I have always promoted third-party voting as a way to highlight your issue to major party candidates for whom you would have to hold your nose or cross your fingers to support. My preference though would be to pass ranked-choice voting where a voter could support a candidate or party that embraced a voters main issue without their vote being a spoiler vote or a wasted vote.
In our district (Minnesota 2nd U.S. Congressional District) this election, Marijuana Now Party candidate and organic farmer Adam Weeks received 24,962 or nearly three times the margin of 9,386 that spelled victory for Democrat winner Angie Craig. That he was dead a month before the election apparently did not discourage some of his supporters.
I’d typically use that data to support my theory that third party votes get attention except for the fact that politically conservative Mr. Weeks left a voicemail for his good friend explaining that he had been recruited by the GOP to register as the Marijuana Now candidate. The strategy was that an organic farmer running as a progressive party candidate would act as a spoiler by drawing progressive votes from the favored incumbent Democrat.
One would think that the death from overdose of Adam Weeks and the subsequent reveal of his role as spoiler by his grieving friend a month before the election could be Karmic and the literal “kiss of death” for the political dirty trick; but no, Adam Weeks while spoiling away himself still performed as a potential spoiler in the election. Apparently, 24,962 district voters weren’t paying attention to the well publicized events and fell for the trick anyway. It leaves me thinking that a living Mr. Weeks may have outperformed his corpse and the strategy could have worked.
Had Minnesota passed ranked-choice voting for my district, those voters whose first choice was Mr. Weeks would have their second choice vote allocated to the totals of the live candidates remaining thus burying the trick as deep as one of the tricksters.
Another practical reason to support ranked-choice voting.