I'm wondering why the candidates at 2% or 4% are still running? Are they doing anything? Do they have to keep running?
I just do not get why you would keep spending money on a campaign that is predestined to "fail".
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Divining motivations is tricky. Without explicit statements of the individuals, or testimony from those close to them that know them well, we are guessing. And even then, statements or testimony may not be the truth or the entire truth.
Jill Stein has commented on this, specifically in the article "Why 5% for the Green Party is a win for America" Link
Her point is that she is creating a movement that will grow in time, and that one should be patient about these things. The exposure of the campaign itself is proving advantageous, and provides for future federal funding.
As we grow, we are coming closer to a tipping point for political change. Just 5 percent of the national vote for the Green Party Stein/Baraka ticket can be a true game-changer for American politics.It will qualify the Green Party for recognition as an official national party, and for federal funding in the 2020 presidential race proportional to the amount of votes received — at least $8 million to $10 million.
She also stated: "It's important to remember the American people are actually clamoring for more choices and are unhappy with the Democratic and Republican nominees," indicating it's important for America to have additional choices and is another reason to be in the race. link
Similarly Gary Johnson wants to sell the Libertarian brand. Quote
Johnson was convinced that if only voters knew they had a viable third option, they just might take it. “Most Americans are libertarians,” he had become fond of saying. “They just don’t know it yet.”
Both candidates have stated that the 5% threshold makes it easier for the party to get ballot access in the next election in various states.