Recognize the names? Storm Thurmond and George Wallace. They are the last third party candidates to win a single electoral vote, Thurmond got 39 votes with 2.4 percent of the popular vote in ’48 as a Dixiecrat segregationist and Wallace got 49 votes with 13.5% of the popular vote in ’68 as an arch-conservative segregationist. Nader was the Green Party candidate in 2000 who took just under 2.8 % of the popular vote.
Do I have an opinion about the third party candidates this year?
Not much of one.
Because I had to live through the second Bush administration and that colors my opinion of 3rd party candidates who cannot win but can be spoilers. Can I prove Gore would have won if Nader hadn’t been in the race? No. Did Gore lose by fewer votes than Nader received in Florida? You betcha. Pundits disagree on wether that made him a spoiler. Purely my opinion, but I think he was one.
As a nation, since the collapse of the Whig party in the decade before the Civil War, we have preferred to view our Presidential races as A or B, or more correctly R or D.
I may not be thrilled at the choices before us in the two major parties, or be very thrilled with either of those parties right now (and I’m not), but I’m truly troubled by the idea that even a principled vote for a candidate who cannot win might be outcome determinative in a race being decided between two other candidates. If someday, please heaven, we have viable national parties other than R and D, if someone comes along who is willing to pour into a Presidential campaign the kind of resources that can make that kind of candidacy viable, I’ll be happy to reconsider that position.
This doesn’t mean I think you are creep if you vote for a third party in this election for President, but it does mean that purely from my political perspective, I think you are misguided. And that’s okay. I’m sure you think I’m misguided about a lot of things. You are entitled to…and you are likely right. It’s not my job or my goal to make you think I like I do.
But let’s not spend the next few months sniping about it, okay? I may express chagrin…but it doesn’t mean I don’t love and respect you…however wrong you may be. 🙂
Now, let’s all go see movies galore in the three days before this whole thing starts up again and I start posting lists of speakers from Philadelphia on Facebook.