Friday, August 05, 2005

Why Third Parties still matter

It was in the mid-1990s when I initially became disgusted at both the Democrat and Republican parties. As someone who's socially liberal, fiscally conservative, patriotic, believes in the Bill of Rights unedited, loves open space, and has a gun fetish, I felt abandoned by both parties.

I see them both as big government, big spending, and in the pockets of corporations rather than thinking of what's in the best interest of the common American. Take illegal immigration for instance. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are trying to bend over backwards to appeal to illegal immigrants while turning their backs on American citizens. President Bush went as far as calling the Minutemen Project a bunch of "vigilantes."

Well, I had already had enough and have been voting Third Party since the '96 election. And no, it's not a wasted vote. Here's why.

1) Major parties steal platforms from Third Parties. When Third Parties get too big, the major parties realize they are losing votes to the Third Parties so they steal pieces of their platform, the same pieces that got those Third Parties votes in the first place.

2) Major parties are often closer to how you feel. If you're sick of the Democrats and Republicans, stop holding your nose and voting for them and vote with your conscience. Vote with someone who really reflects you. There are so many Third Parties out there that chances are you'll find one that appeals to you.

3) Third Parties are not a wasted vote. The only wasted vote is the one not cast. So instead of blaming someone who voted for a Third Party candidate when your major party candidate lost, blame the guy who made an excuse not to make the ballot box. Folks, unless you're throwing up blood or visiting a dying relative, there really is no excuse to miss voting. The polls are open all day from very early to very late and if an employer tries to make you work the whole day, they could be in serious trouble with the law.

So if you still like the Democrats or Republicans, fine. I don't, but you're entitled to your belief. What appeals to you might not appeal to me. I just don't see too many people in the world drawing up blueprints for pirate and mermaid animatronics, and I'm sure there's something you do that I think is weird too. Politics is the same way.

But as I said, the only wasted vote is the one not cast. I would
love to see a Third Party candidate start getting big. Then maybe
we could have real campaign finance reform, an end to political
correctness, and a move forward for this country.

34 Comments:

Blogger exMI said...

I'm with you.

8/05/2005 8:29 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm all for third parties, we need new blood, preferably blood that isn't blue.

While I wouldn't consider a third party vote particularly wasted, for reasons you said, I do think our current electoral system of winner-takes-all prevents them from meaning as much as they could. I live in a "blue" state - I could have safely voted for a third party and not be in danger of giving x electoral votes to Bush. But in a "swing state" a few third party votes could mean the difference between asshole #1 and asshole #2. So the electoral system has to go, anyway. Not that it ever will, at least not in our lifetimes.

8/05/2005 9:19 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

The real problem is getting poeple to vote for a third party. How do we convince people that they aren't just wasting their vote?

8/05/2005 9:50 AM  
Blogger Kunaxa said...

Is it true that all (or most) third party campaigns are funded by either the Republicans or the Democrats?

The aim of course being to 'steal' votes that would normally go the rival party).

If so, does that mean third party officials are mere puppet shows being put on by either the Donkeys or the Elephants?

8/05/2005 9:52 AM  
Blogger Levi Nunnink said...

"the only wasted vote is the one not cast."

Hear! Hear!

I'd love to see a third party gain a foothold. It seems rediculous to me that for some reason the vast bredth of social and political is only represented by two stagnent viewpoints.

8/05/2005 9:59 AM  
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8/05/2005 10:21 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Levi - Stagnant they both are. I'd really like a move forward and neither major party's addressing real issues right now. They're just playing politics.

Cultureshocked - Well, I heard that there was a prominent Republican funding Nader's campaign and the media blew that totally out of proportion, like it's a conspiracy. I voted for Nader twice and I'm considered economically very conservative, so I'm sure there are plenty more like me.

PC - By just doing it. The saying needs to be "the only wasted vote is the one not cast."

Laura - Yes, speaking of blue blood, if I'm not mistaken, the average Senator is now a multi-millionaire, not just a millionaire. Nothing against rich folks at all, but I'd like to see someone in the Senate who knows what it's like to do crap jobs.

As for the electorial college, yes it's outdated. It should be straight up vote by vote for Presidential elections. That way we'd see a Third Party get at least 5% of the vote, which would make a huge difference next time around.

Exmi - Awesome. I'd love to see Third Party candidates win more than just local elections.

8/05/2005 10:51 AM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

I see what you are saying. Like you, I have many beliefs that don't fall "strictly republican" or "strictly democrat". However, I do tend to shy away from voting third party because it seems that the third party candidates get "lost in the shuffle". So what I end up doing is voting for who I think would serve America the best, regardless of if I agree with all of their stances on policies. I also agree with Laura - even though I'm not a fan of Kerry, I am very disappointed (not surprised, though) about how our country is being run. I hope that we can get some "new blood" in office this next election.

I am reminded of a particular South Park episode about an election between a giant turd sandwich and a douche bag. :-P

8/05/2005 11:54 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

I don't have a gun fetish but am otherwise totally on board. Like Laura I considered my third party vote safe as Cali was clearly going for Kerry, but what if the stakes were raised? I think what really hurt third parties was when Perot turned into such a loon during his first try.

8/05/2005 1:17 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Jason - Perot would have made America so far ahead of everyone else that we wouldn't be sweating bullets about China right now. That guy's an economic genius. Unfortunately, he's also a class A jerk. The debates proved that. I came close to voting for him in '92.

Jen - I didn't see that South Park episode. What a bummer. :(

8/05/2005 1:41 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

ZS, I would not entirely agree or disagree with you. I've already said that if, god forbid, McCain gets the Republican nomination I will vote libertarian. But keep in mind, the real chance to make a serious dent in the political system is to vote for conservative/libertarian candidates that are on the Republican ticket in the primaries. Michael Medved has a serious problem with 3rd parties, and to be honest they are dead for the time being, only 3% of the votes cast in 2004 were for 3rd party candidates. Until someone good comes along to challenge the 2 party system I think it's a good thing people don't vote 3rd party. On the other hand, you live in Cali so your vote for a republican would mean next to nothing considering your a solid blue state. God help the dems if cali ever becomes a swing state (drooling at the possibility...).

8/05/2005 2:59 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

jen- that was one of their best episodes.

8/05/2005 3:01 PM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

I may be a little radical here, but ultimately, I'd like to see the party system abolished altogether. Give our candidates the power to run on their own issues, not the back-stabbing, suck-up platforms our 2 parties uphold! Hold a nationwide primary and let the top two vote-getters run in the general election.

8/05/2005 3:34 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Ben - Third Parties swing back and forth between viability and irrelevance. If Perot wasn't such a jerk, we'd have a three party system now. Plus your own state had Jesse Ventura as Governor.

Tshsmom - Ideally, that would be better. Very few people fit in any party. I know I don't even fit in any of the Third Parties.

8/05/2005 4:33 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Nothing to do with your post, sorry.

Are you frrom the big 'H'? I lived there the first 14 years of my life. Miss is so...

8/05/2005 5:10 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

But if we abolished the party system, who would the corporate pricks buy their support from? Come on now, be rational :-p

8/05/2005 6:05 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Leslie - Finished up high school there and lived there again three more times in my life, all for one year stints or less. Still have rentals out there too. You know the Woodlands/Conroe/Spring area?

Laura - We need serious campaign finance reform. That actually would shake things up more than about anything. Limit campaign contributions to something like $100 a person or corporation. You'd be a lot more real grass roots candidates winning.

8/05/2005 6:09 PM  
Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Hey Zomb, totally agree. Usually I vote for the person (which is stupid I know given the party thing). If I can't stand the person, I"m not voting the party even if I love the party.

Darn right a non vote is a waste...Bridg

8/05/2005 8:05 PM  
Blogger Miranda said...

Very nice defense, Slayer!
I agree with Laura, that third
parties under the current system
do not have as much power as they
might otherwise. However, the founding fathers never meant them
to, because they believed in protecting the majority from dangerous minority factions.

Unfortunately, even though many
third parties have rational members, many have irrational
members. If we had a system in
which, in order to get a majority
of the votes, parties would have
to adopt extreme planks to their
platforms, our system might
fall apart, sort of like Macedonia's.

The way things work now are good.
Third parties who can manage
to convince the majority that
they have a point, gradually
influence the major players. The votes of Zombieslayer and those like him may very well bring about change.

8/05/2005 9:50 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Miranda - Actually, the Founding Fathers meant it both ways. The Constitution protected the minorities from the tyranny of the majority. Unfortunately, we have a Supreme Court who wouldn't know the Constitution if it bit them on the ass.

And they believed in protecting the majority from whacky minority groups. So it goes both ways. But I'm glad you understand that Third Parties have an influence by forcing major parties to take their ideals seriously and steal their planks.

Bridget - I too vote for the person. There are good people and whackos in every party. As much as I rag on the current crop of Democrats, my favorite president in the past fifty years was JFK. Weird, huh? So yes, the person's more important than the party.

8/05/2005 10:32 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

ZS, don't remind me...

8/05/2005 10:53 PM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

Laura, I KNEW I was being radical. LOL
I think we should start our own grassroots campaign, with you and ZS as our candidates!! I'd finally have somebody to believe in and wouldn't be voting "the lesser of two evils" again.

8/06/2005 6:02 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

tshsmom, your leaving me out!?!? lol it's ok.

8/06/2005 8:54 PM  
Blogger Miranda said...

Slayer,

Right on both accounts. You always seem to have a very unique, yet very sensible view of things. Looking forward to more. :)

8/06/2005 11:02 PM  
Blogger savage said...

The classism issue has gotten worse; we need to have 8 or 10 parties. Having only 2 is like the weekly newsmagazines. They're both so afraid of scaring off advertisers and offending subscribers that they are worth less than toilet paper.
If one of them actually does take a stand on something it is a big damn issue and then they back off (re: newsweek and the riots it supposedly kicked off) ... even if they're right in the first place!
But I digress.
-r
PS:
Actually we have the technology to have a real democracy, instead of a republic that we call a democracy. But it may be that we are MUCH BETTER off with said republic because of the dreaded tyranny of the majority (group psychology, people are sheep jus' lookin' fer a shepard, etc.) ... Besides getting everyone syncronized to vote on policy whenever something comes up may be "unmercibly" slow.

Actually it would be good to have a REFERENDUM that simply breaks up the two major parties and ESTABLISHES a more scattershot system (per ZS's suggestion).

Pluswhich: (like sandwich?) NOT EVERY ISSUE should be taken up with the President, Congress or Supreme [or any other] court. Most of the time Government shouldn't be involved AT ALL. For instance: look at the IRS and the FCC. On one hand we have a government organization with ridiculous powers and scares people (while you're thinking about that, think about what goes through your mind when you're driving and you see a cop) and the other is basicly (I know, I know, BASICALLY) synonomous with 'censorship in America' do you know what Radio stations are fined if someone -- even a guest -- says the "f-word" ? alot.

Other things clearly need government intervention. Like, say, Mexico declaring war on us. (It could happen.) ...or Canada.
crud, this is too long.
I'll make my own damn article about it with stupit2; see ya there, mebe.
-=-

8/07/2005 3:13 AM  
Blogger savage said...


For the record, I agree with Tshsmom. Why do we even have parties. It's bizarre, actually. Can you imagine a high school or college student government run with a party system? I mean, when a system is basicly (basically, yeah yeah) ASKING for corruption like the party system, … *head explodes*
-r
PS:
Even the comments HERE start to break up over party lines. Whenever anyone says something about red or blue states. This is madness! The states are like brown and green with some blue, mostly. Except in the Winter.
-=-

8/07/2005 3:31 AM  
Blogger savage said...

--ack--! One more thing:
-r
PS:
ZS and I can NEVER run for president and probably neither can you! I don't care what your mother told you. Ya prolly can't be an astronaut, neither; and unless you already ARE ONE, fireman is probably out of reach too! Why?
I can't speak to the astronaut and fireman stuff, that's your thing, not mine. But the reason we can't become president is that we don't have LARGE bank accounts and other people paying for our 'Rob for President' tv commercials.
Damn, I knew I should have gotten good with Detroit!! (no, I have no idea what that means) …
Here's a joke I just made up to illustrate my point:
How many presidential candidates does it take to change a lightbulb?
...
answer:
Does it make any difference?
...
Why did the politician cross the street?
...
answer:
(any of the following)
1) chasing the special interest money
2) chasing the corporation money
3) avoiding a scandal
4) so s/he could point out the flaws of his/her opponent(s)
… the list goes on and on and …
-=-

8/07/2005 3:37 AM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

Savage-Totally agree, MONEY is what has corrupted our 2-party system! That's why we'll never see it abolished, the money people won't allow it. They call ALL the shots! Love "pluswhich"! Did you enter that in the urban dictionary?

Sorry Ben; you're too young to run for pres. Hopefully things will change in the next 17 yrs?!

8/07/2005 6:12 AM  
Blogger savage said...

tshsmom:
Hadn't thought of it.
hm.
-r
PS:
hm.
-=-

8/07/2005 7:25 AM  
Blogger savage said...

Submitted 'pluswhich' to urban dictionary.
-r
PS:
hm. I don't expect much, however. "Pluswhich" it may not be 'hip' enough, like 'copped' or 'boobage' ;)
-=-

8/07/2005 7:34 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Savage - you hit the nail on the head. They're so afraid of offending people that neither of the major parties is any good. They don't want to offend the ones who are writing their paychecks, i.e., corporations and special interest groups.

Miranda - Thanks. And you as well. I like reading your opinions on things.

Ben - Actually, you might be the most likely of any of us to make it to a higher office, seeing that you are starting now. I'm out of the loop politically, more focused on making enough money that I wouldn't have to take corporate donations to make Congress. Grass roots candidates still win smaller elections, but it takes serious money to be a Senator or Pres.

Tshsmom - That's why we need real campaign reform. It can be done, but Congress is too greedy to agree on a real campaign reform bill. That will severely shorten their paycheck.

8/07/2005 9:39 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

The true problem in America is that politicians in the major parties will say anything for a vote. They are too busy trying ot be all things for all people rather than focusing on real issues. Compare it to TV, you can watch ABC and get a bit of everything but if it's sports you're interested in, flip over to ESPN. Just like cable TV, third parties are niches that appeal to a smaller but more defined demographic.

8/07/2005 3:42 PM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

The true problem in America is that few people care enough to actually do anything. People are far too comfortable complaining about problems from the sidelines because the view isn't so pretty from the field. We've become a nation of spectators and no one's playing the game.

8/07/2005 6:50 PM  
Blogger savage said...

PC:
YES! RIGHT ON!
-r
PS:
HOLY COW!
There's even a BOOK that talks about that. I think it is called, in fact, "Nation of Spectators" or some such.
no ISBN -- I haven't seen it.
I haven't read it. I should though.
Just finished Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson. ISBN: 0743233212

Have an OLD book called "Nation of Sheep," however.
hm.
-=-

8/08/2005 2:16 AM  

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