The Arizona Senate race is still too close to call. Republican Martha McSally leads Democrat Kyrsten Sinema by around 17,000 votes as of Thursday afternoon. Green Party candidate Angela Green has registered 39,000 votes despite dropping out of the race and backing Sinema.
It can be assumed nearly all of those who voted for Green would have voted for Sinema if Green wasn’t on the ballot.
Approximately 60% of votes had already been sent in early in Arizona prior to Green’s exit from the race. The Green Party candidate was not seen often on the campaign trail, opting to operate her organic goods and hemp clothing business instead.
Ironically, Sinema’s political career started when she ran for the Arizona House in 2002 as an Independent.
The situation could represent a cruel twist of fate for Sinema, who started her own political career running for the Arizona House of Representatives in 2002 as an independent affiliated with the Arizona Green Party. McSally and her GOP allies often tried to use Sinema’s past against her, casting her as a far-left politician masquerading as a moderate.
Many like to rail against third party candidates, especially if their mainstream party candidate loses as a result. But our founders never intended parties to play a role in government and were especially fearful of the two-party system we have in place today.
If the mainstream parties want to prevent third parties from stealing votes, they should work with third parties to put up candidates that can appeal to them. Sinema could have easily been a unifying force between the Democratic and Green Parties. Instead, she chose to pretend she was a moderate despite her roots that were clearly far to the left. In that scenario, the votes she may have lost for not pretending to be a moderate may have been made up by not splitting the leftist vote.
Angela Green’s presence in this election will further alienate the Green Party from mainstream Democrats. But it’s on the major parties to work with smaller parties instead of trying to simply convince them they have no chance.