Why US third parties don’t win elections. From The Hammer of Truth, and greatly abbreviated.
We hear it again and again in the news: voters are unhappy with Democrats and Republicans, approval of both major parties is in the dumps and there’s a general dislike for the status quo. So this year, more than any other, I want to give voters the low-down on why the status quo is going to stay the same. Sadly, whether you like it or not. It’s a problem that we’ve only recently become aware of with some regularity thanks to the decrentralization of the Internet: the system is rigged this way.
You see, the truth is that even as more and more independent candidates are being fielded for office each year, the number of them actually being elected has remained relatively flat (that’s not to say it never happens, but that it’s just so rare that it’s relatively unnoticeable). I’ve decided it’s in everyone’s political best interests to identify and break down these walls that have been erected by both incumbents and an apathetic media for third parties in this country. Here’s my rough take on what these are (in order of apparent priority):
- Restrictive ballot access laws
- Lackluster media coverage
- Fundraising and volunteers
- Inclusive polling
- Debating major candidates
- Election day (voting methods)
My favorite election book is Michael Lewis‘s book Trail Fever, which he originally wanted to call “Losers” because those are the people he found most interesting, the ones who were never going to win, yet who had to run because of some strange, twisted fire within themselves. Sometimes you just want to play with the big boys; sometimes you figure you only have to be better than that dumb trust fund sumbitch; sometimes you’re wrong.