Isn’t it throwing your vote away to vote for a third party candidate who you know has zero chance of winning?
This is a good question, but it wrongly assumes that voting third party can only make a difference IF the third party candidate wins. The reality is this: history proves that while third parties don’t win elections, they do swing elections, and they do guide the major parties.
Consider this: In 2000, George Bush won the Presidency by just 537 votes in the swing state of Florida. Without those votes, he would have lost the election to Al Gore. Also consider that in 2004, Bush received just 51% of the popular vote and John Kerry received 48%.
So with a difference of just 1-3%, both elections would have gone differently.
Realizing that elections are often swung by less than 5% of the vote, campaigns focus on getting just a few percent of the “swing voters” to vote for them to ensure a victory. Both Democrats and Republicans have a base of 40-45% of voters that they can always rely on, so they each try to appeal to those all-important, election-swinging voters in the middle, while being careful not to anger their voter base too much.
What this means for Republicans is that their candidate compromises and moves a bit more in the Democrat direction in order to swing those “mushy middle” voters to his side. And this is why Republican nominees get more and more compromised each year, and the Democrat of 40 years ago looks pretty good compared to the Republican of today (and it makes sense if all you’re trying to do is get enough votes to win, doesn’t it?).
So if that’s the reality for what “works” in politics, how do we change the direction towards principle rather than compromise?
Answer: A small, dedicated, principled 1-5% of the base voters, need to become swing voters.
We’re not talking about “mushy middle” swing-voters, but rather swing-voters who prove to candidates that 1-5% of the usual Republican base voters are willing to withhold their vote from any candidate who does NOT meet clearly-articulated, non-negotiable, minimum qualifications.
Now, pragmatically looking at this, if you were a campaign strategist and you were trying to gain some more votes, would it make sense to compromise in trying to gain 1-5% of the “mushy middle” voters if it meant you’d lose 1-5% of your base voters?
The answer is of course not, when you consider the value of a base voter versus a mushy-middle voter. The 1-5% base voters are the ones who are informed, active, donating, precinct-walking, phone-banking, sign-waving voters who make sure that 10+ other people they know also go out and vote. Compare that to a mushy-middle voter who might decide to come out and vote for you if you drag them, but that’s all you’ll get.
That’s the tiny, election-swinging group of base voters we need to be in order to change things for good. But it does mean the burden is on us—the tiny minority—to be involved and go register our friends to vote, and remind our neighbors to turn out on election day in order to get those extra votes principled candidates will need to win if they aren’t going to compromise to get them.
The strategy for victory
For there to be any hope of change in the Republican Party, the GOP leadership, voters, candidates, and major donors need to see two things:
- A core 1-5% base of informed, active, donating, precinct-walking, phone-banking, sign-waving voters who have a defined, absolute standard of minimum qualifications for candidates.
- This 1-5% base is willing to withhold their vote from any candidate who does NOT meet these non-negotiable, minimum qualifications. (Exodus 18:21 qualifications: they must be capable men who fear God, hate dishonest gain, and have a track record of telling the truth)
It’s true that it will likely take the Republican Party four years to realize they will lose their base when they lose their principle. But we can keep any socialist presidency in check if we remain true to our principle and redirect our efforts from being distracted by the presidential race and focus on electing qualified Congressmen who have the power to keep a socialist presidency in check. This makes far more sense instead of throwing away our time, talent, and treasury on a guy we don’t even like (And remember that a re-directed dollar donation is arguably 435 times more effective when given to a local Congressman, than to a national President).
So today, research your local candidates and congressmen and pick one who’s principled, and then donate, pass out fliers, make phone calls, and make history! Because in four years, by the grace of God and our principled voting, our principles will become the principles of the Party.
History Proves the Massive Influence of 3rd Parties on the “Major” Parties
In 2000, the Democrat’s ran Al Gore against George Bush, and lost the swing-state of Florida by just 537 votes. Meanwhile, the Green Party, an environmentalist third party, ran Ralph Nader and pulled 3% of the vote nationwide, including 97,000 votes in Florida. Democrats blamed Nader for the defeat, as Nader had successfully pulled votes away from Gore. As TIME magazine reported in a headline story titled “Yes, Nader Did Have an Effect. Ask Al Gore” (Nov. 8, 2000)
But what good did that do for the Green Party? A lot. It swung the Democrat’s much further “green” in 4 years.
In 2004, in addition to adding several new environmental goals to the Democrat Party Platform, consider this: John Kerry (the Democrat nominee) was among few who scored a whopping near-perfect “A” environmental rating of 95% by the leftist, environmental group League of Conservation Voters in their annual National Environmental Scorecard (Tying with Obama, and Hillary Clinton who both received 95% as well, while beating out even well-known liberal leaders like Boxer and Feinstein who received a 90% rating).
But hasn’t the Democrat Party always been pretty “green”? The answer may surprise you, which we find in contrasting Kerry’s score with Al Gore, who received a dismal lifetime “D” rating of only 64% by the LCV, which angered many Green groups.
In 2004, just before the election, The Center for American Progress Action Fund published an article titled “Why the Environment Will Determine the Outcome of the 2004 Election” which accurately showed the impact the minority of Green Party voters had on the election already, noting Kerry’s 95% rating from LCV versus Gore’s measly 64% lifetime rating.
This is great news, and history shows us that just as the third party Green’s in 2000 swung the Democrat Party in their direction, likewise this election appears to be the one that will swing the Republican Party in the direction of liberty and principle.
Third parties may not win elections, but they do swing elections, and they do guide the major parties.