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Imagine Jill Stein of the Green Party capturing a mere 1 percent of the vote in a state like Ohio but throwing the state to Mitt Romney and the Republicans as a result. Likewise, Gary Johnson need only keep a small amount of the popular vote in a state like New Mexico to keep the Obama campaign alive there.
Ralph Nader is blamed for handing Florida to the Republicans in 2000. That charge is overstated but the popular impression hurt Nader and the causes with which he associates. It will not do the Greens or Libertarians any long term favors to be viewed as spoilers.
The author, Peter Ubertaccio, offers his own advice for third party candidates like Stein and Johnson:
Herewith a solution: don’t. Don’t run a national campaign and take the Nader risk. Run a selected state campaign in those states where the electoral college math is neither at risk nor in doubt. A state that is so reliably Republican or Democratic that your potential supporters know that supporting you will not risk throwing their state to the party they oppose. And then make that case explicitly.
For the Greens, why not focus on states like Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York and the District of Columbia. President Obama won the latter by a margin of 92 percent – 6 percent. His average victory in the first four was 34 points.
For the Libertarians likewise but why not Oklahoma, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Alabama, and the 3rd District of Nebraska. John McCain’s average in those five states and one district was just under 30 points.
A 5-6 state strategy would not earn either party the enmity of a good many of their somewhat natural supporters nationwide because they would not play the role of spoiler. It would give both the opportunity to demonstrate real strength in key states upon which they could eventually build real alternatives.
Read the whole article at the Huffington Post: On Greens and Libertarians