Photo: Mark Lennihan (AP)

In a closely watched but ultimately largely pointless special election, Republican Troy Balderson currently holds a lead over Democrat Danny O’Connor by a little over 1,000 votes for the right to represent Ohio’s 12th District in Congress until January. Because the past is always present, liberals scrambled for a third party candidate to blame for the likely loss. In this case, that turned out to be this guy who walked right out of central casting for the role of Green Party Candidate #1, Joe Manchik:

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Since these tweets, Balderson’s lead (1,754 votes as of this writing) has grown to exceed the number of total votes cast (1,127) for Manchik, the man who could not remember the URL of his own website. That, unsurprisingly, did not stop The Takes:

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Let us consider, for a second, the sort of person who turns out to vote in an August special election to decide who will represent their district in Congress for less than five months. The New York Times reported that turnout in both Franklin and Delaware counties was 42 percent, and in the five smaller counties included in the district, turnout dipped as low as 27 percent.

Now imagine the sort of person who turns out to vote in an August special election to decide who will represent their district in Congress for fewer than five months...to pull the trigger for someone who will absolutely not win. That’s not the kind of person who was ever on the fence.

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Setting aside the fact that O’Connor would still be trailing Balderson even if Manchik was off the ballot and if every single one of the 1,127 people who voted for him had bothered to show up and vote for the Democrat instead—something which would not happen—this take confuses the Green Party with angry Democratic voters.

The Green Party is not the left wing of the Democratic Party; it is its own party. People who vote for it in some elections and not in others may be swing voters in the same way that there are swing voters between the Republican and Democratic parties, but they are not just disenchanted Democrats. Mostly, the kind of people who vote for Greens in 2018—especially in an election like Ohio’s—have a fundamental disagreement with the two party system and lesser-of-two-evilism, and relish in the opportunity to express that disagreement.

In this election, that number counted for a whopping 0.6 percent of people who cast a ballot. In an election where there was a Green candidate on the ballot, Democrats truly could not have asked for fewer people to vote for him. Someone named GoodSpaceGuy was one of 29 people running for Senate in Washington last night. He received 0.4 percent of the vote.

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As long as we have a first-past-the-post system—and we shouldn’t—two things are true about the Green Party: they aren’t going to win, and they are going to get Some Votes. For some reason, liberals have never been able to account for the fact that Green Party candidates are going to get some votes in the same way that Republicans have reckoned with the fact that Libertarian candidates will get some votes. It’s not clear they want to, either. After all, if there’s no Green Party candidate in the race, who are they going to blame for their losses?