn! A thinking libertarian.

        1. I’m a libertarian, but haven’t voted Libertarian, nor do I belong to the party.
          The reason I am a libertarian is that I can think. It is also why I voted for Trump in 2016, and will again in 2020.
          Unfortunately a lot of people who think they are libertarians really aren’t.

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    12. This is why I’ve largely stopped reading this website: for years, you’ve told us that voting Libertarian is NOT throwing away our vote, that it’s not hurting one party or the other, but now – solely in order to get Trump – you’re telling us that voting Libertarian is throwing the election to the Rs. What a joke! You people will say anything to get Trump.

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    1. Amash is speaking truth, but Jesus Christ is he hanging out with a bad crowd. That and the fact that you can bitch all you want about Trump’s failure to bring home the troops, but the question you gotta ask yourself is would Joe Biden be more likely to bring home the troops? And if he were, is that worth the price of a Green New Deal?

      And that’s the problem with binary choices, you gotta eat a lot of shit if you want the occasional nugget of corn.

      1. “Amash is speaking truth, but Jesus Christ is he hanging out with a bad crowd.”

        You mean the people who talk politics on Twitter?

      2. Eh, I am not that worried about a New Green Deal. Too much money in most of that not getting implemented.

        1. I don’t think it’s all that likely to be implemented either, but if there’s only a small chance of a civilization-destroying event occurring, it’s still worth worrying about.

          1. There has *never* been a time in history when there was not a small chance of a civilization-destroying event.

            1. Except when we had a high chance of a civilization-destroying event. If The Great Leap Forward wasn’t a civilization-destroying event, I don’t know what you would consider to be a civilization-destroying event. If the Holodomor wasn’t a civliization-destroying event, I don’t know what you would consider to be a civilization-destroying event. 61M babies aborted since Roe v. Wade, if you couldn’t build a civilization with 61M people and thus have destroyed the civilization before it was built, then you’re getting pretty niche about your civilization-destroying events. Especially the ones that are infinitesmally within humanity’s (let alone an individual or extremist political faction) ability to address.

              1. How many Progs do you think even know what the Holodomor *IS*?

                “Sounds like something from that Lord of the Rings movie, right, Brah?”

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          2. The onward creep of socialism is the event to worry about. The green deal is nothing but a tool to implement it.

          3. Even if you believe that climate change could be civilization destroying, the GND isn’t doing anything to prevent it.

            Of course, the real civilization destroying event would be the GND itself.

        2. Yeah because Congress is so unwilling to spend money it doesn’t have. And most of the green new deal is regulatory mandates that cost Congress nothing. My God you are a fucking moron

          1. Regulatory mandates tell business to go hide in a hole, clamp-on their money, go offshore, find the loophole–anything but grow the pie for all americans. In the GND, businesses tell Americans to fend for themselves until the Luddites are once again kicked out or until we all take up dumpster diving. It’s about the economy, and, yes, environmentalists can destroy the hell out of it (see Ca.)

          2. Remember when even Democrats were embarrassed by the green new deal? Then they figured out that it isn’t so much about the points of the deal itself as it is yet one more way to tax the fuck out of everything, put everyone under the boot, shovel money into areas that benefit them, and globalize. There is literally nothing in there that doesn’t give the government unilateral control over every market. Once you control communications, health and energy, there is nothing you can’t control.

            Now suddenly everyone just ignores the practicality of each principle when asked about it because to answer would be counter productive. Gotta get back to emotional bumper stickers because that is what attracts the majority of Americans.

        3. …but Trump refusing to leave office if he loses…that’s something to worry about, amirite?

          1. Why so? Once your debt is 130% of GDP you’re a banana republic so you might as well act like one.

          2. No, the idea that Trump won’t leave office isn’t anything to worry about.
            People are writing about it, but that isn’t any different than writing about what happens if a mile-wide meteor hits the Earth this year. It is in the realm of possibility, but extremely unlikely. 100-meter objects hit the earth every 10,000 years, and half-mile or larger hit the earth every few hundred thousand years.
            But people are writing about it because they think it will make Trump look bad even though it is a completely made-up story without a shred of evidence.

      3. No, “the question you gotta ask yourself is…” who is anti-authoritarian, pro-liberty, pro-reason, rights, choice? No one who participates in coercive politics, e.g., voting to empower rulers.

    2. Does Amash think Biden will nominate Federal judges of a libertarian of conservative bent? What in dog’s name does he think is going to happen with a Kamala/Biden administration???? What’s with his focus on irrelevant troop draw-downs?

      1. Because that is the topic he was concentrating on in those tweets.

    3. Part of it. But he left out the rather important bit where Trump hasn’t started any new wars like Syria and Libya. That outweighs the other factors Amash mentions by a pretty wide margin. I’m still not going to vote for Trump, but it’s certainly not going to be because his Middle East policy is worse than Obama’s.

  2. The only third party candidate who affected an election recently was Ross Perot. Your piddly 1-3% is a rounding error in a national election.

    1. And yet, everyone will scream how we are helping the other guy win and throwing away our votes and that we don’t understand how this is the most important election ever!

      1. And yet, everyone will scream how we are helping the other guy win

        A vote for Trump is a vote for Biden!

      2. Remember how the Greens vowed to never vote for a Green again after the Democrats berated them after Nader “spoiled” the election? The next election the Green candidate got less votes than actual dues paying Green members. That’s how much of a groupthink there is in Leftie circles. Democrats demand that Greens vote for the corporatocracy, and the Greens respond with “how high”.

        It’s only gotten worse then. And I’m starting to see it with Libertarians too. Shameful.

        1. Bernie Sanders was that replacement vote– an insurgent Democrat who lived ‘within’ the party, but represented more far-left values that have been growing over the last two decades within the D spectrum.

          The Democrats, having screwed over Bernie twice now, may get some crossover voters moving to Trump that they don’t expect. It happened in 2016, whether it will happen in 2020 is yet to be seen.

        2. yeah, but then Jill Stein got enough Green votes to make them think she cost Hillary the 2016 election.

        3. It’s only gotten worse then. And I’m starting to see it with Libertarians too. Shameful.

          What is the logic behind this? Is there a hope that by kneeling before one party or the other your team will be offered some meager scraps? Greens weren’t offered shit during the Obama years. Libertarians haven’t seen something appealing in thirty years. Fuck this game. If you’re not getting any sugar why suck the dick?

          1. No, the point is to have a seat at the table and gain influence. Your mentality is the exact and primary reason why LP hasn’t accomplished a thing in 50 years and never will, and you’re just stuck pissing into the fan. Nobody gives a damn what the contrarians think until they help create a majority. If you are viewed at as even a small part of the win, then you are deemed as important as anyone else in the room to the degree that people like you helped create the win.

            Fuck… the Communist Party in the US started 50 years before the LP. Socialists and Communists finally figured out after a century that nothing was going to happen until they rebranded and joined with Democrats. They are getting a LOT of what they want now. I predict another 20 years and they will spit again from the DNC and have people on the CP ticket. When the fuck is the LP gonna give up the ghost and realize that they will never accomplish anything outside of making a deal and making themselves crucial to a success? No, the other parties aren’t going to give you a fair shake as the 3rd party. Why the hell should they?

            1. But that’s exactly my point. If bargaining were worth something there might be an argument for it but “bargaining” never seems to get anything. You are just asked to roll over again and again in exchange for nothing. You either get taken for granted and ignored or ideologically pushed out… and ignored. Either way you get ignored though! If republicans (or democrats!) want libertarian support maybe they could dangle some libertarian policy positions to attract them, but no one is offering that. There’s no “seat at the bargaining table”, just a seat in the slave galley.

            2. No, the point is to have a seat at the table and gain influence.

              No, the point is to change public attitudes so that the wrong people will do the right things for the wrong reasons:


    2. That rounding error was potentially enough to change the outcome of the election in several states and thereby flip the Electoral College vote.

      1. And so is whatever direction the wind is blowing that particular week. Just like every other time. It still doesn’t mean any of these minor things are worth writing an article about.

        Taking polls and forecasting used to be a pretty exact science. However, there are so many small factors that can’t be factored in and many more that aren’t even discussed, forecasting is about as reliable as a psychic prediction. The ones who call it right can at best claim to have a lucky guess and renew their pundit contracts for another two years, but it doesn’t make them good.

        1. How in the world are being right about a single thing and keeping your pundit contract related?

          1. A single thing… no, unless it’s a big single thing. And the bigger the risk, the bigger the rise [or fall if you are wrong]. You gonna go back to the psychic that told you to go to Vegas and bet on the red 15 that won? Of course you are.

            Perfect example is Dick Morris. He bet right on Clinton in ’96 against the incubent, and was in hot demand until he bet really big declaring a Romney landslide in 2012. If he’d been right, he would have cemented his legacy as a guru political prognosticator and been unstoppable. But he bet wrong and nobody has seen him since.

            Whether you’re a sportscaster or a pundit, you have two reasons to keep another year’s contract. You’re either famous and can bring a crowd through the power of name recognition and personality [Terry Bradshaw] or you’re just damn good and people come to you for the expertise that is spot on [Troy Aikman].

    3. The only third party candidate who affected an election recently was Ross Perot?? What about Ralph Nader in Florida in 2000?

  3. Instead of worrying about the third party voter, Trump needs to worry about the single largest voter segment in the country: Those registered with no party at all. The decline to states and none of the aboves. Independents rather than Libertarians and Greens are who decide the elections. And that segment has been growing every year. It’s the number two segment in most states.

    Hillary pretty much ignored them, spending all of her time catering to the far left and party faithful. So far it looks like Trump is doing the same, targetting outreach to the far right and party faithful. Those who are already going to vote for him. But to be fair, Biden doesn’t seem to care about the middle either.

    That’s how polarized we are right now, that no one gives a shit about the largest voter segment in the country right now. Granted, I’m not in the middle, but not once this election cycle have I seen anyone toss a cookie anywhere near the middle. It’s like the Nolan Chart only has two points on it.

    1. Absolutely. I think about this every time I hear about a voter registration drive. It’s fine to register more people to vote, but what is the point if there aren’t more candidates worth voting for?

    2. If you haven’t decided yet whether you’re voting for Trump or Biden, nobody gives a shit about you. You obviously don’t see that one of the candidates represents all that is pure and holy and the other candidate is literally the anti-Christ. One of the candidates is hell-bent on destroying America and everything it stands for, the other candidate is our one last chance to save democracy and Western Civilization. One of the candidates is determined to win at all costs no matter how much he has to cheat and lie to do so, the other candidate trusts in the innate goodness of the American people to see through these tricks and lies and deliver the win to the right man. This is literally the most important election of all time as one of these candidates is an existential threat to our nation, our culture, and our very way of life, and if you aren’t willing to kill and to die on behalf of your candidate, if you are so noncommittal that you obviously can’t see what is at stake here, well, fuck you. It’s your fault we’re in such a tenuous situation, just because you aren’t willing to declare your loyalty with all your heart and soul and every fiber of your being. You must choose now, for one choice leads to extinction and the other choice to….well, it leads to extinction as well. But that’s still no excuse for not choosing!

      1. If you haven’t decided yet whether you’re voting for Trump or Biden, nobody gives a shit about you.

        And, arguably, they shouldn’t. You’re potentially a functional retard like Phetasy who has no concept of projection and revealed preferences and thinks being in favor of tax cuts, against abortion, and in favor of defense spending is some brainwashed alt-right political position (despite its consistent presence for 5+ decades) and what we really need is a middle candidate that rides a unicorn and farts rainbows.

      2. Just once I’d like to see them abandon the “just vote” campaign in favor of the “if you honestly don’t give a fuck, sit the fuck down and leave it to the adults” campaign. But that’s probably too many words for those who “just vote” to digest.

        1. the whole premise of the “just vote” campaign is that adding more of the least informed people to the decision pool will lead to better decisions. which seems off somehow.

    3. To be fair, democrats could have put forth a better candidate to appeal to independents than Biden/Harris. Trump is his own worst enemy in this election, but I doubt there was a better candidate from the GOP (love or hate him, his support is staunch).

      Libertarians and Greens will do as they do, and are unlikely to have much affect this election.

      1. Democrats had a few non-senile non-crazy non-Marxist governors seeking the nomination in the primaries, but they got 1% and gave up early, because Democrat primary voters have gone completely insane, except for those who just don’t follow politics or the news at all and just voted for Biden because the name was familiar.

    4. Trump seems to be reaching out to those outside the far right though, with criminal justice reform, troop draw-downs, and expanded unemployment benefits (on his own initiative, after talks bogged down with Dems wanting a couple of extra trillion to bail out their failed states).

      1. Plus his soon-to-be-unleashed schedule change of MJ, allowing states to decide.

    5. I am one of these, although by default I vote libertarian. The last time I voted for either a Republican or a Democrat for president was Reagan. This time I am voting for Trump.

  4. If you don’t vote for Biden, you ain’t black or Libertarian!

  5. That analysis completely ignores the Electoral College. It’s sad but true that many third-party voters do so only in states where it is safe to “throw away your vote”. People in a swing state who might prefer to vote for a third-party candidate are more likely to vote for the main-party candidate they dislike least.

    So even the limited effect described in the article above overstates the actual results.

    1. it’s safe in every state to vote for the candidate you like the best. and it’s the only rational way to vote, if you vote at all, so your preference gets recorded.
      no state has ever or will ever be decided by one vote, and if it ever did happen, there would be a recount and the margin would change.

      1. “so your preference gets recorded” — but the ultimate purpose of holding elections is to make collective decisions, not to record preferences. If, by election eve, the collective decision not to elect your candidate has already been made (that’s what “can’t win” means), how does voting for that candidate contribute to making collective decisions?

        1. Right. Voting third party means opting out of the selection process for your state´s electoral votes.

  6. Damn, how out of touch is Matt Welch? He repeatedly wrote articles about something Bill Weld would say when nobody, and I mean nobody, ever cared. Now he thinks most libertarians are going to vote for Biden? What world is he living in?

    1. Matt’s political analysis is anit-insightful. Whatever his assessment is, the opposite is more sensible and insightful. Gary Johnson? Hillary Clinton? Bernie Sanders? The Libertarian Moment? Welch’s takes were consistent losers.

      1. He was giving an awful lot of attention to Beto up until a year ago. His one man crusade to make Weld relevant was pretty out of touch, but Beto…..I mean…….

        Maybe in 2021 he can convince us all to get on the Stacy Abrams train!!!

    2. Well clearly Weld’s endorsement of Clinton explains the Libertarian preference for her cited above. Weld is a highly respected Libertarian who swore lifetime allegiance to the party. He’s not just a washed up Republican hack desperately trying to get someone, anyone, to notice him. No siree. Reason has provided a forum wherein Governor Weld can share his wisdom and that is something we should all be grateful for.

    3. Look carefully: not most libertarians, most Johnson 2016 voters.

      1. I don’t even think it’s that close to being right. This poll is a very small number of people who either voted Stein or Johnson with no breakdown in who voted which. Maybe I missed that after getting tired of Welch’s stupidly made points, but grouping socialist voters with libertarian ones is ideologically irrational.
        As an anecdote, libertarian leaning voters I know voted Trump, Johnson, or abstained. I was aware of many avowed Johnson voters who are essentially socialists but agreed with him on pot and lgbt stuff. Unfortunately, it appears that’s the group Libertarians want to cater to rather than anyone who supported Ron Paul or even compliments Rand.

  7. >>Trump is probably toast

    dude no. not even with all seventeen 2016 Libertarian and Green voters.

  8. President Trump is the most Libertarian President I can remember. Any Libertarian voting for the Democrat Party cannot believe in Libertarian values of individual rights over Big Govt. The democrat party is moving more and more to Big Govt if not out and out towards Socialist policies.

    Trump has not only pulled Troops out of countries he has not been launched any new major wars. He has even tried to make peace with North Korea.

    Trump could care less about whether a person is gay or not.

    Democrats on the other hand want to tax business and anyone successful at 90% and create endless handout programs.

    I think most people that vote Libertarian do not even understand what being Libertarian means.

    1. Your having memory problem if you think Trump is the most libertarian you can remember. Try that stuff from the jelly fishes, might help the memory.

      1. It’s “You’re” and “jellyfish”, the latter of which is both the single and the plural. But thanks for for playing. I’m sure your historical perspective of presidential philosophical underpinnings is far more astute than your ability to form a sentence.

    2. “I think most people that vote Libertarian do not even understand what being Libertarian means.”

      It means supporting and voting for a big government trade protectionist Republican populist nationalist obviously.

      How silly of me. Here I was supporting Jo Jorgensen.

      1. Jo “It’s not going to make me popular but I’ll still side with Marxists” Jorgensen?

        1. She never said that.

          1. No, she just DID it.

            1. No y’all just made it up as an excuse to go Trump.

              1. No, I’m with Azathoth; she made it pretty clear to whom she was pandering, I.e., people who wouldn’t vote Libertarian, because the feelings-soothing and “free shit” that Democrats provide is infinitely more appealing than anything the Libertarians would or could ever provide.

                1. I am not going to quote her a fourth time.

                  She said no such thing.

                  You do not need to make up excuses to be a Trump or Biden supporter. Just at least try some honesty about it.

    3. Any libertarian voting for Biden clearly doesn’t even pay lip service to the NAP. One need only actually look at the videos from the Rittenhouse incident to figure that one out.

  9. Polls. LOL.

    1. I dunno. Some Trump supporters hide their intentions from pollsters (exactly how many is the million dollar question), but third-party voters are sharers. Most of us are happy to declare our disdain for the duopoly.

      1. Hardly anyone answers the phone anymore either.

      2. Some Trump supporters hide their intentions from pollsters (exactly how many is the million dollar question), but third-party voters are sharers.

        Because you can’ t possibly be third-party and support Trump? Let alone, be third-party, support Trump, and generally think pollsters can cram it sideways?

      3. It seems any time I answer a poll question with my LP voting preferences, the survey ends right there.

        1. Me too.

          I got a call yesterday from someone claiming to be with the Jewish Republican something. Right away I have a problem with this. Do you have some master list of Jews to call? Where have I heard of a political party doing something like that before in our history.

          Then I always have an issue with these calls. Tell you what give me your home phone number and address. I would like to ask your wife a few questions. You have the chutzpah to call my house.

          1. If old Rob ‘Zyklon B’ Misek who lurks here heard about a “master list” of Jews…

  10. The path for Libertarians and any other third party is not the Presidency it is in the Congress or state level races.

    1. yeah, that hasn’t worked either.
      at least an LP presidential campaign gets a little publicity once in a while.

      1. That was supposed to be the point wasn’t it? The Libertarian party was meant to nominate a spokesman who could create more converts. Votes in and of themselves are irrelevant. If only they could nominate someone with a sack who was willing to throw punches (metaphorically speaking of course), or at the very least nominate someone who doesn’t subscribe to toxic ideas like critical theory.

        1. The LP won’t run anybody for any office below the Presidency. Who in the fuck can actually take them seriously with a gameplan like that?

          1. Money. We do not have the money.

            1. Poor excuse. Their are a sizable number of people who like the libertarian philosophy. I think a sizable number of never Trump Republicans would fit in this class. Ask them for some money. Pick some Congressional districts that could go libertarian and put the money there.

              1. You mean all those pro-war neocons?

                2016 was the libertarian moment. There were a ton of conservatarians looking for an alternative to what they estimated was a big gov dem that took over the R party.

                Libertarians utterly failed.

  11. It only matters in about 10 states if someone is going to switch their votes. Who wants to bet that more of the green party voters live in California and not Tennessee?

    That is the problem with the article, unless you know that the third party voters are in, say, Michigan there is little affect on the election. States like California, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee are already decided. It doesn’t matter whether who I vote for in Tennessee. Hell, Gore couldn’t even win Tennessee and had been the senator from here. That is why he lost the election not some hanging chad in Florida.

  12. I’ve flirted between either voting for Jorgenson or not voting, but lately having seen how unhinged the progtards have become, I am considering a “fuck you” vote for the evil orange man. The downside of this would be that another 4 years of Trump will continue to fuel their idiocy and they will keep winning local and state elections where I live with progressively worse candidates, so I’m back to my original conundrum. No way will I vote for Team Blue under any circumstances.

    1. Fueling leftist idiocy will become less and less important on both sides after the election. In 2016, the leftist idiocy started immediately with a decision that they must start immediately in order to thwart a 2020 win. After election day, I fully expect to see Dem politicians try at least 2 more impeachments as a political roadblock on policy, but they will be far more focused on the next presidential race than Trump. Meanwhile, if you think having Biden in office is going to stop the progressively worse candidates from taking office where you live, you’ll be sadly mistaken. It’s a mad scramble for power, and from that perspective, it doesn’t matter who is in the oval office.

    2. If Team Blue loses in 2020 they’ll go even more crazy, and then the masses will have no choice but to disown them. You won’t get many Blue state and local winners for a few years.

  13. Izzat pic from the movie “Honey, my Narcs Shot the Kids!”? If so it would work as well for Ass’t Drug Czar Biden and Whutzername, the Drug Czarina

  14. Libertarian and Green voters are a much smaller pool of potential votes for Trump or Biden than the humongous pool of non-voters. Try to inspire them to turn out.

    1. The mostly peaceful protests might help with that

  15. Biden has a 2 – 1 lead over Trump among the three people who still call themselves Libertarians at Reason.

    1. ^winner^

    2. Only 2-1? Man, Biden is underperforming Hillary here too. Last time, literally no editor said they’d consider for voting Trump but at least half said they’d vote for Hillary.

  16. The only way for Reason staffers and people like Amash to understand what is really at stake is for Reason to do an article reviewing the judges appointed by the Trump administration and then speculate on the kinds of judges a Biden/Harris administration would nominate. It was the revamped Ninth Circuit, after all, that found the California’s “large capacity” firearm law violated the second amendment. Does any Reason staffer or libertarian seriously think a Democratic administration would have nominated judges who would rule the same way?

    According to wikipedia “ As of September 9, 2020, the United States Senate has confirmed 205 Article III judges nominated by President Trump, including two associate justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, 53 judges for the United States courts of appeals, 148 judges for the United States district courts, and two judges for the United States Court of International Trade.[2] There are currently 45 nominations to Article III courts awaiting Senate action, including 44 for the district courts and one for the Court of International Trade.[3] There are currently 68 vacancies on the U.S. district courts and two vacancies on the U.S. Court of International Trade.[3] There are no further announced federal Article III judicial vacancies that will occur before the end of Trump’s first term.[4] Trump has not made any recess appointments to the federal courts.”

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  17. I have voted Libertarian, occasionally Republican, since the early print version of Reason. I am voting for the first time for a Democrat, the unexciting Biden. It’s an easy decision for me. I can’t in good conscience vote for a malevolent authoritarian who is busily destroying my country. My father called in artillery on top of his own position in Vietnam when it was overrun by the North Vietnamese regular army. Fighting for his life, he killed an NVA soldier with a shovel. My uncle stormed the beach at Normandy. He was later captured in North Africa and then escaped to continue to fight the Nazis. Those men were not “losers” nor “chumps.” The monstrosity in the White House has systematically corrupted the federal government including Theodore Roosevelt’s civil service (the “deep state”), mocked the deaths of U.S. troops, killed scores of tens of thousands of Americans (and counting) by politicizing a pandemic for his own ends, shown an unexplained fealty to Putin, and denied and indeed undermined attempts to counter Russian interference in two consecutive elections. That’s just for starters. Fuck Trump.

    1. So I guess writing your posts is where you end up if you click those make a $100 a week working on your computers spambot links?

      1. Make America Great Again.

    2. So, what you’re saying is, “I’m enough of a moron to believe anonymous sources when a dozen people who were present go on the record to say it was a lie.”

      1. Sure, it’s FAKE NEWS!

        1. Only the claims by anonymous sources who are alleged to be afraid of mean tweets.

        2. So, long story short, Trump said mean (admittedly stupid things) about your dead father, so you’re voting for Babbling Joe and Heels-up Harris? Hey, thanks, man. That really helps the country./s

        3. It turned out it was. Even Goldberg’s admitted there are enormous holes in his story.

          But you probably don’t give a shit because you’re actually a Media Matters fifty-center whose Dad is alive and well and still padding your trust fund.

    3. “…I can’t in good conscience vote for a malevolent authoritarian who is busily destroying my country…”

      And you just said you ARE.

      1. And all the supposed libertarians conned by a glib racist madman slither up out of the sewer.

        1. Why do you pathetic leftists pretend to be libertarian? You are just ludicrous.

          1. Hey, be nice to the DNC concern troll! He might have to back to fetching coffee or cleaning the toilets if he can’t claim to have converted at least one “libertarian”

          2. You obviously have no concept of libertarianism. Economically conservative, socially liberal. Biden is the famous “lesser of two evils.” He’s not evil, Trump is.

            1. “…Economically conservative, socially liberal. Biden is the famous “lesser of two evils.” He’s not evil, Trump is.”


            2. I’m looking forward to Biden’s non-authoritarian mask mandate. One man (or his handlers) ought to be able to directly order all individual americans to do as he sees fit. With Trump gone, I’ll feel the warm embrace of a government mask across my face. FREEDOM!

            3. In what way, exactly, is the Biden ticket “economically conservative”? Provide examples please.

              And what is it with leftists pimping disproven allegations? First Russia now this? I guess you do prefer narrative over fact.

          3. Correct

        2. “…conned by a glib racist…”

          Not only do dim-bulb lefties spend half their lives making up nick-names that embarrass 1st grade kids, they spend the rest of if spreading lies.
          Fuck off, lefty scum.

    4. I have voted Libertarian, occasionally Republican, since the early print version of Reason.

      I don’t believe you.

      1. As if that matters to me one goddamn whit.

        1. Why did you say it, then?

          1. Because lefty shits keep showing up here posting lies.

            1. Reason was a great magazine decades ago. This current version, not so much. This comments section is a cesspool, and you’re circling the drain.

              1. You’re so obviously full of shit. Who do you imagine that you’re fooling.

    5. JFC, it’s like a flashback to 2001 when everybody who was anybody on the internet served in either the SEALS or Delta and could trace their military heritage back to at least 1812.

      It’s like an ‘ex hominem’ logic fallacy where you spew a bunch of irrelevant and even patently untrue bullshit (the early print versions of Reason rolled off the presses at about the same time your father was calling in an artillery strike on himself) in the desparate hope that it some how legitimizes your bullshit to someone… anyone.

      1. And you’re a Trump cultist in sheep’s clothing.

        1. “And you’re a Trump cultist in sheep’s clothing.”

          From a lying piece of lefty shit.

          1. If you support Trump in any way, you are obviously susceptible to the theatrics of a dangerous conman with a strongman act. What does that say about you? Where are your libertarian principles?

            1. “If you support Trump in any way, you are obviously susceptible to the theatrics of a dangerous conman with a strongman act. ”

              One candidate passed legislation to lock up tons of people. One did the opposite.

                1. Compare 1994 crime bill and Trump’s moves to reform criminal justice.

    6. Bull Capital S with a hit.

  18. I cast my first vote as a Libertarian in the 70’s, and was a registered member of the party and an activist and donor until the late 90’s. If this accurately describes the direction the LP voting base has gone, I’m glad to have parted company with them.

  19. polls are borderline worthless.

    Also, Jo Jorgenson is 10 times better than Gary Johnson and yet she is doing so poorly compared to him. There is no libertarian moment, there never will be and never was. The country is full of authoritarian central planners they just can’t decide if abortion is more important than taxes or vice versa.

    1. The country is full of authoritarian central planners they just can’t decide if abortion is more important than taxes or vice versa.

      Harsh but fair.

    2. Gary was a poor spokesperson, but I’d take him any day over someone who subscribes to toxic ideas like critical theory.

      1. This is at the 1+1=2 level, but Gary Johnson and Jo Jorgensen both are better from the libertarian perspective that any Democrat or Republican presidential candidate.

  20. So the one good thing Trump’s disastrousness has achieved is to convince liberals that voting is a choice between two people and platforms and not an exercise in social preening. The thing I’ve been begging them to understand since 2000. Well it’s something.

  21. 215 out of 7.8 million 3rd party voters? That is just not accurate

    1. It’s insane for anyone to try to draw conclusions from a dataset like that. Matt Welch needed to bang out 3,000 words and had literally nothing to work with, so he grabbed a headline from almost two weeks ago and crapped out an article.

      It’s an utter waste of digital space.

  22. That sample size is very small,

    Really, you could have ended the article right here. 215 fucking voters? Across the whole nation? And these are just the people who actually will speak to NBC news pollsters.

    There’s almost zero way you can extrapolate any information from this. The biggest issue Jo Jorgensen has is that she doesn’t have the name recognition of Gary Johnson from four years ago. Trump’s issue is that as milquetoast as Biden is, he’s not driving voters to the polls out of personal hatred like Hillary did.

    1. He’s not driving voters to the polls out of personal hatred like Hillary did

      ^This^ For sure. But also, voters don’t love Joe Biden or Kamala the way they did Obama, so that evens it out a bit. You have to have a reason to vote for someone other than they’re not as big of a turd as the other guy.

      1. I mean, I get why people voted for Joe Biden in the primaries. It has much to do with the Great Awokening, and is encapsulated in this video.


        “On the eve of the Democrat primaries, The Washington Post is the first to attempt to declare ‘racially resentful whites’ as the new base of the Democratic party and Joe Biden as their champion.”

        – Video Description

        And yet, where are the Biden supporters?

        Maybe we will see thousands of them in rallies in places like Cokeburg, OPennsylvania and Sterling Heights, Michigan.

        I have read Stephen King c omplaining azbout so many of his neighbors putting up Trump signs. King, who lives in Bangor, Maine.

        Where are Biden/Harris signs popping up?

        1. At the Reason offices?

        2. Come to my hood-every yard has one practically except ours, even a couple who had a Trump sign in 2016. I told my wife I don’t want signs in our yard, but if she wants to put one up for BH, she can because I honestly don’t give a shit and it might keep our house from getting firebombed if Trump is re-elected.

          1. it might keep our house from getting firebombed if Trump is re-elected

            That’s likely your neighbors motivation too.

  23. No libertarian (or Libertarian) with a shred of intelligence and principle would vote for the party that is out to destroy Western civilization in general and our country in particular.

    1. Ironically, people voted for Joe Niden in the primairiwes in an attempt to steer the party from that path.


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  25. ” One of the main reasons why the 2020 race has been so unusually stable, especially compared to 2016, with very few polling zig-zags and with a steady Biden lead, is that the number of undecided voters has been much lower.” Stable maybe but

  26. A left leaning author cites a bunch of left wing sources and claims Trump is “toast.” In order to make this claim he has to cite all these statistics. Because looking out the front door tells a different story. See those boat parades for Trump? That’s some serious support. Compare that to the Biden support. The ones that can be seen are lighting things on fire and trying kill police officers. The polls are total crap and everyone knows it. Don’t think so? I remind you HRC had a 92% chance of victory on election day 2016. Those brutal mid terms only served to show the people what total D-bags the Democrats in congress are. Even with all the fraud they have planned it will be a Trump landslide.

  27. The Democrats are in favor of Democracy, so they say. They sometimes lie. Their purported Democracy is a numerical or majority rule, and the elected representatives make up the rules as they go along. Go back and check Aristotle’s Essay on Politics and you’ll see that he classifies Democracy under “Rule of Men,” and as a form of dictatorship. Hillary claims she won the election because she got slightly more votes than Donald.
    The Republicans follow an opposing view of government. They assume there is a natural system of laws to govern human conduct, and that it can be discovered by reason. Republicans attempt to limit the effective Rule of the Majority by establishing political liberty, limiting the delegation of governmental powers in a written Constitution, and placing whole areas of human choice and conduct beyond political control. Aristotle referred to a Rule of Law system in which all of the citizens participated as equals as a Polity. An Aristotelian Polity, per se, has never been achieved. The USA is the closest that we have come.
    The country is divided because the two systems are not compatible. A synthesis based on compromise is not logically possible. We have a binary system and no-one should knowingly waste their vote on a candidate who is unelectable. As Aristotle pointed out: 1. A = A. 2. If it exists in objective reality, it is either A or it is non-A. 3. There is no middle-ground or third possibility that is neither A nor non-A. I’m a registered Libertarian voting for Trump.

    1. Then you are not a libertarian.

      Be true to what you are. A Trump Republican.

      1. The Republican Party is dead. It’s now and for the foreseeable future the Trump Party, a brain-dead and shrinking agglomeration of aggrieved and credulous aging white Americans mourning an idealized past. I would welcome the rise of a new and inclusive center-right party with libertarian sensibilities.

        1. This is Hihn, isn’t it?

      2. Just say “No True Scotsman” a little louder.

        1. The fallacy holds if you are talking ambiguity. A tuna is not a cat although both are animals.

          If A=A then define A. There is no way Trump can be defined as a libertarian and he would be the first to tell you that.

          Therefore Trump is not A if A=libertarian. He may have signed some orders libertarians could agree with but c’mon. What I am observing is a lot of people who seem shy about it. I would encourage them to be upfront and honest.

    2. “I’m a registered Libertarian voting for Trump.”

      You’re not the only one. I too am realistic enough to appreciate that we have a binary choice; while neither party even comes close to financial responsibility, the turd sandwich remains the only viable choice if you do not want a bloated government literally crawling up your ass every day.

      1. “the turd sandwich remains the only viable choice if you do not want a bloated government literally crawling up your ass every day.”

        You do not have that now?

        Why give up your ability to be in opposition to the turd sandwich. Even if you died on that hill why give up the high ground.

        That is my open question.

  28. Matt Welch is sort of playing the “libertarian” so he stands out in the woke cosmo crowd…he doesn’t really espouse libertarian core beliefs. As a journey selling yourself to Reason as “libertarian” is easier than all that competition at the Times or Wapo.

    That said I do not know any libertarian or libertarian conservative who is not voting for Trump. Despite his failings he is keeping he bolshevik barbarians out…its all over for the US if Biden and the Bolsheviks take over. The bill of rights is dead. Tribes will trump individual natural rights. Wars will continue and America will like Rome simply cease to exist as it’s citizens won’t consider themselves Americans any more but tribes. Trump needs to hold up the communists until we win the battle and drive the bolsheviks from our shores once and for all.

    1. The article is junk. Unreasoned junk. Matt still signaling to the cool kids that he is one of them. Gtfo.

  29. Third party voters may break for Biden, but that pales in significance with what’s happening with the black vote. Have you checked Trump’s approval ratings with black voters? I could already tell from his super bowl commercial that he was going after black votes, and the republican convention made it glaringly obvious.

    If Trump gets 20% of the black vote, I don’t see how Biden can win.

    1. In addition to shoring up some support from black voters, a critical proportion of black voters do not support Vice President Biden at all.


      Harris is Biden’s “ambassador to Black Activists.”
      Rolling on the floor laughing

      1.)Considering how reviled @KamalaHarris
      is with black voters, she needs her own “ambassador.”
      2.) The fact Biden feels we won’t listen to him proves he knows we won’t vote for him either!

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  31. My preference is to vote for someone and not vote against someone. Personally I can’t cast a vote for either Joe Biden or Donald Trump and will be supporting Jo Jorgensen.

    That being said, if the choice was only Joe Biden or Donald Trump, then I would rather have Donald Trump over Joe Biden. With Donald Trump there would be continual media opposition, but with Joe Biden the media would go into coverup mode as the sycophantic propaganda arm of the Democrat party.

    The Democratic party relies on permanent victim class and promotes these inequalities while virtue signaling their concern. Ironically, the Democrat party instituted the majority of what is now called systemic racism.

    The Republican party started as an abolitionist movement, but has become more or less apathetic. Over time the Republican party has allowed themselves to be labeled as racists by the Democrat party and the media.

    I would like to see both the Democrat and Republican parties to fissure and break into new smaller parties with narrower agenda and platforms. Currently the Democrat and Republican parties are both big government Statist parties that want to increase their power and to remove freedoms from the individual.

    Simply put, Joe Biden is more of a threat to my freedoms than Donald Trump is, however Jo Jorgensen gives me an opportunity to vote for someone instead of holding my nose and voting against someone that is not worthy of my vote.

    1. Good post, and in 2016 I did the same [voted for GJ]; this time around I believe there is just too much at stake to do that, and if future federal judges continue to resemble the last 200 confirmations, I will gladly hold my nose all day and vote for a turd sandwich if it accomplishes that end.

  32. That would set the blacks against Indians.READ MORE

  33. What this poll clearly shows is how wishy-washy people who vote for the Libertarian party candidate are AND 67% who voted for the LP last time are not going to vote for it this year. The LP is not a party that is able to appeal on a philosophical basis but on personality. If they ever want to be a serious party (and I have serious doubts), they need to do the work to educate and convince voters on the reason to take Libertarian-ism seriously.
    But out of all of the above, the most damning part is that so many who voted for the LP last time are now ready to support a hard left turn that will destroy this country. Just incredible.

    1. When the Libertarian candidate 4 years ago openly ran as a spoiler trying to get Hillary elected, why would you be surprised that, in a year when it doesn’t look like a spoiler is needed, they’d just vote Democratic?

  34. “have interviewed 215 voters…”

    That is some bullshit from the get go; “small sample” indeed.

    And for all of Trump’s failings [and there are a few] I cannot imagine why any self professed libertarian would even consider voting for a party that is for anything but limited government.

  35. What’s the breakdown of the 215 polled?

    200 Jill, 15 Gary? 15 Jill, 200 Gary?

    A quarter of Johnson voters “would have” voted Clinton (if there was only Clinton/Trump), but we should believe that Biden would get twice that?

    How do pollsters think that any of this is remotely credible?

  36. I’ll keep it pretty simple…if someone votes for Biden their libertarianism isn’t very strong. Biden has next to no libertarian friendly policies.

  37. Libertarians voting for Joe? Insane. I get not liking Trump. But today’s democrat platform is liberty hating. It was bad enough when drone happy Obama was President and allowed Benghazi Hillary to run amok at the State Department. But holy crap, that is nothing compared to what the democrats are talking about now.

  38. Matters not. The chances of the impending election being considered fair and not a result of mail-in and ballot stuffing shenanigans is remote. If Trump wins it will be the result of Russians or some such. If Biden wins, by a whisker or a landslide, it will be because of cheating. A large percentage of the populace will not trust this election, and I may be amongst them.

  39. Arguing over deck chairs on the Titanic. The American Empire is headed the same direction as all previous empires. The question isn’t for whom one should vote, but where one should move.

    1. I Started My Own Business(Stay Home Work At Home)ReadMore.

  40. Maine will be using ranked choice voting for president this election. It will be interesting to see if there is a meaningful increase in first round votes for minor party candidates.

    Also, this article fails to focus on the electoral college and treats all the impact of all third-party votes equally. Consider, all people considering voting third-party in either South Dakota or Kansas could at the end for for Biden and it most certainly would not change the outcome in either state – Trump will carry those states. However, Arizona and Wisconsin are a different story. Trump got those states’ electoral votes but did not get the popular vote in either state. This year the Green party presidential candidate will not be on the ballot in either of those two states. Voters who had wanted to vote Green there are more motivated to switch to Biden or not vote at all.

  41. Reason site is very good site and great..READ MORE

  42. The fatal mistake the LP makes: You gotta play their game to beat ’em. The opposite is true. Read: “Neither bullets nor ballots”. We win by not playing at all, by just ignoring them.

  43. If there’s one thing libertarians are known for its deciding election outcomes.

  44. Every post is great but this post…READ MORE

  45. I’m not buying what Welch is selling. I voted Jill Stein and I am not voting for the sock puppet.

  46. Crazy or Senile. At least we’ve seen and know crazy. Kamala is John Tyler to Biden’s William Henry Harrison. Regardless, I’ll vote for the person best for the job so I’ll be voting 3rd-party once again.

  47. I can understand not voting for Trump or not *wanting* to vote for Trump, but seriously, who the he’ll is voting for Biden and Kamala? Clearly its a referendum on Kamala becuse Joe wont be here, at least not mentally in four years.

  48. The great oppertunity about this post is….READ MORE

  49. If 47% of registered Ls are voting Biden, well, that’s why the LP is a joke. No sane libertarian would ever vote for team blue. The only people who listen to us are on team red and we’ve had far more inroads with them historically. Any kind of blue alliance is a deal with the devil because we’ve never made a dent. They still want to expand the role of government, regulate the economy, and forget about the Constitution when it’s convenient to them. At least the Rs care about the Constitution and just disagree with certain interpretations or rulings. Those arguments can be defeated and Rs won over to our side; you’ll never convince a D to stop being for big government and the moment you do, they won’t be a D anymore.

    1. Republicans care about the Constitution? How? The cold hard reality is that both major political parties are authoritarian and statist. As for winning “over to our side,” the Libertarian Party is the Harold Stassen of political thought.

  50. I’m sorry for the Western USA for the riots and lootings they have had, but if they continue to elect Liberals Governors and Mayors, they are responsible.
    If the elections where not so tight ….. I would vote for Libertarian.

  51. If you’re looking to vote R or D, looks like our options are old and dumb and older and dumb.

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