Thanks for reading and commenting, Fleet! So I do think that some third-party candidates have, in the past, jumped into elections just to feed their own egos. Others, not so much. I think Johnson and Stein are true believers. Nader, I’m not so sure.
That being said, I don’t disagree with your comment about tweaking the system. Unless and until we make a few changes (like maybe moving to a two-round runoff system), we’re probably stuck with what we’ve got. Thing is, though, we live in a very diverse society that features a wide array of belief systems, ideologies, and points of view. In that kind of environment, it’s inevitable that some portion of the public is going to feel inadequately represented in politics. To ask those people to suck it up and just pick a side feels a little unfair to me. I understand that the consequences of voting for a third-party candidate can be very serious, but many people are understandably hesitant to vote against their own consciences and principles, and I think that’s something we should acknowledge and respect.