Over the last few days I’ve posted some information about a third party in the 2008 election – the Constitution Party. I’m just putting this information out there because I really believe that third parties are railroaded by the mainstream media and that America needs a strong third party to challenge the Democrats and Republicans. But as I look at these parties, I begin to wonder why they don’t start smaller and use more aggressive tactics.
For example, I’ve been looking at the voter results in my hometown of Mount Arlington (obsessively so). The Constitution Party received 2 votes in my hometown out of a total of 2,536 votes case. Repeat: they received 2 votes. Honestly, that’s not too bad! Mount Arlington isn’t too big and for a third party to pull any votes is impressive. Write-ins received 14 votes, Ralph Nader had 13, the Libertarians had 5 votes, the list goes on. In total, third parties received 41 votes or 1.6% of the vote.
Again, that’s not totally bad in this type of election, but if the third parties want to do better then they should be building a stronger base at the local level. For example, there were 4,387 votes cast for the Mount Arlington Borough Council (you get to cast two votes, which means a total of 5,072 votes could have been cast – some voters obviously chose not to vote for Borough Council or only cast one vote). I have to imagine that if a third party really wants to make an impact, they would spend a good deal of time and money at the lowest level of government and try to win these smaller elections. You win the local election for Mayor or Town Council or whatever, prove that your policies work at the local level, then try to expand to other local municipalities or to the county level (depending where you are in the United States).
The Republicans won in Mount Arlington and from what I can see, they’ve done a fine job of leading. They were handed the short end of the stick thanks to Governor Money Bags’ new anti-small town policies, but they’re managing. That said, their leading candidate received 24.34% of the votes cast. A third party should be able to meet that percentage if they wage a good campaign.
Or maybe there are other reasons why third parties aren’t making it in America. If I were running a third party, I’d choose a few small towns across America and use them as examples for why my party should be elected to higher offices. Hell, I’d even look at taking in disenfranchised members of the Republicans or Democrats and use them as the candidates for my party! Why not use those folks who already have name recognition and some type of rapport with the public?
But I would do more. I would hold voter registration drives and be sure to get those people who have never registered or never thought of registering. Go door to door if necessary and have unregistered voters fill out a voter registration form at the same time as they fill out an absentee ballot request. Put them on that perpetual absentee ballot program and tell them that it means they can literally vote from home – so long as they drop the ballot in the mail in time. If it’s legal (and I don’t know if it is), drop them some simple, uncomplicated campaign propaganda. Get them a button or a bumper sticker or something.
It just seems to me that third parties aren’t utilizing these very simple tactics in order to take a foothold at the smallest levels of American society. Again, maybe they are doing these things in places other than New Jersey and I don’t see it, but I have to think that third parties could be doing a better job of getting the word out about their existence and their platforms.