Greetings and Salutations.
Today, I want to take a moment to talk about third party political candidates in America. Because of the political turmoil we are seeing, combined with the flood of Democrats running for the Nod to be the Presidential candidate in 2020, I am seeing a lot of discussion on Social media about third parties. The vast majority of American voters are following either the Democratic/Liberal Party, or the Republican/”Conservative” party. That is, perhaps, an issue that needs to be addressed, but that is for another time.
In the 2016 election, we had a significant number of voters from the Democrats that voted for third party candidates. As far as I could tell, it was mostly a protest vote, because they had bought into the one-sided view of Secretary Clinton, as spewed across social media by Russian operatives, and the Republicans. They ignored her many years of service, and deep understanding of governing, as well as the many programs she had supported that helped ALL Americans – not just the 1%, because their emotions were inflamed by the lies spread about her. While their votes may or may not have made a huge difference, in my opinion, any vote that was not cast for Secretary Clinton was a vote for El Cheeto.
Now then, let us look at the third party candidates that took votes in the 2016 election. Instead of listing them here, I refer you to THIS ARTICLE which has an excellent look at most, if not all of the lengthy list of these people. Skimming through the article, I notice one thing that all but one or two have in common – and that is a total lack of knowledge or experience in government. There are a mayor or two listed, which is a considerable step up, but still a bit weak, in my opinion.
So…while all these people were (and are) apparently passionate about their cause and their plans to improve America, why do I think that it is a waste of time to vote for them. There are a number of reasons.
- While enthusiasm is important…some knowledge of how to govern is vital. Running the country is not like planning and executing a protest movement, or, running a business. It is a very different skill set. The Presidency is the worst possible place to learn on the job, too…as it is a high stress position, requiring thoughtful decisions every day that take into account the entire population of the USA.
- Many of the third party candidates are single issue candidates. This can cause bad decisions, and actions that can harm the country not help it.
- It appears that some of the candidates suffer from the problem that most people have. They assume that everyone is just like them! They are not likely to be able to empathize with the people trapped in poverty, who cannot find a job that pays enough to do more than barely keep their heads above water, or the issues that people of color face in America.
- They have, for years, only popped up in the public eye at Presidential elections. (More on that later on)
Now then…How could a third party become a viable political force in America? I have written elsewhere about the idea of moving to a more parliamentary form of government in America, where many views could be represented in Congress, yet, would stay within the structure of government created by the Constitution. That, alas, will take decades to implement, even with wide-spread support. So, I suggest another, more immediate way that has a good chance of building enough of a voter base that it would have a significant voice.
- I mentioned earlier that the candidates are never to be seen except at election time. That is a killer as it ensures there is no voter base, other than the disaffected, or gullible, that will vote for them.
- I suggest that the people who support a given third party band together, and work to get members of the party elected to City and County/Parish councils. Once there, demonstrate WHY your views will actually help the citizens of that local area.
- After a term or two on the local level, their work should be well known enough to increase the number of voters that support them and their cause. At this point, I suggest they move on to run for a state office – Legislator, for example. Alternatively, they can work to get an appointment from the Governor to act for the citizens of the entire state. This latter case should lead to their election to Legislator. Moving to this level of government will increase the number of voters that know them, and may well support their causes. This is helped quite a bit if the programs proposed and implemented actually DO benefit the citizens of the state.
- Perhaps, after a couple of terms in the legislature, they could run for Governor. This is a good step, because it gives a LOT of visibility, both to the person, and to the programs they support. This is likely to widen their support base among the voters.
- At some point, the third party supporter should move to run for a Federal office – Perhaps a House seat. Or, of course, if they have made a name with their good programs, an appointment by the President to a cabinet position. As with the state example, this should lead to being elected to Congress and holding a seat there for a couple of terms or more.
- Finally, at this point, enough voters in the country should be familiar with the candidate, and the programs they support, so that they would have a decent chance of taking the Presidency.
Although it seems that this is a long and involved process, it is the only way, short of spending billions of dollars, that I can see to gain enough voter recognition and support to have any power or chance of winning in today’s political arena. Although the usual crop of third party candidates seem to be blind to this reality…there is no Royal Road to the Presidency. NONE of the third party candidates have such an amazing set of programs and proposals that any significant number of Americans say to themselves “WOW! How can I NOT vote for this person?” For those that complain that it will take too long…quality is not a five minute process. It is quite possible that the steps I list above could take 10-15 years, but they would work. For those who say “I do not believe this will work”, I point to the example of Bernie Sanders, who, has been a fixture in Congress for years, because he followed many of these steps, in spite of being a Democratic Socialist.
God Help Us All
Bee Man Dave.