John Oliver

Screengrab via LastWeekTonight / YouTube

'Just dismissing third-party candidates as spoilers shuts down debate.'

The 2016 election—or as John Oliver put it, “Lice on Rats on a Horse Corpse on Fire 2016”—has disillusioned a lot of Americans, some of whom are looking towards third-party candidates. But for much of the election they’ve been ignored, not taken seriously, or accused of “spoiling” the election, so Oliver is giving them the serious consideration they’ve never really received.

There are many third-party candidates like Jim Hedges, Dan Vacek, and write-in candidate Joe Exotic, but Oliver spends most of his time on the two biggest third-party candidates, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who’ve both polled nationally. He vets them like he would any Democratic or Republican candidate, and while there’s a lot to like about both of them, it doesn’t take long for the validity of some of their proposed policies to fall apart.

“The more you look at Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, the more you realize the lack of coverage they complain about so much might have genuinely benefitted them,” Oliver said. “Because their key proposals crumble under the slightest amount of scrutiny.”
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It’s hard out there for third-party candidates. They’re excluded from debates, structurally disadvantaged by America’s first-past-the-post electoral system, and squeezed out of media coverage between a well-oiled political machine and, in at least one instance, an actual wall of garbage.
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