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Soccer Mom asking about 3rd Party Vote

from The Soccer Mom Vote 

Some of the most heated political debates I have been witness to or involved in have had to do with third-party candidates. In particular, this argument was prevalent immediately after the U.S. Presidential Election of 2000. Go figure.

 

 

In case you were under a rock in November of 2000, I’ll recap. In the 2000  U.S. Presidential election, Al Gore beat George Bush in the popular vote by almost 550,000 votes.  But he lost the election to George Bush by a mere five electoral votes. It was a close race and controversial, to say the least.   Ralph Nader, a candidate for the Green Party, got almost three million votes. That’s more than five times the number of votes that made the difference between Bush and Gore. Wow.

 

 

Many democrats were openly furious with people that they considered to be fellow democrats at heart, who they felt had “given up their vote” to make a statement.

 

 

 

Am I saying you should never vote for a third-party candidate? No. Make no mistake. I am absolutely not saying that. I believe you should vote for the candidate you believe in. I really believe that. I’m an optimist. I believe our votes can make a difference.

 

 

 

Am I saying you should always vote for a third-party candidate? No. Absolutely not. In fact, in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that in spite of the fact that I am a fan of both Ralph Nader and Kinky Friedman, I voted for Al Gore in the 2000 U.S. Presidential election and for Chris Bell in the 2006 Texas Gubernatorial election.

 

 

 

What am I saying, then? Well, I have heard other people say that you should never waste your time voting for third-party candidates, and I think I’m saying, after recent elections, I can see their point. Might you be throwing an extremely valuable vote down the toilet? Well, yes. Considering recent elections, you might be doing just that.

 

 

 

At heart, I’m a believer in going with your instinct. The optimist in me says to vote for the candidate who you truly believe would be the best leader, the man or woman who most closely epitomizes your own ideals, your belief system.

 

 

 

Incidentally, did you know Abraham Lincoln was a third-party candidate? I believe Mr. Lincoln is the only third-party candidate who actually won the presidency.  So a third-party candidate can make a difference, I daresay a pretty big difference, if people actually have the nerve to go for it and vote for him (or her). Hmmm.

 

 

 

What do you think? To make it easier for you in 2008, here is a list of the third-party candidates thus far.

 

When we vote for a third-party candidate, even when we know they won’t win, are we making a valid statement that will make a difference?  Or are we throwing away our vote? In any case, is voting the right time to make a statement? We’d love to hear what you think…

2 Responses

  1. Hmm. Let’s all forget about the number of votes Nader gave to Gore. Without Nader in the race Gore would have lost by a landslide. Selecting Liebermnan as VP certainly had more effect 100 fold that Nader.

    Third parties do one thing and one thing only, bring more voters into the electoral process. Guess what folks, it the Dems that reap most of the benefit.

    In the city I live there are multiple third parties, the big ones are Progressive Dane and Green Party. In 1998 the district was considered a swing district, today the Dem wins by an 80% margin. What PD /Greens have done is brought more voters into the Democratic process not take votes from Dems.

    This is not new, Dems have historically fought to control the electorate. They did this with the socialists at the beginning of the 20th century and they do it to the Greens today.

  2. Thanks for reading! Although I generally vote Democratic, I chose a Green party candidate in my state’s last senatorial election, despite the fact that it was a tight race.

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