New polling results suggest many millennials are shunning both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and embracing third party candidates. Bernie Sanders joined Clinton this week appealing to millennials to come back home to the Democratic Party.
However, maybe former Sanders strategic advisor Tad Devine should go on the road to speak to Sanders supporters. Sanders supporters know Devine and he understands how third party candidates can elect Republicans. He was chief strategist for Al Gore in the 2000 race running against George Bush. The election came down to Florida where Bush was ahead by 537 votes when the Supreme Court ended the count. The third party candidate Ralph Nader received 97,000 votes in Florida, most likely taken from Gore that handed the election to Bush. Younger voters may not remember or be aware of the damage third party voting caused in 2000.
Devine can explain to millennials that a protest vote, a no vote or a wasted vote will elect Trump just as it gave the world George Bush in 2000. We know climate change is an important issue to millennials. We also know Gore has been the leader on addressing climate change with his Climate Reality organization. Imagine the progress the world would have made on climate change had Al Gore been elected president in 2000. Gore has done more to raise the issue of climate change that anyone in the world.
Does anyone believe Al Gore would have invaded Iraq as Bush did following 9/11? Many argue that the Iraq invasion was the trigger that unleashed the Middle East chaos. The world would be a far better place had votes for a third party candidate not given the presidency to George Bush. That’s the message millennials need to consider. Voting third party may make millennials feel they can punish Clinton or the Democratic Party for alleged sins. Some may feel a third party vote is a vote based on principle. Some may just be disillusioned and have given up on voting.
The hard fact is that millennials will be riding the same bus as the rest of us. The driver we put behind the wheel will either keep us all on the road or drive us all into the ditch. A third party vote will likely put an unstable, unprepared and erratic Donald Trump in that seat. There are only two candidates that will be our driver; no third party candidate can win. Millennials must decide whether they want to ride in the bus with Trump at the wheel for four years. Do they want to ride with a guy who verbally runs over women, Latinos, Muslims, Veterans and Gold Star families?
In a recent New York Times poll, more than one third of millennials said they will support Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, or Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. That poll shows Johnson with 26 percent and Ms. Stein with 10 percent. It appears that many of the former Sander’s supporters are choosing a third party alternative rather than supporting Clinton. The Clinton campaign is well aware of the slippage among millennials. They have called out the big guns reminding the millennials that a third party vote is a vote for Trump. President Obama, Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders are on the road this week reminding third party voters or non-voters that their vote will elect Trump.
This election will have dramatic consequences for all of us, including millennials. Hopefully, they will reconsider a third party vote before they turn the keys over to Trump.
by Rick Smith