When we left off, I hinted that 3rd party candidates were not a good option.
“But, I don’t like Democrats or Republicans. There ain’t a dimes worth of difference between them. I’m going with fill-in-the-blank”
Yeah, well “Fill-in-the-blank” is not going to win. Not it the real world. Yes, he will tell you he has a shot. The movies will tell you he has a shot. But, when the ballots are counted, in a statewide or national election, he will not have come close. The more local the election, the bigger percentage of the vote he will get, but it will almost never be enough to elect someone to a state or federal house or senate office.
“What about Ron Paul, the US Representative from Texas, or Rand Paul, the US Senator from Kentucky?” They are both Libertarians.”
Sorry, while they are certainly libertarians in their heart, they are both registered Republicans, which is how they ran and won their office. If they had run as Libertarians, they would have been soundly defeated. We are a two party system. Those who play in the third party sandbox, play with the children.
Once again. I’m sorry if that hurt. But, this is the way it works. Third party candidates don’t win; they just take votes away from one collation (Republicans) or the other (Democrats), and maybe get “the wrong side” in.
If you don’t believe me, just ask Al Gore. You remember him, right? Flashback to 2000. He is the Democratic candidate for president. On the other side is George W. Bush. The election came down to which way Florida went. Florida went to Bush.
Bush won by the tally of 2912790 to Gore’s 2912253. For those of you keeping score, and that would be all of us, Bush won by 537 votes.
There were 8 third party candidates on Florida’s ballot. The most prominent was Green Party candidate, Ralph Nader. The Green Party is, as you might guess, the largest environmental party. These are the people that think the Democrats don’t do enough for the birds, bees, and furry critters. Mr. Nader got 97,488 votes. There is no self respecting Green Party member that is going to vote for a Republican. They might vote for the Democrat, or another third party, but Mr. Bush was going to less Green Party votes than George Strait has rap songs. Without Ralph Nader running in Florida, Al Gore becomes the President of the United States.
How about something closer to home? Former, and we will get to that in a minute, Colorado State Senator Evie Hudak won reelection in 2012. The score was:
Evie Hudak (Dem)----35,664
Lang Sias (Rep)--------35,080
Lloyd Sweeny (Lib)---5,104
I will concede this is not as cut and dried as Bush/Gore, but without the Libertarian candidate, it is very likely that Sias gets enough of the 5104 third party votes to beat Hudak. He only needed 584, while the relationship is not as strong as Green-Democrat, Libertarians would likely not vote at all, or vote Republican.
During the high profile gun control debate in Colorado during 2013, the most controversial bill was HB 1224 which limited magazine capacity. In Colorado’s Senate the bill passed 18-17. Hudak voted for this bill. Without her vote it does not pass.
In 2014, two of Hudak’s fellow Democratic State Senators were recalled, directly because of their gun control vote. Evie Hudak was targeted for recall, and rather than take the chance that if she was recalled the balance in power in the state senate would flip to the Republicans, she resigned.
All of that because Lloyd Sweeny, who had zero chance of getting elected, drew 6.7% of the votes.
Third party candidate can be spoilers, but except in rare circumstances, can’t be elected. There are no rare or exceptional circumstances in 2014.
Pick your issue. Pick your side. Pick your party. Vote your party.
This ends my public service portion of the series. Next time I explain my position on the Coffman vs. Romanoff contest in Colorado’s 6th District.