At some point last year I began doing some preliminary analysis of election results, specifically looking at third parties and how they perform through the scope of small town election results. In other words, if you start the “Bob’s Political Party” and you put yourself on the statewide or national ballet, how many votes might you receive in a small town? Hey, it interests me, okay?!
In any event, last year I put myself on the mailing list for the Constitution Party. This party, as I understand it, supports a strict interpretation of the United States Constitution. Frankly, as an Adjunct Professor of Political Science I can certainly appreciate the fact that not many people in our society understand the basics of the Constitution nor the powers or limitations of our federal style of government.
Back up for a moment – I’ve also spent some time considering the words that politicians use in their campaigns and what the reality of their campaign promises mean through the vernacular of their campaign rhetoric. For example, then-Senator Barack Obama campaigned to be the President of the United States by making a lot of promises – some of which he simply could not fulfill. Obama promised that taxes would not go up “one dime” for anyone making less than $250,000 per year. Well, that’s not something that Obama can promise because in our system of government the President does not unilaterally make tax policy. More properly stated, Obama should have said, “I pledge to work with Congress and push a policy of not raising taxes on anyone making under $250,000.” However, who wants to hear a promise of “trying” to push a certain policy once elected? Exactly…
But words are interesting in politics and as someone who has been tangentially monitoring the Constitution Party over the last year, I find the survey on their site to be worthy of an entry on this blog. By the way, you can read (and take) the survey by clicking here. What do I find so interesting about it? Well, click on that link and take the survey.
Notice anything? How about the style in which the questions are written? Look at this question:
The undercutting of our free market system, begun by Republicans and accelerated by President Obama, has resulted in near government ownership of too many banks and industries. Do you agree that the Constitution Party (CP) should remain steadfast in opposing both parties’ push for more federal control over our financial sectors and businesses?
For those of you who study this type of stuff (i.e. communication), I’m sure you’re loving this question right now! How about that first sentence? Why not say, “This is what the Constitution Party believes about this particular issue and we’re going to ask you to agree with us in the next sentence, okay?” Honestly, this is a little bit disappointing from a third party that I think has some potential at the local and regional level of politics.
From what I’ve gathered, the Constitution Party is trying to present a real alternative to those in the Republican and Democratic parties who expect this country to be operated as the Constitution dictates that it must. That’s an honorable goal – especially in today’s hyper-partisan political climate where both the Republicans and the Democrats use interpretations of interpretations of interpretations of clauses in the Constitution as the base of their domestic and foreign policies. But where the Constitution Party does itself no good is to put up a “survey” that is packed with leading questions. Not a good strategy.
A better strategy for the Constitution Party would be to go to the 23rd District of New York and set-up camp. This is a district that provided 45.2% of the vote to a Conservative Party candidate. Imagine if the Constitution Party could legitimize itself to the voters in the 23rd District and make a real showing in future elections? Better yet, a good strategy for this party might be to recruit well-known candidates to run for office at the local level and build on local success. It’s almost like building a new business – you don’t just open up 50 Wal-Mart-sized stores in 50 states and expect them to be successful tomorrow. You need to build a brand.
But building that brand should not include time wasted on self-aggrandizing surveys.