“These hearts are wireless, This ain’t no crowd control.”
-Nothing But Thieves, “Wake Up Call“
Before the results of the 2020 presidential election, or whatever our definition of “results” is, I wrote an article expressing the disappointment and ignorance of some people who believe supporting a third party is a selfish, wasted vote. With that in mind, Libertarian Jo Jorgensen may have won the election for Joe Biden—even though it was primarily Democrats claiming the choice would be a waste.
A Libertarian strongly believes in individual liberties, free markets and less government among other varying principles. It’s generally a middle-of-the-road party being fiscally conservative and socially liberal, but philosophical priorities widens the gap of which political side a person is more likely to risk abandoning their major party.
Though Libertarianism would seemingly fit the ideology of liberals on the surface, it’s not a system that completely parallels with democratic thought. However, the aforementioned basic assumption created uneasy paranoia within some registered Democrats. It should have been worrying loyal republican supporters, and the argument had already been in place from past presidential elections.
A Libertarian has been on the ballot since 1972. Of those 13 elections there were 11 nominees, four of them being Republican transplants from their respective past seats in public office (Roger MacBride, 1976; Ron Paul, 1988, Bob Barr, 2008; Gary Johnson, 2012 and 2016). The other seven nominees always held or ran for office as Libertarians. The first Libertarian candidate, John Hospers, believed in Objectivism, the system developed by Russian philosopher and radical capitalist Ayn Rand. Hospers was the only Libertarian candidate to ever earn an electoral vote—coincidently, the tally was given by Virginia then-Republican representative Roger MacBride, the subsequent party nominee as noted above.
With this in mind, republican voters were more likely to stray than democratic voters in 2020.
One important factor to consider of the pending results is voter differential in major battlegrounds. Here’s the rundown of the votes that separated Biden and Donald Trump and the votes Jorgensen received in key swing states Biden claimed, as reported by the Associated Press.
Wisconsin: Difference= 20,547/Jorgensen= 38,492
Pennsylvania: Difference= 68,558/Jorgensen= 78,893
Georgia: Difference= 14,122/Jorgensen= 62,056
Arizona: Difference= 10,377/Jorgensen= 51,465
Those four states combined for 57 electoral votes. If the current totals had swung in the other direction, Trump would have earned 289 electoral votes and a second term. There’s no concrete proof that the votes Jorgensen received were solely from fleeing Republicans, but it promotes an argument beyond the numbers just being coincidental.
Also, some Democrats have claimed that Jorgensen may have taken votes away from Biden, and the polls wouldn’t have been as tight if it wasn’t for her “selfish” supporters. On the contrary, Democrats wouldn’t have been as willing to “waste” a vote in the most unprecedented vital election in history—as advertised by the media. The skeptic desperation and compulsive negativity will never fully be vanquished. A win still isn’t good enough, but just accept it for the time being as the country suffers through the petty legal disputes, childish impracticality and delusional conspiracies of a certain incumbent.
That’s something to think about, however. Is voting for the “lesser of two evils” as some claimed settling for good enough? In an election where it seemed many were voting for a candidate to lose rather than another to win, maybe “good enough” isn’t actually good enough.
As reported in USA Today, Jorgensen said that the election was a wake-up call for both major parties, claiming that if she could get both sides to start acting on their respective platforms and following through on their promises, then she would be very pleased.
Maybe that’s improbable at the moment, unfortunately. Maybe it’s time to actually start taking third-parties, especially Libertarians seriously. They may have cost someone an election in 2020, and if enough voters become more informed, the trend will grow stronger in the future, showcasing our diversity and strengthening our democracy.
Some people may actually like what they discover, and stray from settling for stale conformity.