This time the votes are not a message to the politicians. They're a message to the people: Third party votes are not wasted.
Get enough of them and you have a Schelling Point at the next presidential election: The "wasted vote" meme is broken in the people's minds. A thrid party candidate can get enough votes to win and they know it - so they might just do it.
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"Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job."
That means: For each job "created or saved" about five were destroyed.