I recently subscribed to The Economist magazine’s e-newsletter (which I highly recommend). In today’s edition, The Economist gives President Trump only a 10% chance of being re-elected.
Typically, at this point in the Presidential election campaigning, the polls would be a poor prediction of November: there’s usually way too much that can happen to sway voters between July and election day.
But is that the case now?
Back to School
In a little over a month from now, a new school year will be starting up. The options being discussed by school administrators are 100% virtual schooling, one day a week in the classroom, or one week of in the classroom every three weeks.
Although, some teachers unions are saying no to any plan until more safeguards are in place, the bottom line is that parents will struggle to homeschool and keep their jobs, especially if remote work isn’t an option.
A smart president would pull money to put mobile classrooms on school properties and hire a bunch of teachers to come out of retirement to provide at least four days a week of in classroom learning.
President Trump, however smart he may be, is not smart enough to think or plan that far in advance. As a result, you will have even more conservative voters deciding to vote for anyone but Trump:
“Let me say the quiet part loud: In the Covid-19 economy, you’re allowed only a kid or a job.
“Why isn’t anyone talking about this? Why are we not hearing a primal scream so deafening that no plodding policy can be implemented without addressing the people buried by it? Why am I, a food blogger best known for such hits as the All-Butter Really Flaky Pie Dough and The ‘I Want Chocolate Cake’ Cake, sounding the alarm on this? I think it’s because when you’re home schooling all day, and not performing the work you were hired to do until the wee hours of the morning, and do it on repeat for 106 days (not that anyone is counting), you might be a bit too fried to funnel your rage effectively.”
Come November, many of those parents may be coherent enough to funnel their rage at the ballot box.
No UBI for the Waves of Unemployed
In Canada and Europe, laid off workers were given payments far in excess of the stimulus package benefits passed by Congress.
Steve Mnuchen is now remembered for saying the $1,500 stimulus check, which was mailed out with Trump’s signature on it, should last 10 weeks for the unemployed.
Again, Republicans and Independents who become unemployed between now and election day may choose to express their rage at the ballot box.
Science matters now with the COVID response/non-response
“Fifty-seven percent of registered voters in the June 22-23 survey said they do not approve of Trump's handling of COVID-19, the highest number recorded in the poll since it began asking the question in early-to-mid March.”
It will only get worse: the daily number of new cases has hit all time highs for several days this week.
If Trump is a likely loser come November, is it now safe to vote Third Party?
In 2016, the third parties took a combined 4% of the vote: 1% for the Green Party and 3% for the Libertarians.
My prediction is that disgust with Trump combined with an unwillingness to vote Democrat will cause more conservative voters to vote Libertarian. On the Left, some Progressives may vote Green in protest over Sanders.
In addition, Progressives saw meaningful gains in down ballot primaries: in spite of a 40:1 fundraising advantage and endorsements from Pelosi and Schumer, Amy McGrath barely won her primary by two percent over Progressive Charles Booker; and Booker won the in-person count as a result of a late surge.
So there could be a feeling among Progressives, however naive, that anything is possible in the general so vote Green Party over Biden.
What’s the point of voting Green Party when you know they won’t win?
If a third party presidential candidate receives at least 5% of the votes in an election, the party receives federal matching funds in the election four years later.
Meaning they have double the resources for campaigning. Meaning pollsters will include them as options in June and July polling. Meaning the media will cover them more.
It also means that other third parties will be encouraged by this and run additional candidates.
A third party that receives 5% of the votes in November will force their moderate counterpart to move further in their direction: a 5% showing for the Green Party candidate means that the Democrats will have to move more to the left, come the mid-terms and next general election, if they don’t want to give up more voters to the Greens or other Left parties like the DSA.
Lastly, a third party with federal matching funds and media coverage could concentrate their energies on winning over a swing state, depriving one of the major parties of an expected victory.
What to do?
So, assuming you don’t want your vote to result in the re-election of President Trump, is there enough confidence to vote third party—if that’s your preference—and not muck up the November election?