There are really no good arguments for voting third party for president in the currently existing American electoral system. To the extent that third-party voting has any justification at all, there are three bad categories. The first is to argue that it doesn’t really matter because the major parties are essentially the same. Dr. Jill Stein, MD makes this argument:
Admitting Trump is the worst possible thing that could happen to the country, she also says that the binary options amount to “death by gunshot or death by strangulation.”
The main problem with this argument, as applied to the election of 2016, is that it is reflects massive dishonesty, massive stupidity, massive ignorance, or some cocktail of the three. American political parties are polarized to an unusual extent, and the Democrats are far better on a wide range of issues and worse on none.
If one admits the obvious truth that there are material differences between the two parties, there are a couple of terrible arguments one can trot out. The first is the hieghten-the-contradictions routine, which deliberately makes things worse in order to make things better. One example is Jill Stein’s contention that the lesson of Nazi Germany is that it’s better for fascists to take power than to form a coalition with liberals. Rarely has an argument been more convincingly self-rebutted. If one recognizes that heighten-the-contradictions arguments tend to be not merely wrong but monstrous, the next move tends to be “vote Jill Stein — it has no chance of affecting anything whatsoever, but will allow you to pat yourself on the back for being too good to be part of a mere political coalition.” Which doesn’t strike me as a very attractive argument, but whatever. It’s not really one that’s easily available to Jill Stein, however. So there’s another variant, the MORE EFFECTIVE EVIL theory:
“Donald Trump, I think, will have a lot of trouble moving things through Congress,” Stein says. “Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, won’t … Hillary has the potential to do a whole lot more damage, get us into more wars, faster to pass her fracking disastrous climate program, much more easily than Donald Trump could do his.”
The ignorance of basic facts about American politics that this reveals is astounding. The idea that a Republican-controlled House would pass Hillary Clinton’s climate change legislation is as stupid as the idea that Hillary Clinton’s climate change agenda consists entirely of “MOAR fracking plz.” Even worse is the idea that agendas are determined solely by presidents, the assumption that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have no agenda of their own when in fact they have a longstanding agenda they would pass and Donald Trump would allow to pass into law because he has no interest in public policy. The idea that Congress would stop Trump from pursuing military adventurism is comically ignorant of history. Then there’s the fact that she ignores the people Donald Trump would staff the federal judiciary and executive branch with, and also ignores that the only circumstances under which the Senate would fail to confirm is if Trump accidentally chose a non-wingnut. And so on. Although it least she doesn’t make the “sure, Republican presidents will do more bad things, but these bad things will generate more Uncle Sams on stilts” variant of the argument.
If you must vote third party because you’re too good for mere politics, I would again recommend writing in someone more knowledgeable about basic facts of American government, like Harambe.