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How much consideration do you give to third party candidates?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 24, 2007

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Photo of Joanna Meyer

“None at all. They won’t raise the money. They won’t have the support, and they won’t have any clout. Americans would have to change the way they think about politics. We are a business nation.”

Photo of Michael Beard

“I will give them some consideration if their interests are the same as mine, but I always have to bear in mind that they won’t be able to win.”

Photo of Amy Sherman

“About as much as I give to major party candidates, which is none.”

Photo of Timothy Howard

“Very little, just because of the unfortunate fact that the probability of them getting elected is highly unlikely.”


sunflower_sue 10 years, 8 months ago

What Michael said.

We need an alternate question.

canyon_wren 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm with Amy, above. As an Independent, disgusted with both parties, I voted for Nader here in the Republican state of Utah to make a statement, but knew it was a wasted vote. It is discouraging enough to wish to support the lesser-known and touted candidates of either of the regular parties, knowing that the chances are slim that any but the "front-runners" will be ultimately nominated. The whole thing seems such a sham to me.

zettapixel 10 years, 8 months ago

I don't give any consideration to any political candidates.

imastinker 10 years, 8 months ago

I have yet to find a candidate I really enjoy. The libertarians are among the best, but I can't justify the isolationism they embrace. We have to have national defense.

I do think that the federal government should have very little power except for defense. It's a shame that nobody would ever get elected with this philosophy. Democrats can buy the minority vote, and until recently the republicans had the religious right. That leaves me and maybe a few nuts living off the power grid in Utah who think like I do.

acg 10 years, 8 months ago

I always give them consideration. Unfortunately, it always seems to me that the really good candidates are of 3rd party affiliation, which is a shame, because we know they're never going to win. Why are we always stuck picking between the shrubs? I wasn't a supporter of John Kerry, at all. I felt like he was always talking out of both sides of his mouth, and didn't even hide it well like Slick Willy did. Come on, Democratic party, give me someone I can get on board with (not Hilary).

preebo 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm all for Third parties. Unfortunately, the closest thing to an electable candidate was F. Ross Perot. I mean I am a huge fan of Ralph Nader and his work for consumer affairs and personal freedom, but he has as much charisma as a salad fork, as he goes so does the Green Party.

Furthermore, RI is spot on with this one, The Federal Election Campaign Act has setup campaign finance rules that discourage third party participation. So much for the Bull Moose Party, huh.

Godot 10 years, 8 months ago

Third party candidates are essential for bringing new ideas and new viewpoints into the campaign. If the voters listen and pick up on the good ideas and important issues and bring them up again and again to the Repubs and Dems, there is a better chance the major candidates will be forced to address the issues.

I think the third party candidates make a terrific contribution to the election process, and they make a huge sacrifice, knowing, as the rest of us do, that they do not have a chance to win. They can, however, influence the election.

So far, none of the major candidates have come up with ideas that will truly address the serious problems this country faces; it is just the same old, same old. There is not a single one of them that gets my vote.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 8 months ago

I'd rather vote for an honorable person who is destined to lose than a dishonorable loser who's destined to win. I don't understand not voting for someone simply because they have almost no chance of winning. That seems so sheeple-like. The Dems and Reps seem nearly interchangeable to me. They're all big pockets for big pockets people, stringing along their fat, sycophantic sheeple in their quest for control of the new world order, which will serve lamb chops at every meal!~)

jonas 10 years, 8 months ago

Down with the Whigs! Tories forever!

acg 10 years, 8 months ago

What's that supposed to mean agnostick?

sunflower_sue 10 years, 8 months ago

RI, Nope...don't like those questions, either. Try again!

James Stewart 10 years, 8 months ago

I can guarantee that as long as people who actually know that there are more than 2 parties think that the "others" are just a waste of a vote, we'll only have 2 parties. You have to break the cycle somewhere.

ohjayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Godot (Anonymous) says:

So far, none of the major candidates have come up with ideas that will truly address the serious problems this country faces; it is just the same old, same old.

That's because both parties pretty much make their candidates march in lock-step with the party platform. There's not much room for "thinking outside the box", unless you want to not receive any money/support from them. Just one example, look at what the DNC is doing to voters in Florida. They want to move their primary up so they feel they can have at least some say in who the candidate will be, only to have the DNC threaten the candidates from campaigning there because "it's too early" by their rules. I know that if I were a Democrat living in Florida, I'd be quite disenfranchised by that.

Everything is so black and white in both parties these days. Heaven forbid a Republican be pro-abortion or a Democrat be pro-tax cuts. They'd be left by the roadside for dead (although it will be interesting to see what happens with Giuliani). I'm not espousing either of those beliefs, just trying to make a point. I think there needs to be more than even three candidates. The more options, the better. Yeah, most won't have a snowball's chance of getting elected, but at least more people may feel better represented.

Ceallach 10 years, 8 months ago

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, sixty-four percent of U.S. citizens age 18 and over voted in the 2004 presidential election. IF the same percentage were to vote with a strong 3rd party candidate in the fray, wouldn't we have 22-25% of voters determining the presidency?

ms_canada 10 years, 8 months ago

Since we have a different political system than your state or country, I, natually, have a different perspective on this question. I will speak only of our provincial system in this instance. We now have a Conservative governing party in power in Alberta. I have always voted conservative until we got a really rotten jerk as premier for many years here. I should tell you that the three main parties are Conservative, Liberal and New Democratic. In my particular area or constituency, a New Dem. was elected. I like him. He is a good guy and so next time around I voted for him. My philosophy is that there does need to be a good size opposition or the governing party runs roughshod over the citizens. So, I do pay close attention to the third party candidate. In our system, the party that gets the most elected reps. is the party that forms the government and the leader of that party becomes the Premier of the province or as the case may be in federal elections the Prime Minister of the country. Quite different from your system. We don't ever actually vote for our leaders individually.

staff04 10 years, 8 months ago

I don't often agree with Godot, but I agree 100% with your earlier post.

3rd party candidates broaden the discussion...I just wish a few more of them would drop out before the general election...sad, but that's what I think.

sgtwolverine 10 years, 8 months ago

I think we should put the "party" back in "third party"!

acg 10 years, 8 months ago

Well damn, agnostick, I've tried and tried and I'm about to give up. I've voted for Perot and Nader, I've rallied my people (as best I can, unfortunately the organization I work with is rife with Republicans) and I've given money, volunteered time and argued with people until I'm blue in the face. I'm just tired, man, that's all. No one listens. Everyone is so addicted to that party line. They don't wanna leave that comfort bubble. Sorry to disappoint but this political battle is taking a lot out of me. I want to be one of the blissfully ignorant. I want to be one of those people who doesn't care, who doesn't pay attention and who has no idea what's going on around them. You ever notice how those people don't have blood pressure spikes and bulging forehead veins at every election season? What would it be like to skip the news and go right to every day instead? Anywho, I still love you. :) Here's a funny to make everyone's day. This guy is my new favorite hero.

Ceallach 10 years, 8 months ago

The "party line" is not to be underestimated. Voting for the individual sounds ideal. "I don't vote for a party, I vote for the individual." I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say that . . when I was younger I also felt that way. Time after time I have watched the "individual" eventually bow before the party's platform (pick a party, they all do it).

Liberty 10 years, 8 months ago

All you need to know for the next election is that Ron Paul is running for President. Vote for him if you want the United States of America restored to it's former glory.

sigerson 10 years, 8 months ago

Bent over and took one for the team by voting for Kerry in '04, persuaded that he was the lesser of two evils. Boy, that sure made a difference, didn't it? I still feel unclean.

Never again. Colbert in 08. Wonder who his running mate will be.

gyrodukc 10 years, 8 months ago

If you don't vote for Ron Paul you will get cancer and die because thats what happens to victims. Take control of this insulting government which has no respect for the God given rights it is suppose to be serving by staying small and out of our business. Get rid of this stupid idea that you need to use your vote for someone who you "think" will have a chance to win, you need to you your vote for what you want and never settle for anything else. Making decsions based on the way the outside world appears is stupid and worst of all gives away your freedom. Read the Declaration of Independence, look at the names at the bottom of it and realize that all those names could have just as easily been stiff dead bodies hanging from trees instead of the founding fathers if these men wouldn't have been motivated by the greatest feeling in the wolrd. Freedom. Bring back this spirit; its inside you. Everyday when you get up declare your independece and if anyone has a problem with that tell them to "go to hell" or be more accurate and just let them stay there.

badger 10 years, 8 months ago

Perot gave Clinton the election. Nader gave Bush the election.

Third party candidates can't win under the current system because they don't compete on a level playing field. But as Godot and staff04 have pointed out, a strong third party candidate can bring issues to the fore that the main two parties don't want to be part of the discussion. They can say and do things without fear of party repercussions, they can break with platform policy, and they can set up alternative ideas that don't have the duality of a two-platform oppositional system.

When Ross Perot set himself up as the pro-business candidate, Bush Sr. had to scramble because he couldn't do the 'Republicans are friends of business and Democrats are enemies of business, so if you like business vote for me!' equation. Usually Republican candidates don't even have to work for the CEO vote. It's easy to be the pro-business candidate when your only vocal opposition is a Dem. Not so much when you're getting hit by someone who says you're not pro-business enough, who says you raise taxes too much and spend too much time worrying about abortion and not enough worrying about the economy. He threw Bush I off message and Clinton took the race for it.

Nader was left of Gore on Gore's strongest actual point: the environment. He pulled away the granola vote and forced Gore off-message on green issues. He had to either out-green Nader (not possible) or move right and risk losing his youth base. It was a no-win for him, and Nader is more responsible for the outcome of the 2000 election than any hanging chad or Florida election official.

I'm not sure who the spoiler will be in this election. There's some voices from the left and some from the right, but I think it's more likely that we'll see a forserious pro-business candidate than an anti-war or pro-environment one. There's a growing segment of the Republican Party that's just plain ready to jump ship over the abandonment of fiscally conservative policies and small government, and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw another Perot-style candidate (though likely less crazy).

badger 10 years, 8 months ago

Uh, isn't Ron Paul the one who doesn't believe in climate change or the Federal Reserve?

That combination would put him about middling-high on my whackjob scale.

gogoplata 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm voting for Ron Paul if I have to write him in.

sunflower_sue 10 years, 8 months ago

RuPaul has such great taste in shoes! I'll vote for him!

ms_canada 10 years, 8 months ago

agnostick - gee, I have never thought seriously about whether I would like to vote for the leader. I think that would not work with our system. the whole thing would have to be changed. What if the majority of MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly, provincial) was Conserv. and were to form the government but the leader was a Liberal. It would not work. Yah, I would just have loved to be able to vote that little creep out years ago. One thing I really do like about our system is that if we have a lousy government whether federal or prov. we do not have to wait 4 years to oust them. The opposition can call for a vote of confidence or no confidence and remove them from power. Out last federal Liberal gov. lasted only 18 months. Now we have a fed. conservative gov. I think there would be a large number of US citizens who regret having to wait 4 years or 3 to oust GWB and his gang. True?

jonas 10 years, 8 months ago

"I think there would be a large number of US citizens who regret having to wait 4 years or 3 to oust GWB and his gang. True?"

Yes, twice.

ohjayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I'd SO consider a third party candidate for a Klondike bar!!!

acg 10 years, 8 months ago

I had completely forgotten about Stephen Colbert. Now I would totally vote for him. That guy freakin' kills me!

Nick Yoho 10 years, 8 months ago

I vote for every one on the ballot.Luckily, we Have Dennis Kucinich to vote for in the top spot.

Ceallach 10 years, 8 months ago

He would love it if he tried the broccoli salad at Biggs!!

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 10 years, 8 months ago

"How much consideration do you give to third party candidates?"

'bout this much

gogoplata 10 years, 8 months ago

Ron Paul would end the Iraq war for the US immediately. That makes him less crazy than just about every other person running for president in 08.

acg 10 years, 8 months ago

I heard Colbert's running mate was supposed to be Sen. Larry Craig. Heard it on the radio so not sure of the validity or if they were just joking, either way it cracked me up.

sigerson 10 years, 8 months ago

Larry Craig? Must be a joke, but it's fun to think about. Would get the closeted gay for fer sure. If it's true what I remember hearing, that around ten percent of the U.S. population has homosexual tendencies, the Colbert-Craig ticket suddenly becomes very powerful.

For VP, though, I'd suggest Gene Scott, the preacher. The debates would be fun.

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