Tag Archives: Gary Johnson

Third Parties Lack Votes Not Creativity

The United States is two-party system, meaning that in an election, one of two parties will have the best chance of winning almost every time.  This has been true since the birth of this country’s political parties when the first two parties, the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists, vied for public support.  This does not mean that there aren’t other parties competing in the electoral arena.  Third parties have sprouted up from time to time and have influenced electoral outcomes at the federal, state, and local levels.

However, victories have been few and far between for many third parties in the United States.  This is due to in part to formal rules and informal practices that hinder the chances of a third party succeeding.  A formal rule deals with ballot access.  In order to gain access to a ballot, third parties must gather an inordinate amount of signatures on petitions in comparison to their major party counterparts.  These rules differ between states and have been created by members of the state legislature who, alas, belong to one of the two major parties.  An excellent website that describes how ballot access laws work in the United States can be found at Richard Winger’s Ballot Access News site.  Another example of a formal rule is one that is set up by the federal government during the Presidential elections.  In order for third party Presidential candidates to receive federal funding for their Presidential bid, the third party candidate from the previous Presidential election must have received 5% of the popular vote.  Five percent also ensures equal ballot access protections for third party candidates (i.e. automatic ballot access).  However, no third party candidate has received more than 5% since Ross Perot in 1996.  No third party candidate received 5% in 2012.  Libertarian Gary Johnson received 1% of the popular vote.  Therefore, third party candidates in 2016 already start their Presidential bids at a ballot and monetary disadvantage.

An informal practice that stunts the growth of third parties is that our nation’s history has always been a two-party system.  It is what the public is used to.  From the Democratic-Republicans vs. Federalists to Democrats vs. Whigs and Democrats vs. Republicans, the country’s pedigree eliminates the need for third party involvement in the political process.

What can third parties do to compete on a somewhat level playing field?  At the state level, third party candidates have turned to humor and unconventional ads to promote their political messages.  Here are two examples:

In this 2009 ad, two actors portraying then-New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine (D) and Chris Christie (R) find themselves trapped on an escalator.  Only Chris Daggett, Independent for Governor, can save the day.  The ad won award in 2010 for its creativity.  Daggett, who won the endorsement of the largest newspaper, the Newark Star-Ledger, finished with 5.8% of the vote.  Christie won the election.

Musician/Actor/Entertainer/Businessman Kinky Friedman ran a spirited campaign for Governor of Texas in 2006.  Friedman’s Independent campaign, modeled after Jesse Ventura’s successful 1998 bid for Governor of Minnesota, was as colorful as his professional and personal background.  Friedman finished fourth with 12.43% of the vote, behind Rick Perry (R), Chris Bell (D), and another Independent, Carole Keeton Strayhorn.  A candidate from the Libertarian Party finished fifth.  

What from these commercials would appeal to an undecided voter who may be considering a vote for a third party candidate?  These commercials may be unconventional, but are they too unconventional, in that they may turn voters off because of their style?  Should more commercials like these be produced by third party candidates to help gain interest in their campaigns?

After all, the two-party system is tough to crack.  Third party candidates need any advantage that they can create for themselves.

For more information about the creators of the ads, please visit the site for North Woods Advertising.

2012 Presidential Election Results (Updated)

Here are the 2012 Presidential Election Results (Popular Vote) as of Sunday, January 13, 2013.  Not all votes have been tabulated at this point.

2012 Presidential Election

Barack Obama (D) 65,899,583

Mitt Romney (R) 60,928,966

Gary Johnson (Libertarian) 1,275,821

Jill Stein (Green) 468,907

Virgil Goode (Constitution) 121,754

Roseanne Barr (Peace and Freedom) 67,436

Rocky Anderson (Justice) 43,088

Tom Hoefling (America’s) 40,624

Others:  288,664

What are your thoughts on these updated totals?

Source:  Dave Leip’s Atlas of US Presidential Elections

2012 Presidential Election Results (Updated)

Here are the 2012 Presidential Election Results (Popular Vote) as of Wednesday, November 28.  Not all votes have been tabulated at this point.

2012 Presidential Election

Barack Obama (D) 64,916,510

Mitt Romney (R) 60,493,449

Gary Johnson (Libertarian) 1,266,693

Jill Stein (Green) 459,125

Virgil Goode (Constitution) 119,364

Roseanne Barr (Peace and Freedom) 64,742

Rocky Anderson (Justice) 41,233

Tom Hoefling (America’s) 38,903

Others 225,930

There were significant increases in the vote totals since I first posted them on November 8.

What are your thoughts on these updated totals?

2012 Presidential Election Results

Here are the 2012 Presidential Election Results (Popular Vote) as of 12:09pm on Wednesday, November 7.  Included in the data are the popular vote totals from the 2008 Presidential Election.  The 2008 results are listed in parentheses.

2012 Presidential Election

Barack Obama (D) 59,725,608 (69,498,215)

Mitt Romney (R) 57,098,650 (59,948,240)

Gary Johnson (Libertarian) 1,139,562 (523,713)

Jill Stein (Green) 396,684 (161,680)

Virgil Goode (Constitution) 108,195 (199,437)

Roseanne Barr (Peace and Freedom) 48,797 (116,385)*

Rocky Anderson (Justice) 34,521 (N/A)**

Others 177,996 (323,984)

Vote totals for both the Democrats and Republicans were down from 2008. Libertarian and Green Party candidates saw an increase in their respective party’s vote totals from 2008.  The Constitution Party also saw a decrease from 2008.

*Ralph Nader ran as the Peace and Freedom Party candidate in 2008 in California and Iowa.  However, his status on many ballots was listed as “Independent”.

**The Justice Party did not run a candidate in 2008.

What are your thoughts on these totals?

Will Anyone Receive 5%?

Third Party Candidate Vote Totals

Florida Presidential Ballot

From the informative website, Ballot Access News, comes this ballot from Palm Beach County, Florida.  The ballot, for the purposes of this website, contains all of the candidates who qualified for President in the state of Florida.  As mentioned before on this blog, ballot access laws in the 50 states differ from state to state.  In order to qualify as a candidate for President in Florida, a candidate must belong to a party that is recognized by the state.  The qualification for candidacy is less stringent than in other states.  Oklahoma for example with the toughest ballot access laws in the country, will only have two candidates for President on the ballot.

Here is the list of Presidential candidates and their Vice-Presidential selections as they are listed on the ballot in Florida.

Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan–Republican

Barack Obama/Joe Biden–Democrat

Thomas Robert Stevens/Alden Link–Objectivist

Gary Johnson/James P. Gray–Libertarian

Virgil H.  Goode Jr./James N. Clymer–Constitution

Jill Stein/Cheri Honkala–Green

Andre Barnett/Kenneth Cross–Reform

Stewart Alexander/Alex Mendoza–Socialist

Peta Lindsay/Yari Osorio–Party for Socialism and Liberation

Roseanne Barr/Cindy Sheehan–Peace and Freedom Party

Tom Hoefling/Jonathan D. Ellis–American Independent Party

Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson/Luis J. Rodriquez–Justice Party

Should there be a limit to how many Presidential candidates qualify for a ballot?  Is this ballot an example of how democracy is supposed to work in the United States by being open to many who desire to run for office?