Saturday, October 04, 2008

My Take On 3rd Parties

Keep in mind that Independents are really 3rd parties. A political party is a group with similiar political agendas that are set up to gain political power of a country. Each party has their own platform (set stances on political issues) and anyone who is a member of that political party is supposed to also support that platform for the most part.

Sometimes you see candidates such as McCain who frequently oppose his party's platform which actually makes him more of an independent candidate. However, in this country, if you wish to win an election you pretty much have to be part of the Democratic or Republican parties. And since a party's goal is to gain political power, sometimes they are willing to ignore their candidate not supporting all of their platform which is the case this year for example. Many Republicans have long opposed McCain for his opposition to many of the Republican party's conservative stances. However, enough were willing to ignore that fact this year in order to have a shot at winning the election and maintaining political power in the Executive Branch.

To a degree, you also see that within the Democratic party this year as well. Their party platform clearly pushes a separation of church and state, however, Obama ignores this platform issue and celebrates his Christianity openly. Many democrats are upset with him for this stance, however many are willing to overlook this issue because they know it will take Christian votes to win political power of the executive branch.

Most candidates choose to run as part of a political party because they have a better chance of winning because most voters are already part of one of the two major parties and hold allegiance to them. You garner easy votes plus being part of a party helps out enormously when it comes to finances, and publicity, etc.)

Now...on to 3rd parties. There are MANY 3rd parties (liberal, conservative, reform, populist, independent, socialist, and even communist are all 3rd parties here in the US). Some of the better known 3rd parties are the Green party with Cynthia McKinney running, and the Constitution party's Chuck Baldwin, and the Libertarian party's Bob Barr. A candidate might want to join one of these parties for the same reasons as the one's listed above for joining one of the two major parties.

If a candidate wishes to run without the support of a party, they can run as an independent candidate, such as Ross Perot did or as Ralph Nader did and is going to this year. They will have to do the fundraising on their own and will not have the support that the party candidates have from their parties. However, they also don't have to be pingeonholed into a specific platform. Maybe they strongly oppose some of the political stances on one of the party's platforms so they refuse to "sell-out" to win an election so they run on their own to bring attention to their specific issues.

3rd parties draw attention to issues that may be ignored by the major parties. Sometimes if the issues they push draw enough attention from voters, then the two major parties might add it to their platform. Commonly, voters use a third party vote as a protest against one of both of the major parties. Many times they do this to prove a point or protest on a specific issue. 3rd parties help with voter turnout by getting some voters excited enough to show up at the polls. And sometimes having someone on your 3rd party at the top of the ticket can help draw attention to the other candidates of your 3rd party that are running for local or state office. Besides, currently 25% of registered voters are registered as independent or 3rd party. That can make a huge impact on an election.

Many voters are not willing to throw their vote away and allow the party they despise to take control just to prove a point.

The solution:

I believe we should allow voters to cast 2 votes. A primary vote worth 2 pts. to one candidate and a secondary vote worth 1 pt. to another candidate. In this way, most voters would feel safe voting for a 3rd party candidate without feeling that they may be throwing their vote away and allowing one of the major parties that they completely disagree with to sneak in.

No comments: