Post Election Survey of Third Party Movement Leaders; Part One – The Good News

by Peter B. Gemma

6a00d8341bfae553ef019b00baf5c2970c-800wi“I believe 2016 was a phenomenal breakthrough for independent candidates and 3rd parties; the fact that independent candidates formed networks to support each other and to push the independent message is a development they cannot be underestimated.”

That’s Lynn Kahn’s overview of this year’s election. Kahn, who ran for President as an independent, was on the ballot in two states and qualified as a write-in in 10 more. To date, she is credited with winning 5,623 votes.

However, author and political activist Darcy Richardson, who was a candidate for the Reform Party nomination, said he is “not too optimistic” about the future of third parties. “Given the widespread disdain for both major parties this year and the fact that the vast majority of Americans believed the country is headed in the wrong direction,” he noted, “then realistically, if it couldn’t happen this year, then I’m not sure if a third-party breakthrough is possible any time soon.”

The final vote tallies are not in yet, but 2016 appears to be the best election for independents and third parties since 1996, when Reform Party nominee Ross Perot received eight percent of the vote. The combined vote for all alternative candidates currently stands at over five percent (1,787 individuals ran for President this year.) In addition, according to Independent Voter News, “the Democrats saw voter turnout drop from approximately 34 percent in 2008, to 31 percent in 2012, to a twenty-year low of 26.5 percent. Republicans saw their turnout drop from 29 percent in 2008, to 28 percent in 2012, to their own twenty-year low of 26 percent in 2016.”

The Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson’s share of the national vote is approaching 3.3 percent, better than any other presidential result in the party’s 45-year history. Arvin Vohra, Vice Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, asserted that, “During this election cycle, millions of new people have come to the Libertarian Party. These will be our future activists, state and county chairs, and candidates.” Vohra also stated, “We have seen much wider acceptance of Libertarian ideas, such as ending the War on Drugs, eliminating the income tax, repealing the Patriot Act, and getting the government out of healthcare and education. The increased traction of these ideas is spreading our message and bringing new people into the L15042093_10154470068495041_8735109935031337452_oP every day.”

When asked if 2016 was a step forward for third parties and independent candidates, Libertarian State Leadership Alliance Political Coordinator George Phillies answered, “No, we had a wonderful opportunity – given the two worst Presidential candidates in recent times – and we did not get much out of it.” He went on to say:

Once again, [the Libertarian Party] ran a pair of recent Republicans.  Their campaign did not emphasize major libertarian issues, such as the surveillance state and the warfare state. The Presidential candidate was significantly under-informed, and kept passing issues over to the Vice Presidential nominee … [Governor William Weld] appeared to endorse Clinton for President, and his after-the-fact denials were less than completely helpful.

However, the Libertarian Party’s Vohra emphasized that the election, “was a major step forward for our party specifically, and may have also helped other parties. Just days ago, for example, an LP candidate training program which in the past usually had 7-10 attendees had over 100.”

Darcy Richardson did have praise the Libertarian Party’s progress: “One of their biggest accomplishments was the party’s successful petition drive in Oklahoma – an amazing feat made possible in large part by the personal generosity of ballot access expert Richard Winger and the on-the-ground presence of longtime Libertarian Party activist Paul Frankel, who coordinated much of that effort. I believe he is one of the country’s most experienced signature seekers.”

Ricahrdson also observed, “Impressively, under Frankel’s direction, the party collected 42,182 signatures – where they needed 24,745 – some 30,500 of which were deemed valid.  At more than 72 percent, it was a remarkable validity rate.” Of the Oklahoma effort, Richardson also said:

It was the first time in 16 years that the Libertarian Party qualified for the ballot in the Sooner State, thereby giving the party’s presidential ticket a realistic shot at appearing on the ballot in all fifty states and the District of Columbia this year.  That was an extraordinary accomplishment.

Libertarian Party Vice Chair Vohra claimed, “Our 2016 success was built largely on the groundwork of countless activists as well as the excellent job done by the Gary Johnson campaign. That includes the exponential increase in state and county level organization, the incredible work of our social media volunteer teams, and the unprecedented outreach done by the Johnson campaign.”

Rocky De La Fuente, the presidential candidate of both the Reform Party and the America Delta Party, and who earned more than 32,000 votes in the election, observed, “2016 was a step forward for third parties and independent candidates. We saw some upward movement among third party candidates that was helped by the historically weak nominees offered by the two major parties. However, the two next-most ‘favored’ parties, the Libertarians and the Greens, enjoyed most of that movement. They offered candidates who brought nothing new to the race. In fact both parties faded from the scene months before the election, but they’re seemingly happy to finish in their traditional third and fourth places.”

De La Fuente, whose name appeared on 20 state ballots and who qualified as a write-in in 16 more, continued, “Had either of these parties offered a stronger candidate with fresh ideas and the tenacity to fight until the end, perhaps they would have won a few states and potentially thrown the election into the House of Representatives. Instead, we only saw modest progress while witnessing what was potentially a ‘perfect storm’ in a political sense.”

third-party-candidates-f6e2f7484623a225Prohibition Party nominee Jim Hedges agrees: “I suspect that 3rd party results this year were partly due to widespread voter disgust, even despair, with the poor quality of major-party candidates.” Hedges, qualified as a write-in candidate in five states and was on the ballot in three more. The Prohibition Party garnered more than 5,500 votes – its best showing since 1988. In June, he ran a strong race in California’s American Independent Party presidential primary, tallying 11 percent of the vote.

Constitution Party Chairman Frank Fluckiger says his 25-year-old party may surpass its all-time high vote as well [in 2008, Rev. Chuck Baldwin captured 199,304, votes.] “It is clear that interest in the party is increasing.  In every case each state in which we were on the ballot in both elections [2012 and 2016], the vote totals increased.”  Fluckiger also said, “2016 was a very good year for the Constitution Party. Other third parties – the Libertarian Party in particular – seemed to have serious morale problems.  Numerous times we were told by members of that party that they intended to vote for the [Darrell] Castle-[Scott] Bradley ticket since they were most unhappy with many of the stands on issued taken by the Libertarian ticket.”

Darrell Castle, the Constitution Party nominee, stated, “2016 was the greatest opportunity for 3rd parties in history. Unfortunately, some were not ready to take advantage of it. Many members decided to openly support the opposition perhaps not realizing the chance to make their party viable for the first time.” Castle also said, “One prominent 3rd party went down the ‘big name’ route instead of picking someone who truly reflected their party’s stated values. This was a misunderstanding of the true depth of dissatisfaction among disaffected people of the two major parties, especially the Republicans.”

American Solidarity Party (ASP) presidential nominee Mike Maturen is upbeat about the impact of 3rd parties on the 2016 election. He said, “We are very proud of the fact that we were able to not only gain access to the Colorado ballot, but were able to be authorized as write-ins on the ballots of 27 other states.  Our party was not only able to not only recruit members in all 50 states – and state chapters in 38 states – but we were able to get a great deal of positive press, not only here in the United States, but internationally as well.”

ASP Chairman Matthew Bartko pointed to the passage of Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting Initiative 7b61c28b8b20f7f80e3f99f810b39ce1as a measure of success for third parties. The instant-runoff voting initiative establishes ranked-choice voting for federal and statewide candidates excluding President. “This is a great step in the right direction for election reform,” Banko stated, ‘but we know that this is a long game and there is so much work to do. But we are here for the long haul and we are in it to win it.”

Darcy Richardson also commented that, “The Progressive Party of Vermont was clearly a big winner on November 8th, but of the nationally-organized minor parties, my hat is off to the Greens for scratching and clawing their way onto the ballot in 44 states and the District of Columbia – a record for that left-leaning party.  Despite heartbreaking setbacks in Nevada and Georgia, it was an incredible achievement.  Much of the party’s success, of course, was due to the efforts of longtime Green Party activist Rick Lass of New Mexico, the party’s national ballot access coordinator.”

Libertarian Party Vice Chair Arvin Vohra is optimistic about the third party movement: “I have never before seen this level of enthusiasm, organization, dedication to principle, and passion in any organization, including the Libertarian Party.”

Mike Maturen is confident as well: “I believe the vicious campaign of 2016 contributed more to the growth of third parties than just about anything in the past few decades.  People are tired of the divisiveness and hatred.  They are looking for a political home where they can discuss ideas and policies without being attacked and vilified.”

Constitution Party presidential candidate Darrell Castle is cautious however: “The Constitution Party and other 3rd parties will have to reexamine their commitment to the cause of liberty if they want to have any meaningful future.” Darcy Richardson reminds third party activists that “the dearth of third-party candidates in this year’s congressional and state legislative races was also disappointing.” And Rocky De La Fuente adds this observation on the future prospects of the third party movement: “It will depend on what the parties do with the opportunity that has been presented. We have the opportunity to exploit the exposure we received.”

Finally, Joe Miller, Libertarian Party nominee for U.S. Senate in Alaska – who received the highest vote as Libertarian in the national party’s history – assesses the situation this way: “Whether 2016 acts as a roadblock or change-point depends almost entirely on whether Trump governs as the anti-Establishment candidate he campaigned as. A Trump failure – especially one caused by the GOP – will create unparalleled opportunities for a viable third party candidate in 2020.”

58 thoughts on “Post Election Survey of Third Party Movement Leaders; Part One – The Good News

  1. Mike

    Sad but true point by Mr. RIchardson. If 3rd parties couldn’t attract voters looking for an alternative in an election like this one, then what would it take?

  2. NewFederalist

    I find myself in agreement with Professor Phillies. If minor party nominees and independent candidates couldn’t do splendidly in 2016 then when? These two major party nominees were the absolute worst in my lifetime and I’m an old fart!

  3. George Phillies

    Mike: Better candidates.

    NewFederalist: First ask what the objective of a Libertarian Presidential campaign should be at this time.

  4. AMcCarrick

    “Once again, [the Libertarian Party] ran a pair of recent Republicans. Their campaign did not emphasize major libertarian issues, such as the surveillance state and the warfare state.”

    Really? Johnson didn’t shut up about abolishing the NSA and TSA, and getting us out of the Middle East and shutting down bases. As is typical of Libertarians, they refuse to listen to their own candidates messaging …. the fucking irony. You just out right reject a candidate because they weren’t your preferred convention pick, and then ignore ALL of their messaging.

  5. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    It’s not enough that Americans hate both major party candidates. For third parties to make gains, Americans must hate both major party candidates equally. If Americans prefer one hated candidate over the other hated candidate, then the wasted vote syndrome kicks in.

  6. AMcCarrick

    Mike all it takes is competency in party leadership, which there is very little in every third party. No third party does data analysis on demographics, historical elections…. no third party has a national committee that cares about any race, at any level… there’s zero effort to coordinate joint campaign events, especially with existing elected officials. None of them to do effective market research. None of them produce effective websites….. none of them even remotely contribute to even the proof reading of candidate websites, or try to maintain a consistent message between candidates.

    Third parties don’t get elected because there’s zero effort to coordinate anything effectively. And there’s zero strategic planning. The extent of planning by third parties seems to be throw darts at anything and everything and hopefully something stick…. YOU CAN’T DO THAT WITHOUT THE FUNDS THE LARGER PARTIES HAVE.

    You need three major things;
    1) data analysis on demographics, historical data, etc. done by the state and national committees (which is shared with the candidates),
    2) a staff committee editor for ALL campaign, candidate, and committee websites, and
    3) the production of joint candidate events.

    From there setting up local print, television, and radio media (actually owned by the parties, or by individuals sympathetic to the ideology), and producing effective online video and audio content that people can actually find and want to watch/listen to is also vital.

    Disorder is the name of the game for third parties.

  7. Bondurant

    Every office, on every ballot, needs to have NOTA as an option and it needs to be binding. Nearly half of the nation does not consent to the options forced upon them. NOTA would be a great way to force reform and give most Americans a voice and the power to initiate actual change.

  8. Richard Winger

    The big deal of this year’s election for me is that finally a state passed Instant Runoff Voting. I hope that the Maine idea is well-received in that state in 2018, and that the idea spreads. The second big deal of this year’s election is renewed interest in the National Popular Vote Plan and the publicity about how bad the electoral college works.

    Also the fact that the Libertarian Party is on the ballot for 2018 in 38 states is very big. No third party has been ballot-qualified immediately after an election in that many states since the 1910’s decade. And I am optimistic that the Ohio Libertarian Party will win its pending lawsuit in state court.

  9. Andy

    “Richard Winger
    November 22, 2016 at 21:41
    The big deal of this year’s election for me is that finally a state passed Instant Runoff Voting. I hope that the Maine idea is well-received in that state in 2018, and that the idea spreads.”

    I totally agree with you here. The passage of Instant Runoff Voting in Maine is a very good thing for minor party and independent candidates. I hope that the Libertarian Party of Maine gets it together enough to take advantage of this. It would be great to see Instant Runoff Voting spread to other states.

  10. Joe

    I like the instant runoff voting in Maine, but I disagree with you Richard that the electoral college is bad.. It does need tweaked, but national popular vote would be a mess in my opinion…I would like to see the states do away with winner take all in the electoral college. I would like to see it replaced with either proportionality or award an electoral vote for each congressional dist. with the overall state winner getting the extra two for the senators. What are your thoughts on that?

  11. Karl T. Knight

    I also agree that its good that Instant Runoff Voting is moving forward, but I am in favor of keeping the Electoral College. Its positives outweigh its negatives.

  12. George Phillies

    Runoff Voting…Top Two mod A. It means that in order to win you need absolute majority support not plurality support.

  13. dL

    Really? Johnson didn’t shut up about abolishing the NSA and TSA, and getting us out of the Middle East and shutting down bases.

    2012 Johnson did. 2016 Johnson pre-convention occasionally did. Post-convention, TeamGov’s public advocacy of abolishing the NSA or TSA dwindled to zero.It certainly wasn’t on the website. The only foreign policy position they held outside the conventional status quo was an opposition to regime change, with the possible exception of N. Korea. Johnson’ s rhetoric on N. Korea seemed to imply a support for toppling that regime.

    Weld never blew an opportunity when discussing foreign policy to assure anyone listening that he had no intention of questioning the need for absolute military and intelligence organ supremacy of the United States government . And Johnson never blew an opportunity when discussing foreign policy to assure listeners that combating ISIS was at the forefront of his thinking.

  14. Tony From Long Island

    Joe: ” . . . . disagree with you Richard that the electoral college is bad.. , but national popular vote would be a mess in my opinion…I would like to see the states do away with winner take all in the electoral college. I would like to see it replaced with either proportionality or award an electoral vote for each congressional dist. . . . .”

    Joe – How would a popular vote be a mess? Elections are statewide. Just add em up. Recounts? So do recounts, no matter how time consuming it takes. There would be no recount this year. Mrs. Clinton now has 2,027,563 more votes than the “winner.”

    The electoral college is the most un-democratic thing in this so-called democracy (yes, I know it’s a republic and not a democracy).

    Congressional districts? That would be ten times worse than the current terrible system. You think gerrymandering is bad now? Gerrymandering is a scourge on this country – the most blatantly political garbage ever conceived – thanks Elbridge Gerry.

    What so-called “advanced” society on this planet elects a leader who doesn’t get the most votes? Only the United States.

  15. Tony From Long Island

    Jorge Phillies: ” . . . . Their campaign did not emphasize major libertarian issues, such as the surveillance state and the warfare state. . . . .”

    I seem to recall Gov. Johnson talking about these issues quite a bit. Also, why would any article seek the opinion of someone who clearly did not like the LP candidates from the start?

    This is one of my frequent critiques of the LP. Even when they do well, they still complain about it. Gov. Johnson out-performed any previous LP candidate by a mile. He received more media than any previous LP candidate by 10 miles. His candidacy helped lower the costs of future ballot access. This is more than any realistic expectation.

  16. Tony From Long Island

    Instant Runoff Voting is great. I hope it does well in Maine so others take notice.

  17. Thomas Knapp


    You’re right that the gerrymander sucks. But there’s no particular reason it can’t be done away with. Robert Bork, who I was not a fan of on most things, was once tasked with proposing a method for redistricting. The plan he came up with was to have a computer program start in one corner of a state and draw the squarest possible districts moving outward from that corner based on population data. The court which had asked him for a proposal ended up rejecting that one, but it makes sense.

    Another way of fixing the gerrymander — one which is not compatible with awarding electoral votes by district — is to just get rid of districts and elect all US representatives at large statewide, e.g. if a state gets five representatives, there’s a statewide election and the top five vote-getters go to Congress. Part of the logic of districting was that most news moved at the speed of newspaper distribution, with the papers getting their non-local news by horseback or later by telegraph. These days, news moves at almost the speed of light, so it’s not as necessary for representation to be apportioned into smaller areas.

  18. Bondurant

    Scenario: Trump wins popular vote, Hillary wins Electoral College

    I imagine Tony from Long Island would be claiming the Electoral College was a safety net to sustain democracy.

    I wasn’t aware of the IRV proposal in Maine. Happy to read about it and that it won. I’d love to have IRV.

  19. Tony From Long Island

    Hmm United “States” . . . . Sorta defeats the purpose . . .

    TK – that Bork proposal is very similar to what I’ve been saying. Make them as Square as geographically possible regardless of who lives there.

    As for your “at-large” suggestion, I would oppose that because I feel that a congressional representative should live near the people he is representing. Someone from Los Angeles doesn’t exactly have a finger on the pulse of the people of Eureka.

  20. NewFederalist

    “Hmm United “States” . . . . Sorta defeats the purpose . . .” – Tony From Long Island

    Why? If progress and continuous improvement is the goal what role do states play?

  21. Tony From Long Island

    call them, states, provinces, counties etc., . . . Is there a geographically large country not broken up into some sort of sub-divisions?

  22. Joe

    I agree that gerrymandering has to be dealt with, as does ballot access. My point about the popular vote, is dealing just with the presidential election. The top 10 states and top 15 metro areas would completely dominate politics. That is where I think it would be a mess. The policies would have no regard for rural folks and I fear that the majority (51%) would rule over the minority with no protections in place. I don’t think this would happen over night, but within a decade i feel that it would. Also in order to protect what little state sovereignty is left for the states. As far as how to distribute electoral votes, why would awarding one for each congressional dist. be bad (if we put a stop to gerrymandering)…with that being said, I prefer proportional distribution…so if a candidate gets 10% of the vote, they get 10% of the electoral votes…I also think the 17th amendment should be repealed and US senators should be selected by their state legislators, I realize that isnt popular either, but thats how I feel on the subject..

  23. Andy

    November 23, 2016 at 09:36
    Why have states?”


    If you want to play this game, why have coercive government?

  24. Tony From Long Island

    Joe, you do have a point, but right now, only the very few “swing states” matter. There is no campaigning anywhere else for the most part.

    Every country on this planet has population centers. That’s just the way it is. The electoral votes of Wyoming should not matter something like 5 times more than those in California (population wise). Wyoming has one electoral vote per 142, 741 people (1st in electoral power) but California has one EV per 508,344 (49th in electoral power).

    As for your comment that ” . . . .if a candidate gets 10% of the vote, they get 10% of the electoral votes . . . ” – well then what is the point of having Electoral votes? 10% of the vote would be 10% regardless.

  25. NewFederalist

    “call them, states, provinces, counties etc., . . . Is there a geographically large country not broken up into some sort of sub-divisions?” – Tony From Long Island

    That didn’t answer the question.

  26. NewFederalist

    You both have a lot in common. Your minds are totally made up and you only come here to pontificate. A very ineffective means of persuasion IMHO. But Happy Thanksgiving to you both!

  27. Tony From Long Island

    Andy and I have little to NOTHING in common. Aren’t we all here to give our opinions? But if you’d like, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will agree with you whole-heartedly! Down with the States!

    I will say, though, if you want to persuade, me why don’t you give me a reason. Simply saying “Why have states?” is (in your words) a very ineffective means of persuasion IMHO.

  28. Andy

    November 23, 2016 at 11:30
    ‘Decentralization. ‘ – Andy

    And how is that good?”

    Because too much power concentrated into one place leads to more corruption and rights violations.

    Is every state government wonderful? No, but some states governments are better than others in some areas, and in some cases some state government policies are better than some federal (or more accurately, national) government policies. One example is with marijuana laws. Some states have legalized it, or legalized it just for medicinal purposes, while the federal (ie-national) government still says that marijuana is illegal.

    Those of us who want more freedom have a better shot at getting change at the state or local level than we do at the federal (ie-national) level.

  29. Andy

    November 23, 2016 at 12:07
    You both have a lot in common. Your minds are totally made up and you only come here to pontificate.”

    I have been involved in politics for over 20 years, and I spend a lot of time thinking about the subject, so my opinions are pretty well thought out, but even so, I am always open to new data, and I do make new decisions based on new data.

  30. Dave

    Very happy for the Prohibition Party. I’ve always been rather fond of that quixotic institution.

    Probably a dumb question, but does anyone know when the next LP member chart will be out? I’m very interested in seeing if the party continued its surge of new members from earlier in this year. I think a Trump presidency stands a better chance of keeping membership growing, so that’s good at least.

    As for the Greens, I’m torn on their success in 2020. A Trump presidency might stunt their growth, as left wing voters are shamed into backing the dem to stop Trump. But their might be enough Bernie or Busters who won’t vote for the nominee if it’s someone from the center of the party*. The party’s probably grown in its “default” vote, but how much will be interesting to see.

    * I’m calling it now, Clinton will run in 2020.

  31. Antirevolutionary

    NewFederalist is right. Throw out all the current states and give all the counties more power.

    Also, I’m now a supporter of the American Solidarity Party. Their commentsin this article were great. Watch out for us in 2018!

  32. Joe

    Hey Tony,
    With the states voting in proportion they would still have to win more than just a few states. Straight popular vote could be won by domination less than 10 states. So proportionality would give more voice to everyone in the state, but still make the candidates go to most of the states to win the electoral college… Also i know that just looking at the ratio Wyoming would have more “power” but thats not really so. Per vote they may get that, sorta, but they only get 3 votes. California gets 55, Texas 38, Florida 29, New York 29, Pa 20, IL 20 and Ohio 18..thats 7 states and 209 EC votes..that is significant.

  33. Tony from Long Island

    Dave: ” . . . . * I’m calling it now, Clinton will run in 2020. . . . ”

    Ummm no.

    Dave: ” . . . .Very happy for the Prohibition Party. I’ve always been rather fond of that quixotic institution. . . . ”

    What’s to like about the prohibition party? Its existence made no sense in 1880 and it makes no sense now

  34. Tony from Long Island

    Joe – For me it’s simple. I am for one person – one vote.

    I give no deference to where they live or how dense their population is.

    Under the current EV system, a voter in Wyoming DOES have 5x more power than one in California. Just rack up those rural states and boom . . . you “win” even though most voters did not vote for you. Their voices are heard just fine through their representatives and senators – Thank you James Madison and company.

    No other leader anywhere is elected like this. No other office in this country is subject to that very peculiar system. In every other election we have, the person with the most votes wins. That’s it.

  35. Tony From Long Island

    Jill, I knew that comment would get a reply from you!

    Her political career is over. She went out getting more than 2 million more votes than her opponent.

    Warren / Booker 2020? 🙂

  36. Dave

    One can like a party ironically. I won’t vote for the Prohibition folks, but I respect their continued work for a cause that has had its heyday before any of the current leadership were even alive. They must know they’ll never win or even be particularly relevant, but still they keep trying. Now if they were actually relevant I’d go from being amused to disliking them awful quick. But their nominee seemed nice enough. I’m glad he now sort of has that claim to fame “I led our party to the best showing in over twenty years.” It’s a fun fact he can throw out to his pals at the bar… or whether he goes to relax.

    As for Clinton, I understand the skepticism. But she’s going to win the PV by over 2 million votes, which I suspect will rehabilitate her in the minds of many. Already we’re seeing parts of this, will all the marches in support of declaring her the winner. She’ll have a Gore like transformation, suddenly seem cool to the youth. Especially if Trump does horribly. And with Bernie not ruling out another run, her advanced age suddenly becomes less of a drawback, since he’s even older than she is.

    I’m aware it’s a long shot. But I think reports of her political demise are overexaggerated at the moment.

  37. Tony From Long Island

    Dave: HER advanced age? How about Bernie’s? The Dems need a younger ticket.

    The marches are much more against WHO “WON” and not pro-Hillary.

    I keep telling the annoying Trump people who gloat to me that “the resistance is not about who lost and not about which party won, it is about the VILE despicable human being who has no business anywhere near the office of President.”

  38. Tony From Long Island

    I will be back Monday. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone . . . . .except Andy . . .

  39. Thomas Knapp

    “No other leader anywhere is elected like this.”

    Actually, India’s president is elected by an electoral college method in which members of the two houses of the legislature (the Lok Sobha, the “lower” popularly elected house, and the Rajya Sabha, chosen by the state legislatures the way the US Senate used to be. Not identical, but fairly similar. The president’s role is more ceremonial than ours, but (s)he appoints the prime minister and other ministers from the ranks of the Lok Sobha’s controlling party.

    It’s not like there are a lot of republics/democracies with areas of 3.8 million square miles and populations of 300 million plus.

    I’m cool with one person one vote, but if it’s going to be that way let’s make the units as small as possible so that I’m not deciding who rules in Nebraska and someone in Idaho isn’t deciding who rules in New York. The US is many times the size/population that a country should be.

  40. paulie

    The marches are much more against WHO “WON” and not pro-Hillary.


    And while I tend to think the Democrats won’t pick Clinton again, I don’t think it’s because of age. Trump is older, and I don’t think anyone would be surprised if he runs again. Sanders may also run again. People are living longer now and being 70-something is just not as “old” in qualitative terms as it used to be.

  41. paulie

    They must know they’ll never win or even be particularly relevant, but still they keep trying.

    Jim Hedges actually tells people that they are like civil war reenactors, only in electoral politics.

  42. George Phillies

    “No other leader anywhere is elected like this.”


    Apparently the original author has never heard of Canada.

    Many parliamentary states elect their parliamentarians one to a Riding, using first past the post, with the parliamentarians then choosing the Prime Minister by vote. First past the post is identical to our scheme for choosing electors, with more districts. The twist is that the electors, under a different name, then become what we would call Congressmen. In parliamentary nations, it is not at all uncommon for no candidate to have enough votes, so that there must be haggling before the Lord leader however titled is chosen, exactly as allowed under our scheme.

  43. George Phillies

    ” In every other election we have, the person with the most votes wins. That’s it.”

    False in Massachusetts under conditions too tedious to type, but has recently been potentially applicable.

  44. Dave

    Vermont as well, no? I know in a few Governor races if a candidate did not get 50% of the vote the legislature picks the winner. They seem to go with the plurality winner, but they don’t technically need to.

  45. Richard Winger

    Vermont has a very strong tradition that the legislature picks the gubernatorial candidate who got the most popular votes. That rules hasn’t been broken since the 19th century.

    In Canada and Great Britain, there is no pretense that the voters are voting for anyone but their own member of the House of Commons. By contrast, in the U.S., all general election ballots in years divisible by four name presidential candidates. Some states put “vote for presidential electors” above the names of the presidential candidates, but most don’t even do that, and just “President”. So people are tricked into thinking they are voting directly for president. And if anyone suggests that the presidential electors should use their own judgment, that is considered immoral. No, there is no country in the world that elects its head of government the way the U.S. does.

  46. wredlich

    It is striking that the article and comments ignore Evan McMullin’s standout performance in Utah.

    This election is further evidence that a national strategy is not feasible for underfunded third parties.

    As a libertarian I have advocated in the past that we should focus on one state:

    McMullin spent about $500K in a large state, had no ideology and no clear message, and still managed 21% of the vote. Johnson-Weld got more press, spent more money, had much more experience, and didn’t break 10% in any state, not even Johnson’s home state of New Mexico.

    There were successes for the LP in the campaign, particularly with regard to ballot access in some states, but overall this was a failure. Johnson-Weld performed well below expectations and promises.

    In 2020 the LP candidate should mount a one-state campaign focused on New Hampshire with a competent libertarian candidate offering a message that works. “Stop Wasting Money” anyone?

    This does not have to take away from other states. The LP itself can still run a national campaign. And if the LP candidate threatens to win NH, that means national press coverage. Unlike the empty campaigns of McMullin and Johnson-Weld, a Stop Wasting Money candidate can get mileage out of that press coverage.

  47. George Phillies

    It is certainly possible that there are voters in English Parliamentary system countries who miss the televised debates between Prime Minister candidates, ignore the press and video coverage as to which swing will give a Conservative, Labor, UKIP, NDP,…government after the election, with a known candidate as the next Prime Minister, and therefore do not realize that they are choosing a government, not just a Parliamentarian. These people are totally out of touch with what is going on, and are only a tiny minority of their electorate. The rest of them know that when they are in the UK voting for their local Conservative, they are voting for May for Prime Minister.

  48. Peter Gemma

    I would have liked to have included McMullin in this piece and in the series of interviews with 3rd party candidates. I did not get a reply to at least a dozen emails – directly and through others close to the campaign. Every interview was sent to him as they were published (as well as Stein and Johnson) as reminders of my initial requests for interviews. I did not even get the courtesy of a reply.

  49. Joshua K.

    And in the UK, it’s not unheard of for the party that received the most votes for Parliament not to have its leader become Prime Minister.

    February 1974: Conservatives received 37.9% of the vote, Labour received 37.2%, but Labour won more seats and Labour’s Harold Wilson became PM.

    1951: Labour received 48.8% of the vote, Conservatives and National Liberals won 48.0%, but the Conservative-National Liberal group won more seats and Conservative Winston Churchill became PM.

    1929: Conservatives received 38.1% of the vote, Labour received 37.1%, but Labour won more seats and Labour’s Ramsay MacDonald became PM.

    In other words, the national popular vote for a party is approximately as irrelevant in the UK as it is in the USA.

  50. Just Some Random Guy

    Sad but true point by Mr. RIchardson. If 3rd parties couldn’t attract voters looking for an alternative in an election like this one, then what would it take?

    A candidate to spend his money more wisely. Johnson put so much into “consulting” rather than advertising. If he had, he might have been able to hit that 15%, get into the debates, and if not win the thing, at least do put forward a strong showing.

    Also, Richardson’s paying too much attention to the presidential race. Yes, the presidential race is big, but whenever a “third party” managed to get big, they didn’t get big just by clenching the presidency. They built themselves up and THEN got the presidency. It’s the dream for a third party to win the presidency and get big that way, and I do think there was a small possibility for that this election, but most likely if it happens it’ll have to be built from the ground up.

    And I do think this election may have helped that. Maybe Johnson and Stein and the others didn’t get that many votes, but they got noticed. And people took notice of their parties. Membership in the LP increased dramatically this election. This gives them more power and hopefully could put forward a bigger effort next time.

    Also on the note of too much attention to the presidential race, I do think the Libertarian Party should be trying to work a bit harder on the other races. I get it, they don’t have the money the Republicans and Democrats have, so they can’t just funnel that kind of support into all of their candidates. But trying to really support a few candidates in winnable elections would help get them elected.

    Interestingly, if just a few of the Republican senators were replaced by Libertarian senators, the Senate would actually move in a Libertarian direction in the passing of bills. Why? Because that would mean neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have a majority; the Republicans and Democrats would both have 49 seats (technically the Democrats have 48, but the remaining Independent caucuses with them so we’ll count them as such), and if either party could get the Libertarian candidates to side with them, they could pass a bill. Generally speaking, the Libertarians agree with the Democrats on social issues and the Republicans on economic issues. So on the economic issues they’d side with bills the Republicans want, and on the social issues they’d side with bills the Democrats want, thereby furthering the Libertarian goals.

    Okay, it’s a little more complex than that, the filibuster is always at play, but you can’t pass something at all without a majority, and the Libertarians would provide that majority to the Democrats and Republicans—but only on the issues they agree with them on. I say all this just to point out that, if things line up right, it can actually only take a few candidates being elected to really push something in a Libertarian direction.

  51. Just Some Random Guy

    Whoops, forgot to mention something: There is a small hope that it might be easier for third party candidates to get into the debates in the future. The reason for this is that right now, it’s all based entirely on polls. There has been substantial loss of faith in the accuracy of polling after this election. Now I think the problem was less in the polling itself and more in the interpretation of those results, but the point is I’ve seen a lot of people say they don’t trust polls anymore. And polls are the ONLY deciding factor as to whether you’re in the debates.

    Maybe, just maybe, increasing distrust of public polling may lead to pressure to make the CPD pick a different criteria, and that new criteria might make it easier for third parties to make it in. I’m probably being overly optimistic, as the CPD would try to find something to exclude third parties with anyway due to the Republicans and Democrats basically running the organization, but there is at least a small bit of hope there.

  52. From Der Sidelines

    “Someone from Los Angeles doesn’t exactly have a finger on the pulse of the people of Eureka.”

    You mean like Tom McClintock? 😛

  53. Pingback: Post Election Survey of Third Party Movement Leaders; Part Three – Where to Now | Independent Political Report

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