Third Party & Independents Archives

The Biggest Problem For Third Parties: 2008

The fact remains that presidential elections are the greatest opportunity for media exposure. Thus these times are the best times for a third party to grow its ranks. One of the best weapons for third parties in the past has been name recognition. Through name recognition third parties are able to get much more media coverage, and overall more people have already heard of their candidate. But in 2008 this name recognition factor is likely to be non existent.

While we live in a two party system, in this piece I will cut it further. For the purposes of this article there exists two third parties, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, and every other third party will be considered as a fourth party, as all other third parties are unproven to date. Thus for the purpose of this piece when I say third party I only mean the Green Party and the Libertarian Party.

Now the problem with third parties and name recognition comes from the fact that there exists only two prominent third party candidates who the majority of Americans know of, Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan. And in 2008 neither one of these candidates will be likely running on a third party ticket, remember earlier we designated only the Green Party and Libertarian Party as third parties as Buchanan is likely to run on the fourth party ticket of the Reform Party.

So what effect will this have? Unfortunately possibly a very disastrous one. Personally I have never seen a Green Party or Libertarian Party television ad, and these ads are how many potential voters find out about who the candidates are. So without the immediate "celebrity" status that either Nader or Buchanan bring many people will have no clue who these parties candidates are.

Given proof was shown in 2004, very few people, outside of the party of course, even knew who the Green Party candidate was in 2004, it was David Cobb, and still today many people have no clue who David Cobb is. Even fewer, of course outside of the party, know who the Libertarian Party candidate was in 2004, it was Michael Badnarik.

The fact is whether many people want to admit it or not is that name recognition does matter. And this is the one thing that third parties lack. This name recognition is even more important when considering that many people look at the second factor of experience inside the political system, and the only Independent who could satisfy this requirement and garnish a great deal of votes, especially in New England, is Bernies Sanders, who is unlikely to ally himself with either of the third parties.

Well in 2008 we can pretty much count out the "celebrity" candidates, as Nader is unlikely to reallign himself with the Green Party and the Libertarian's chances of getting Pat Buchanan are slim to none. As just stated the experience factor can be counted out as well as the likelihood of the only Independent in Congress, Bernie Sanders, running on either the Green or Libertarian ticket is non existent.

In the end, what are we left with? Well we have the reality that the three third party candidates, Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, and Bernie Sanders, who could be running and bring advantages will most likely not be running on either of the third parties tickets. We instead will most likely see a repeat of 2004, where as both third paries run very good candidates, yet they are very good candidates who no one, outside of the party, has ever heard of, and without the help of advertisement, likely many will never hear of.

Posted by Richard Rhodes at August 24, 2006 10:53 AM
Comments
Comment #177256

The problem with a third party is that it is unlikely to solve anything, because parties are merely the sum of their parts, and too many broken parts in the party equals a broken party.

The real solution doesn’t need parties.
The real solution is to fix the parts that make up the whole.
The real solution is to replace the broken parts.
The real solution is to merely do what voters were supposed to do, always.

Ofcourse, that’s not likely any time soon, because too many voters:

  • are too fond of wallowing in the partisan warfare

  • vote for selfish reasons (e.g. Medicare); they vote for pandering politicians

  • are lazy and merely pull the party lever (i.e. straight ticket)

  • think everything is fine and everything will be fine

  • are ignorant about the issues, and candidates

  • don’t see how voting will matter, and have resigned to the futility to try

  • don’t even care enough to bother to vote

So, what will it most likely take for enough voters to understand the problem and the solution?

It will take sufficient education.

Fat chance, you say?

Not really. That education is coming, and we are on the right path to guarantee that our lesson is on the way … in the form of pain and misery. It is a good teacher.

We have tried:

  • this party

  • and that party

  • conservatives, moderates, and liberals

  • wallowing in the partisan warfare

  • power and corruption (and we have forgotten transparency and accountability)

  • living at the expense of everyone else (while complaining about the danger of the growing deficits and National Debt)

  • reducing waste and pork-barrel (but keep voting for those that bring the pork home, and bribe voters with the voters’ own money)

  • asking government to provide for us from cradle to grave (but complain that bloated government meddles too much in our lives)

So, after we have tried everything else, why not, finally, try the one simple, logical, common-sense, no-brainer, safe, peaceful, non-partisan, fair, patriotic, inexpensive, honest, ethical, and responsible thing voters were supposed to do all along?

Posted by: d.a.n at August 24, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #177397

The biggest problem for third parties and independents is their largely absent coordination and unity on common issues like ballot access hurdles, campaign financing, and equal air time. A new paradigm is arising however, one which I am involved in, which is cooperative coalitions amongst third parties and independent organizations at the local district levels and one even at the state level in Texas.

If this trend continues over the next few election cycles, we could see an unprecedented number of third party and independent candidates arrive on the House and Senate Floors in 2014 and beyond.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 25, 2006 2:32 PM
Comment #177415

David,
That would be great. And, of all parties, you’d think third parties would see the logic to champion the message that D.C. needs a good strong flush.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 25, 2006 3:11 PM
Comment #177825

One way that third parties can resonate with a much larger number of voters is:

Do not mere merely ask voters to “vote for me” (i.e. vote for a third party candidate), like everybody else.

Ask voters:

  • Stop repeat offenders. Don’t re-elect irresponsible incumbent politicians.

  • Even if you don’t vote for me, don’t re-elect irresponsible incumbent politicians.

  • Stop programming them to be irresponsible. Stop rewarding them for being corrupt.

  • See how both of the main parties are truly corrupt.

  • Do the one simple, responsible, non-partisan, common-sense thing voters were supposed to be doing all along, always.

  • Or suffer the inevitable consequences of government growing ever more corrupt, empowered by perpetual re-election by voters that are prefer to wallow in the petty partisan warfare, lazily pull the party lever (i.e. straight ticket), allow themsevles to be bribed by pandering politicians with the voters’ own tax dollars, or don’t even care enough to bother to vote.

IF third parties would promote that message (i.e. don’t re-elect irresponsible incumbent politicians), then third parties would be promoting the most simple, common-sense, truthful, honest, non-partisan, inexpensive, peaceful, and responsible message to voters, which would simultaneously increase the third party candidates chances of being elected.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 28, 2006 1:34 PM
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