“The problem is structural. We need ‘instant run-off’ or ‘ranked choice’ voting in order for third parties to have a chance.”
I tend to agree with this.
“Without that the third-party vote is a protest vote, a throw-away action, that actually hurts the candidate who would be your second choice, and helps the one you hate most.”
Is it, though? Republicans and Democrats have absolutely no incentive right now to switch to a run-off or ranked choice system because they have virtually nothing to gain by it. It could therefore be argued that the only way to change the system is to get to the point where third-party candidates and their supporters are consistently impacting the outcomes of national elections, at which point at least one of the two major parties would have a real incentive to consider changing the system.
Also, I mentioned this in another response, but I should mention it here, too. For some Greens and Libertarians, it’s not just about winning elections — it’s about building momentum, developing a brand, and perhaps even getting to the point where they qualify for federal funding in federal elections.
IOW, voting isn’t necessarily just about the here and now, but also about building something for the future.
“ I’m all in favor of major party candidates working harder to get people out to vote for them, but don’t pretend the third parties are doing anything noble or precious.”
I don’t disagree with you on this point either, though I didn’t think I said anything in this piece to indicate that third parties are any more or less noble than Reps or Dems.
Anyways, thanks for reading and commenting! I appreciate it!