Tag Archives: Rick Perry

Perry’s Presidential Aspirations?

Rick_Perry_by_Gage_Skidmore_8On Monday, Governor Rick Perry (R) of Texas announced that he would not be running for re-election to his state’s highest office in 2014.  Some have wondered if Perry has his sights set on the White House in 2016.   Many of those who enter into the Presidential fray, early, do so to win the “invisible primary“.  The invisible primary or the “money primary” does not involve any voting at the ballot box.  Candidates, however, who want to be considered as viable candidates must do well in the invisible primary.  The primary takes place in the  months and years before the first votes are cast.  In it, candidates try to woo financial backers into supporting their campaigns.  Those who fail to raise enough money tend to drop out of the Presidential campaign before the first vote is cast.  Do you believe that Perry’s announcement coincides with an attempt to get ahead in the “invisible primary”?

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.

Iowa Straw Poll in Perspective

Now that the final vote total for the Presidential race has given President Obama a 4 point victory rather than a 2 point margin, it might be time to give some perspective on when the Presidential race truly began.  In August 2011, the Republican Party of Iowa held a straw poll where Presidential candidates met with party faithful and gauged where they stood in the state of the first caucus in the nation.  This non-binding vote gave Michele Bachmann the victory and some momentum for her Presidential bid.  The momentum was short-lived.  Here are those results and what happened to those who competed in the straw poll after it was held.

1.  Michele Bachmann — 28.6% (Finished fifth in the Iowa Caucus, dropped her bid for the Presidency soon after, ran for re-election to Congress and won)

2.  Ron Paul–27.7% (Finished third in the Iowa Caucus, lost bid for Republican nomination to Mitt Romney, retired from Congress)

3.  Tim Pawlenty–13.6% (Dropped his bid for the Presidency after the straw poll)

4.  Rick Santorum–9.8% (Won the Iowa Caucus by 8 votes, served as main conservative opponent to Mitt Romney in primaries)

5.  Herman Cain–8.6% (Dropped his bid for Presidency before Iowa Caucus amid allegations of marital infidelity, works as a political commentator)

6.  Rick Perry (write-in)–4.3% (Finished fifth in the Iowa Caucus, dropped his bid for President soon after, current Governor of Texas)

7.  Mitt Romney–3.4% (Finished second in Iowa Caucus, became Republican nominee for President, lost to Barack Obama in November 2012)

8.  Newt Gingrich–2.3% (Finished fourth in the Iowa Caucus, competed strongly in some southern primary states, continues to work as commentator and author)

9.  Jon Huntsman–0.4% (Finished seventh in the Iowa Caucus, dropped bid after New Hampshire primary)

10.  Thaddeus McCotter–0.2% (Dropped his bid for nomination before Iowa Caucus; dropped his bid for re-election to Congress after petition foul up)

Source:  Iowa Caucus