Trying to get elected as a third party candidate in American politics is extremely difficult if not impossible since the electing process is not by majority vote. Ballot access is also an obstacle since third parties have to meet additional criteria not required of Republicans and Democrats. Reform Party candidate Ross Perot was able to get on the ballot in all 50 states in 1992 as was Pat Buchanan in 1996. Perot was a nationally known figure who had lots of money to pour into the process. The Reform Party affected both elections but did nothing to advance it as a genuine third party player. While Perot received nearly 20 percent of the popular vote in 1992, he did not receive a single electoral vote. Trying to change America’s political system by running a third-party candidacy is a pipe dream.
A number of Christians are voting for third-party candidates for “conscious sake.” Let’s look at the logic of this in the choice of candidates. While Ron Paul is not running as a third-party candidate, people will still vote for him as a write-in. At least Paul has an electoral track record. He has represented Texas districts in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1976. He ran and won political offices on the local level before he ran for president in 1988 as a Libertarian (while still a Republican) and as a Republican in 2008. He saw the reality of working within the system because he understood the inherent obstacles of a third party.
Bob Barr, like Paul, was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 7th District in Georgia. He lost to Paul Coverdale in the 1992 Republican run-off for Senate, but went on to win the 7th District House seat in 1994 against incumbent Buddy Darden (Dem.) who had won it from when Congressman Larry McDonald had lost his life when Korean Air Flight 007 was shot down by the Soviet Union on September 1, 1983. Barr later lost his House seat in the primary to John Linder. I cannot understand how a person who was not being able to win state-wide and district-wide qualifies him to run for president.
Many Christians are pushing Chuck Baldwin and the Constitution Party. Baldwin doesn’t have a chance, and he knows it. The system is against him. Moreover, he doesn’t have any electoral experience. The same goes for Alan Keyes who has no business running for president when he couldn’t win a Senate seat in Maryland in 1988 and 1992 and couldn’t beat Barack Obama in a Senate race in Illinois in 2004. At least Ron Paul and Bob Barr have won some elections and have a legislative track record.
I can’t see how anyone who has not won some political office somewhere has any business running for president no matter how right they might be on the positions.
So what’s to be done? At this point in time, we are stuck with a two-party system. Deal with it. If radical leftists have been able to take over the Democrat Party and a mini-Republican Revolution was started by Reagan in 1980 and revived congressionally in 1994 and 1996, I can’t understand why we would not put our efforts into taking over one of the major parties. If we can’t do this, then what makes us think we can create a competing third party or send up a solo candidate for president and get him elected?
The old adage that you can’t change just one thing applies here. First, a two to six-year election process needs to begin now to capture the Senate and the House by picking the most vulnerable political party. Second, begin to recruit and groom candidates who will run as reform candidates on a unified competing political platform within one of the political parties. It would help to find candidates who have political experience and some name recognition. Third, bloggers and websites should be started immediately to lay out the specifics of the new platform. Use the web to get around the political gatekeepers. Fourth, build a giant email list of donors, bloggers, information gatherers, and propagators of the party-within-the-party takeover movement. Fifth, keep the kooks from taking over the process. Sixth, the energy behind the effort will encourage other candidates to jump on board. We might even get a good presidential candidate out of the process.
Will the malcontents follow this strategy? Probably not. They will bellyache about how bad the candidates and the two-party system are then tell those who don’t vote for one of their miracle candidates that they are not voting out of principle.
The Republicans and Democrats are in power because they’ve worked at it. If you want to revamp the political system, it’s going to take a lot of work and very few miracles. Are you up to the task?