Austin Cassidy cited in The Hill’s article on third-party candidates

“Dr. Death, Jesse the Body and the Peace Mom. Oh, my,” begins “Characters provide 3rd option“, an article published today in The Hill. “A colorful cast of characters is lining up for third-party congressional bids this cycle, and it’s begun to make noise in some of the top races in the country.”

IPR’s own Austin Cassidy was interviewed for the article:

The third-party presidential candidacies of Barr and Ralph Nader (I) could help in isolated instances, but they don’t generally cause a rise in interest in third-party candidates, said Austin Cassidy [in reference to the notion that Bob Barr could help down-ballot Libertarians], publisher of the website Independent Political Report.

“It hasn’t really worked out that way,” Cassidy said, noting there were more serious third-party candidates in 2006. “In 1996, Ross Perot tried the Reform Party approach, and no other Reform Party candidate came close to winning another seat.”

Read the whole article.

9 thoughts on “Austin Cassidy cited in The Hill’s article on third-party candidates

  1. darren

    To be fair, Perot made no real effort to recruit or support candidates. The Reform party only fielded a handful of candidates in 1996 and most were for federal office. They did as well or better than candidates of established third parties for similar office.

  2. Jeremy Young

    Austin may be right in terms of recent elections, but looking at the big historical picture he’s missed the boat. I addressed this issue in my recent post on third parties:

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    Here’s what I said then:

    “1) A rising tide floats all boats

    You would expect that third parties would do best in elections where one major-party candidate wins in a landslide, making people feel comfortable “throwing away their vote” on a minor party – but that’s not the case at all. Instead, third parties tend to do best in elections that feature other high-vote-getting third parties. For some solid evidence, look at the two third parties whose electoral strategy has remained constant over long periods of time and which consistently scored high vote totals: the Socialist and Prohibition Parties. The Socialists ran one man five times (Eugene Debs), while the Prohibitionists ran no-name party activists in every one of their elections – but both parties’ performance varied considerably. Debs’ best election was in 1912, when the public was energized by Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party race. Meanwhile, the Prohibitionists ran their most successful campaign in 1892, a year which saw a major third-party challenge from Populist James Weaver. There’s more evidence from other races, too: the Libertarians’ best race was in 1980, the year John Anderson waged a major independent run; John Fremont and Millard Fillmore seem to have aided each other in 1856. To be sure, not all third-party candidates have benefited from other third-party races – Prohibitionist Eugene Chafin was unable to capitalize on the success of Roosevelt and Debs in 1912, and Libertarian Andre Marrou performed poorly in 1992 despite Ross Perot’s excellent showing – but it remains an interesting and well-proven principle that one third party’s good showing is good for other third parties.

    I’m not certain why this happens, but my guess would be that a lot of third-party campaigning is about telling voters it’s okay to vote third party. Once someone like Roosevelt or Weaver had shaken major-party voters loose, it might have been easier for them to vote for some other third party they agreed with more. At any rate, this finding suggests that third party candidates might want to work together more closely in future in order to mutually boost their vote totals.”

  3. Austin Cassidy

    This was actually just a small snip of a much longer conversation, but I guess you have to defend whatever gets quoted. 🙂

    We were discussing recent third party presidential campaigns and their effect on Congressional races down the ballot. My point was that it hasn’t made much difference over the last couple of decades. Perot and Wallace being prime examples. And in reality 2006 was a more exciting year for serious third party and independent campaigns at the state and local level. During Presidential years, the focus seems to be squared on the top of the ticket.

  4. richardwinger

    The Prohibition Party’s presidential candidates in the Debs years were not “no-name”. The Prohibition Party nominee in 1916 was a former Republican Governor of Indiana.

    The Reform Party had more than a “handful” of candidates in 1996 for office other than president. It had 176 candidates for state legislatures of various states. One in California, Dominic Cortese, who was the Reform nominee for State Senate, was a sitting Assemblyman.

  5. thearmyranger31

    The Reform Party lost their identity very quickly by running such ideologically different and some would view fringe candidates of Nader and Buchanon. A mainstream moderate with lots of additional qualities and characteristics is likely the way to go in the futute for a viable third party candidate to come even close to Ross Perot’s 1992 pre-drop out and then drop back in campaign.
    Check out an up-and-coming political movement!

  6. Mike Theodore

    With Perot, the only thing he had behind him was money. Prove me wrong, because I was born a year before his run.

    Ideologically the only thing that attracted was attacking the two party system. Looking back on his proposals…I wonder….19%?

  7. thearmyranger31

    Perot was funny looking and a bit odd. But before he petered out, he was receiving equal media coverage (and buying his own). The reason he even attracted mainstream attention was because of the state of the economy in 1992. Perot was marketed as a economic maven and his personality was interesting enough to captivate people. In short, he was good for his time but again, it petered out dramatically as if he really didn’t want it…
    Check out an up-and-coming political movement!

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