Here I am, Fletcher, again, providing a piece from the place of my own perspective. It isn’t meant to change you, simply offer you insight into a way of thinking you may not have previously had. Take no offense to these words they are not meant to belittle or undermine your beliefs, only to shine light on things you may not have considered before.
In this article I address what is not a new issue but rather a very tested one; the issue of third parties in the US Presidential electoral system and why I do not respect the nature of that approach.
As stated in the title: The Third Party Takes Place in the Eleventh Hour, I will briefly explain how third party politics form, it seems, always at the last minute and why that will never be a moment for change or success.
Third Party politics in the current political version of the US are persistent typically among a small theater of voters for the majority of the time. Very few people legitimately consider them candidates or campaign for them, investigate them or spend their time thinking of ways to support them. No, indeed most Third Party candidates achieve recognition in the eleventh hour.
What is the eleventh hour?
The eleventh hour is the last hour before the final hour, it’s a last minute period. In third party politics, this is when third party candidates shine. It’s how they achieve recognition. The basic premise that; if I am displeased in any way with the candidates that the two functioning parties have put forth I will protest through my support of a third party candidate. At this stage, though, it’s too late. Your candidate will not be elected; not because enough people will come out and vote, but because there is an electoral process that takes place in the democratic system and if it were a train your candidate missed the last one out of the station.
If you truly believe that an option that does not belong to the two major parties should and must be a seriously considered candidate with a genuine ability to succeed in an election, this movement must take place years before the election. Strategy, support and significant campaigning are required to reach the number of voters, delegates and overall political recognition to bring a third party candidate into the arena. Otherwise the closest you will ever get is a third party candidate that caucuses with a party and debates with them in their primaries. Ultimately, even then, your third party candidate will fail, because no matter how hard he or she campaigns if you caucus with a party you must have that party’s support to succeed.
For all intents and purposes, Bernie Sanders was a third party candidate. The going notion is that he was sabotaged by Democrats even though he was the stronger candidate and if not for that interference he would have had the nomination and gotten the Presidency without a fight. That is a self serving notion that disrespects the beliefs of the millions of Hillary supporters who supported her before, during and after Bernie’s campaign. Bernie was not rigged out of the system, he simply failed to appeal to enough voters or to campaign succificiently to turn the third of Democrat appeal in his favor. You are welcome to believe that a bunch of leaked emails prove your potential candidate was martyred on the altar of freedom – but the truth is he subjected himself to a political process in which he had to appeal not just to the base but also the party itself and failed to sufficiently do both. It’s easy to look to the media publicized chaff of ‘Look at all these supporters at this Bernie event’, ‘Look how well he polls against Trump’, and suggest he was the obvious victor and Hillary only succeeded because Bernie was undermined. This is a notion that is embraced solely by supporters of Bernie Sanders, who are looking to placate their bias by any means the social media network is able to provide them. Bernie didn’t win because he wasn’t a candidate or a thought in the minds of most voters until he offered his bid for Presidency and by then, the Democrat party didn’t support him. Only by turning the base in his favor could he win that nomination, and he failed to do so. That isn’t rigging, it’s our political system at work and Bernie was never going to achieve victory with your last minute support.
After Bernie failed to secure the nomination and even after he threw his support behind his former rival Hillary Clinton, a new wave of political support began. This time, it was thrown behind the only two recognizable third party candidates; Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. This was an act of political attrition that had nothing to do with legitimate perception of success or an actual desire for change; it was just a spiteful bid to strike at the Democrat or Republican parties as though somehow by saying ‘I will vote my conscience’ meant you weren’t actually voting for one candidate or the other.
Allow me to clarify for you, again, without any disrespect to your beliefs:
In the United States, we currently have two political parties. We do not have three or four. I don’t support that limited spectrum of political belief, but it is what we have and you will not affect a change to that scenario a few months before the elections are actually due to take place. Do you even know what Jill Stein stands for? What her political, Green Party movement, is about? Did you know about it before Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton? More, what about Gary Johnson? The number of Democrats I’ve seen post favortism to this political candidate without actually seeming to understand the long term influence of Libertarianism was, to me, the most damning evidence of the failed movement of third party choices.
This isn’t about bullying you or forcing you to vote against your beliefs. It’s a message. If you want a third party candidate that will challenge the two major parties to be a legitimate choice for a Presidential election it can not happen at the last minute. It can’t be a write in ballot, it can’t be something that occures to you only weeks before the conventions commence or at the moment of the primaries. A third party, to achieve success, must have years of strategy and campaigning behind it. It must appeal to the base across the country because this is a National election in which the nation’s leader is being decided. A handful of upset college age students that think voting is a conscience based act will not succeed in changing that system because twitter or facebook gave them inspirational and revolutionary memes telling them it would.
You want a third party? That’s excellent. I would recommend that today, more than four years out from the next Presidential election, you begin researching third party options and investigating how to participate in their campaign and spread their message. Four years from now, you will have to be ready to support that candidate, you will have to understand the electoral process and what sways voters not simply at the level of the voting base but also at the electoral level. You may think that Democracy means a mob ruled nation where the desires of a bunch of screaming protestors will yield a change to the state of election but we have a system in place and you can not simply ‘angry’ the system away five minutes before the election.
A significant thing for me to mention here is the responsibility of voting and how your vote actually functions. Not to show disrespect, not to minimize your personal feelings as a voter, but so that you can perhaps understand a perspective you had not considered before.
In this upcoming election, you are voting for Hillary or Trump. Those are your choices. It is irrelevant who you write into the ballot; one way or the other, your vote is being counting for one candidate or the other whether for or in the absence of support. That isn’t political bullying, it is a system at work. There is no such thing as ‘keeping my hands clean’ voting. A person with liberal ideals that decides to write in Bernie or Jill Stein is voting for Trump. A Republican that is disgusted with Trump that decides to write in Gary Johnson is voting for Hillary. The absence of a vote for a candidate is a vote for that candidate’s rival. This isn’t subjective opinion, it’s the reality of a political system that you need to understand before you can change it.
Anger may be a great starting point for many people’s aspirations for the political future of their country but it can’t start five minutes before the election nor can it end in a foot stomping ‘I didn’t vote for her/him’ after the election is done. Every voting American is voting for one of two candidates, and that will not change no matter who you write in. The question is; in your quest to seek political recognition in the next four years, whom do you want presiding as leader of your government? As you undertake your crusade to change party politics, who do you feel will closest represent your beliefs and enable a system of change? If all you can say is a candidate that has no political mobility; that means you neither understand the system nor do you have any chance of changing it.
This is not bullying. This is not disrespect. This is reality. It’s a wake up call. As a writer, I, myself, have my own perspectives on our political process. Not the rise of a third party; in truth, I believe parties should be abolished and every candidate should be forced to run as an independent and be forced to debate and challenge each other as a single body attempting to appeal to the voting public solely through their values and policies; not through a loyalty to a political party.
Exactly what is your third party going to achieve? Be honest. You don’t have any idea, because electing another party to power will not change the system. Even if a third party actually got the nomination and actually got the Presidency, all you would have achieve is bringing another party to power that will enter the system and years from now, become the intractable and entrenched foe of revolutionary political thought. I do not support third party rhetoric; I have no reason to believe that our two existing parties are super powers to bring down if your alternative is electing another party to become another super power. You’re asking me to exchange one dynasty of political rulership for another. That isn’t a solution. In that case, I may as well vote for one of the two reigning parties.
I hope this has been somewhat thought provoking for you and I certainly do not want to undermine the beliefs of those that seek political change. The opposite is true – please pursue that change to your greatest ability, but understand that it must happen in a logical way with a long term goal and years of strategy and planning. If all of your political idealism is mustered a few months before the election takes place you are chasing a ghost and grasping at air. Political revolution is something you have to be committed to long before elections take place; it is a life long process and unless you are willing to see it through, it won’t happen.