Letters to the Editor: Third parties aren’t killing democracy; the electoral college is

A rally for the group No Labels takes place at the U.S. Capitol in Washington in 2011.
A rally for the group No Labels takes place at the U.S. Capitol in Washington in 2011.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)
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To the editor: Columnist Nicholas Goldberg fulminates that third parties effectively elected George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016. This is specious.

In Florida in 2000, the claim that Green Party candidate Ralph Nader’s 97,000 votes cost Vice President Al Gore the election is muted by the fact that 12% of Florida’s Democratic voters (more than 200,000) voted for Bush, and half of Florida’s registered Democrats didn’t vote at all.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, just as Gore did before her. The problem is the undemocratic electoral college, which negates the democratic popular vote.


Third parties enhance democracy; they add to the political discourse and give otherwise alienated voters something to vote for.

Goldberg and the Democrats focus their animus on third parties and not the undemocratic electoral college, to the detriment of democracy and against their own self-interest.

Marc Wutschke, Los Angeles


To the editor: Former President Trump is polling ahead of President Biden in many cases. The only way to ensure Trump doesn’t win again is to replace Biden as the Democratic candidate, not to mention replacing Trump, which would be ideal.

But the two parties are entrenched in their belief that only they can win. Problem is, a record 49% of Americans now decline to identify as either a Democrat or Republican. It only takes 34% to win.


The potential of a third-party to win is limited only by our imagination. If we believe a third party can win and we vote for it, then a third party will win.

And lest you forget, Green candidates Nader in 2000 and Jill Stein in 2016 challenged from their own party extreme — a true protest vote.

The No Labels ticket would be the voice of the 49%, challenging both parties and speaking to the wishes and hopes of the common-sense majority.

Martha Conte, San Francisco

The writer co-chairs No Labels for California.



To the editor: Goldberg is right.

Last time around, heeding the advice of many progressives, I voted for Biden (though I vote in supposedly secure California), hoping that we would oust the former president from our political scene forever. Victory was ours, but it was short-lived.

The former president will try to steal the election again. As in 2020, it will take clear majorities in the electoral college and the popular vote to send him away again.

There’s still time for a vigorous primary season, though, and the Democratic bench has younger, better candidates than Biden. The three contenders for California’s soon-to-be-empty Senate seat come to mind, along with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and others.

We can do better than another dreary rematch between Biden and that guy.

Alan Pierpoint, Arcadia