President Barack Obama has advised American voters to refrain from voting for any of the third-party candidates who are running for the White House.
Obama, who is openly campaigning for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, said during an interview on Steve Harvey’s radio show on Wednesday that voting for third-party candidates, or not voting at all, only helps Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“If you don’t vote that’s a vote for Trump. If you vote for a third-party candidate who has got no chance to win, that’s a vote for Trump,” Obama said.
He also addressed concerns about Clinton’s support among minority voters, calling on African Americans in particular to line up behind the former secretary of state.
“My legacy’s on the ballot,” said America’s first black president. “I don’t want anybody to stay home thinking this is any less important than 2008 or 2012.”
Obama also touched on the first presidential debate between Trump and Clinton on Monday, saying the face-off showed Trump “doesn’t know basic facts” and is therefore unqualified for the presidency.
Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are standing their highest chances of influencing this year’s election cycle.
Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson (L) and Green Party candidate Jill Stein
The candidates are hoping to bank on Clinton and Trump’s unpopularity among voters, which has reached unprecedented levels.
However, the two candidates’ campaigns experienced heavy blows last week after they were left out of the presidential debates due to what the US Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) said was poor polling performances.
The CPD requires candidates to have 15 percent support among voters before allowing them on the debate stage.
Obama’s call for ignoring third-party candidates comes as Stein and Johnson are gaining more support among voters.
According to an Associated Press-GfK poll released in July, 81 percent of US voters are worried by the idea of a Clinton or Trump presidency and prefer a third choice.
Obama officially endorsed Clinton in early June, describing here as the most qualified person for the top job.