No lack of parties for voters to choose from in November
Pennsylvania are four presidential candidates representing four different parties. They are Democratic Party nominee President Barack Obama, Republican Party nominee Mitt Romney, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.
But there are even more political parties out there than you or I have ever heard of, one being the Socialist Equality Party that has been putting up flyers around campus. There’s also the Constitution Party, the Justice Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, and the Reform Party, started in 1995 by Ross Perot, who gained 20 percent of vote in the 1992 presidential election as an Independent candidate.
Yet despite all this, people complain daily about the injustices of the two party system, and how they’d vote for Johnson if he just had a chance of winning.
If we have a two-party system, then it’s entirely self-inflicted. Political parties aren’t even mentioned in the Constitution, and there’s absolutely nothing systemic about two-party dominance.
Perot polled strongly enough in 1992 to be included in the presidential debates, and people speculate that he would’ve have a much better shot at winning had he not dropped out and re-entered the race only a month before the election. It’s entirely possible for a challenger to be taken seriously and take the White House.
If everyone who wanted a third party to enter the fray and really change the trajectory of the nation went out and voted for that candidate rather than for either the Republican and Democratic nominee, that candidate would begin to be taken seriously and maybe even win a race. At the very least, that candidate’s platform would be absorbed into the current two parties, which has happened consistently to almost every third party in our nation’s history.
The Republicans started as a conglomerate of the Free-Soilers, Greenbacks, Anti-Masons, Whigs, and Know-Nothings. The Populists of the 1890s were absorbed into the Progressives, which were then absorbed by the Democratic Party. Finally, Perot’s platform of fiscal solvency was absorbed into the Republican Party in 1994, when the U.S. ran a balanced budget for four years.
On an interesting note, Johnson and the Libertarian Party have filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the Republican and Democratic parties for not allowing him to enter the debates.
This is entirely unprecedented and certainly won’t have any discernible outcome until well after the election, but it’ll be interesting to see where it goes. Current policy on the debates is that 15 percent support in the polls gets you a podium. This further reinforces the need for people disheartened with our current two parties to support an alternative. We’re not lacking for options, just for people willing to stand up for what they truly believe in.
If you don’t like Obama or Romney, please vote for someone else. Give your support to Johnson or Stein.
You’ll be giving that candidate a much-needed bump, and, if enough people follow your trajectory, you’ll contribute to our democracy. Hopefully, you’ll see your will enacted either through that third party, or through an existing party that desperately needs your vote.