Reality Check: Why Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are not ‘Wasted Votes’

In what has been an election year unlike any other, things could become even more unusual. As we head toward the presidential debates, is it possible that we will see three candidates on the stage and not only two?

Let’s give it a Reality Check.

While most media wants to talk about the increasing lead of Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, they are missing a major part of the story.

This is not a two party race, and for the first time since Ross Perot in 1992, we could actually see three presidential candidates on the debate stage: a Republican, a Democrat and a Libertarian. As that nominee, Gary Johnson is surging.

“If you’re honest and tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything, so that’s who I am,” says Johnson.

So what are the chances that Johnson will make it to the debate stage? It’s still a long shot.

According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is run by officials from the Republican and Democratic parties, in order to qualify to be on the debate stage, a presidential candidate must poll at 15% in at least 5 national polls.

Johnson is getting pretty close.

He has polled as high as 13% in national polls and his numbers in Midwest swing states are even higher. Johnson is now polling at 15% in Midwest states, and here in Georgia he is polling at 12%.

“The biggest message is ‘consider us’ as a very, very viable alternative to this two-party system that has become so polarized that they’re not able to do anything,” Johnson said.

So which candidate does that benefit? Actually, Johnson pulls from both the “Never Trump” and the “Never Hillary” groups.

Right now, Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein are pulling about 21% of the vote from voters younger than 45. But Johnson and Stein actually pull more from Clinton, creating a tighter race.

The majority of pollsters have Clinton’s margin over Trump actually shrinking when at least one third-party candidate is included.

What you need to know is that the minute a third-party option is mentioned in this election partisan thinkers will say “why would you want to waste your vote?” and that’s a good question. Right now, nearly 50% of all American voters are not registered as Republicans or Democrats, and this year Clinton and Trump are the two most unpopular presidential candidates in modern history.

So if you don’t like those candidates, if you don’t believe in them and think they would be bad for the country, why pick the lesser of two evils? Why waste your vote?

Doesn’t it make more sense to vote for a candidate that you actually believe in, rather than simply the candidate who might win?

That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about it on Twitter.