Spoiling for a Fight

Sam's Blog makes a good case for third party voting and argues that such votes clearly affect the major parties: "if you vote with your convictions, even if your candidate does not win, the major parties attempt to gain your vote for the next election by adopting your principles." This is not always true however. It is just as likely that before the next election the duopoly parties in a given locale will tighten restrictions on ballot access, or make a greater effort in opposing the petitions of third party candidates to get onto the ballot. Examples abound. Libertarian Party candidate Eric Sundwall was forcibly excluded from the ballot in the recent special election in the 20th CD in New York, while South Carolina is working on bipartisan legislation that would make such efforts unnecessary ("If passed, two bills in the Legislature would reinforce a two-party system in a state with a strong tradition of supporting independent and third-party candidates.")

Nonetheless, Sam's point is well taken and indicates a tension inherent to duopolist ideology. In arguing against a third party vote, it is often maintained that to vote outside the two-party system is to waste a vote to no effect, and that voting for a third party could spoil the entire election.


J. S. Rothrock said...

Thanks for mentioning my post. It seems that another problem we face with the two party system is that politicians are not too reserved about lying. So their tendency is to make promises they have little or no intention of keeping

d.eris said...

Indeed. I was just also thinking that the bi-partisan efforts to keep third parties off ballots as well as their scrambling to obtain the votes of the people thus disenfranchised (as you point out in your post), is strong evidence of how afraid the duopoly parties are of even minimally viable third party runs. This is a good sign, perhaps.