The Right Challenges

In a past entry in this column, Dan Spencer noted how there was apparently no significant third-party threat for President Bush (as some believe there may be with respect to the Democrats and Nader). He noted that the Libertarian Party’s nominee, whoever that would end up being, would not provide a significant challenge to President Bush, and that those conservatives and libertarians in the President’s base would vote for him in this year’s election.

Mr. Spencer's prediction could end up being correct. For several reasons, conservatives and libertarian supporters of our party's presidential candidate may choose not to abandon him in November. A similar thing could be true on the other side of the political aisle as well. Ralph Nader's threat to the Democrats' presidential hopes has been somewhat lessened due to recent events... At the Green Party national convention, Nader failed to get the nomination - it was instead given to attorney David Cobb, who will now have the Party's ballot access in at least 22 states. (Nader is still running as an independent, and also has the Reform Party's nomination.)

But aside from the dealings on the left side of the political spectrum, there could indeed be a third-party situation that may provide problems for President Bush. The Libertarian Party recently held its convention, and nominated Michael Badnarik (rather than the more-famous candidates Gary Nolan and Aaron Russo, mentioned in Mr. Spencer's entry). However, there was another important national political party convention that was also held recently. Last week, the Constitution Party held its national convention in the historic Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The nominee for President was Michael Anthony Peroutka, a strong constitutionalist conservative, who I had read about before. (The Party was not able to get the heroic Judge Roy Moore to run for President on their ticket, as some people were speculating and worrying about.) This World Net Daily news item from about a month ago featured Mr. Peroutka's candidacy, and noted that the conservative Christian candidate pledges to end abortion on his "first day in office"... It also covered other parts of his platform.

Many of Michael Peroutka's principles seem to be those that would appeal to constitutionalists and true-blue conservatives. He is of course solidly pro-life, unlike President Bush, who has been facing criticism from social conservatives - some of whom were, around the time of the Santorum controversy, considering bolting the GOP in this year's elections. (I covered the subject of conservative dissatsifaction with President Bush in a previous entry in this column.) A growing number of conservatives and Republicans are also expressing opposition or doubt regarding the Bush administration's handling of the situation in Iraq, and it seems that many are now wondering if going to war there was the right thing to do. Peroutka was one of many conservatives who opposed this war, and he supports a timely withdrawal of U.S. forces from that country. He also favors the termination of our lavish foreign aid programs, and a policy of limited government engagement in both foreign and domestic affairs. A full platform for Mr. Peroutka is available here. I also saw that one of my favorite conservative columnists, the Reverend Dr. Chuck Baldwin [ChuckBaldwinLive.com] has been nominated by the Constitution Party for Vice-President.

Note: FYI - I want to make clear that the purpose of this blog entry is to provide information and analysis about these topics; I am not making an endorsement of the Peroutka/Baldwin ticket, or of any particular candidates.


The Republican National Committee has said that this year's election will be close - something that they would not have publicly said last year or earlier. And in close elections, every vote counts. This is what we all learned in the last presidential election.

Many people know that the "Nader factor" has been blamed for resulting in a victory for George W. Bush in the 2000 elections. (Many are afraid that the same thing will happen this year... and are trying to do something about this - Check out TheNaderFactor.com and StopNader.com.) It is true that the margin of Nader's vote totals was greater than the Bush's plurality margin in a couple of states, and without the Nader candidacy, many of those votes may have gone to Gore (though whether Nader really cost Gore the election is debatable - there are many things that need to be considered). What a lot of people do not know, however, is that there may have been a significant third-party "spoiler effect" factor on the other side of the political aisle in 2000 as well. The total votes garnered by the Reform Party nominee, Pat Buchanan, in several states was greater than the margin that Al Gore won a plurality by in those states. And the "Buchanan factor" may just have done enough harm to Bush's votes (that is - to the votes that really count) to prevent a quick majority for the Republican candidate in the Electoral College. And when you factor in Libertarian nominee Harry Browne and Constitution Party nominee Howard Phillips, it is possible that third-party presidential candidates on the right nearly resulted in a victory for Gore.

Could something like this happen to Bush this year? Here is a recent article from Reuters about this possibility, and here's one from the Christian Science Monitor.

It is way too early to know - with any significant degree of certainty - what type of an impact that third-party presidential candidacies, on the right or the left, will have on the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. What is certain is that whatever happens as we get closer to November, it will make for an exciting and captivating election season.

We must work, hope, and pray for the best.

Posted by Aakash at June 30, 2004 11:19 PM