The 2020 presidential election is getting closer everyday. Democratic candidates have been announcing their candidacy — around 15 have officially started campaigning. While the democratic candidates are going to need to find a pretty big stage for debates, the Republican party is running President Donald Trump for his second term. Trump has been talking about his run for his second term pretty much the entire time he has been president. In a recent speech given at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (better known as CPAC), Trump talked about how successful his 2016 campaign was and now successful 2020 will be as well.

The Democrats have more than enough candidates to choose from, and the Republicans have a sitting president. That isn’t stopping the announcement of independent candidates who want to throw their hat in the ring to represent voters who aren’t satisfied with their main options.

Republican Bill Weld, former Governor of Massachusetts, has announced that he is running for president as an independent. There have been rumors of other possible independent challengers: former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan – both Republicans – have hinted at possibly running as independents but have not made any official announcements.

In past elections, an independent candidate has never won, but Ralph Nader, Green Party presidential candidate of the 2000 presidential election, has been credited with playing a role as a “spoiler” in this extremely close election. George W. Bush narrowly lost the popular vote but won the electoral college. If everyone who voted for Nader had voted for Democratic candidate Al Gore, whose views aligned closely to Nader, Gore would have won. An independent candidate has never won a presidential election, but they do have an effect on them.

Regardless of the odd political climate we are in with Donald Trump and disapproval ratings around 53.4 percent, a vote for an independent candidate means that will not change. Voting for an independent candidate will still just be a throwaway vote. Sure, casting your vote this way will feel like you are doing something to protest against both parties and could have an effect by taking away votes from a main party candidate. Both parties, however, hold too much power and have too much support to outright lose to a third party or independent candidate.

It would certainly be a huge stand against the two party system if an independent candidate won, or even just polled high. But the odds of that happening are pretty unlikely. If you want your vote to count, don’t waste it on a candidate who just doesn’t have the means to win. We have to be realistic about the potential outcomes of this election, and we have to take these possible outcomes seriously.

 Mikayla Rochelle is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Mikayla by tweeting her at @mikayla_roch.

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