third party
People attend a speech by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at the "People's Summit," an annual gathering of influential progressive groups, in Chicago on June 10. Photo: Reuters

The 2016 election caused a rift between Democrats. Some remained with “Her;” others stayed loyally “Bernie Bros” (particularly after the DNC hack showed an apparent bias against Sen. Bernie Sanders) and third-party candidates like Dr. Jill Stein won votes that could have gone to the Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

 

The disillusionment with the donkey-mascoted Dems hasn’t gone away and could spell trouble for party cohesion in 2020. A new poll released by icitizen on Monday found that most Democrats said they would likely vote for a third-party candidate in 2020.

 

Founded in 2012 “out of frustration with our current political process and the disconnect in communication between citizens and elected officials,” the website reads, the nonpartisan group icitizen says it hopes to link citizens’ voices with their representatives.

 

The survey found that 60 percent of Democrats were likely to consider voting for a third-party candidate in the next presidential election. Just 29 percent of Republicans felt the same, but 76 percent of voters not registered to a party agreed.

 

American democracy is technically a multi-party system, although two main contenders, Democratic and Republican, lead the pack. (The term “third-party candidate” is used broadly by the author to include any candidate that is neither Democratic nor a part of the GOP.)

The online poll surveyed 1,176 U.S. adults.

Seven in 10 Americans surveyed said they do not believe the two major parties represent them and a third party is necessary.

“Nineteen percent of respondents, however, do not believe that adding a third party would affect lawmaking at all, including 28 percent of Republicans,” icitizen Director of Polling Cynthia Villacis said. “This may suggest general disillusionment with lawmaking in the U.S., but may also point to the challenges of lawmaking in general, either in a two-party or multi-party system.”

About 69 percent of those surveyed reported they would be interested in a new political party with interest higher among millennials (88 percent).

“With news of a petition to ‘Draft Bernie [Sanders] For President,’ many groups are looking to create a new party and make a run in 2020,” said the icitizen analysis.

Third-party presidential candidates are gaining steam, but are often blamed by Democrats and Republicans alike when election outcomes are seen as less-than-favorable.

The rise of Texas businessman Ross Perot might have killed President George H.W. Bush’s 1992 re-election bid. In 2000, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader might have gotten away with some of Democrat Al Gore Jr.’s votes, costing him the election despite his popular vote win.

The icitizen survey was conducted between June 14-16 among icitizen users, with a margin of error of 2.86 percentage points.

The survey did not address how third-party candidates affected the outcome of the 2016 election. Donald Trump won the electoral vote, while Clinton took the popular vote by nearly 3 million. Trump became president with a largely red map on election night.