Third Party Politics, the Viability Hurdle and the Promise of New Media

In his ongoing series of articles on California's third party and independent candidates for governor, Chris Hinyub most recently profiled American Independent Party hopeful Chelene Nightingale, writing:
Chelene Nightingale is a staunch advocate of the Constitution and limited government. She has been involved with organizing numerous rallies and political events for the past five years. As a private citizen lobbyist to both Sacramento and DC, she has demanded border security reform and no amnesty for illegal aliens.
Today, however, Hinyub synthesizes the concerns common to those third party and independent advocates with whom he's spoken, and organizes them under three broad headings: media access, campaign financing and endorsements. Hinyub writes:
I recently had the pleasure of asking several third party candidates in the race for California governor about the problems they have encountered while campaigning outside the two party system. Their concerns were essentially the same, converging under three categories . . .

Media Access In this day and age, the “viability” of a political candidate is predicated upon one factor – mainstream media coverage . . . Campaign Finance Independents must rely on small, diffuse donations from individuals to drive their campaigns. The two-headed leviathan is fed, on the other hand, by corporate donations, union contributions and indirect funding through political action groups . . . Endorsements Because of the complexities of political elections and the glut of information voters must process to make the most educated choice, many rely on endorsements to simplify their decision. Obtaining endorsements from high profile groups is difficult for third party candidates in large part because of the social stigma of propping up a candidate who lacks official viability . . .
These three obstacles, which Hinyub explicates in greater detail with quotes from the Green, Libertarian and IAP candidates for governor, are all mutually reinforcing: the effective mainstream media blackout of third party and independent candidates makes it more difficult to raise funding and obtain endorsements; without massive amounts of funding it is difficult to obtain media access and score endorsements; and without high profile endorsements, it is difficult to obtain media access and create a wider funding base. But perhaps new media hold the promise of revolutionizing the political process for the better. Some techno-utopians believe this is the case. Bob Samuels writes at the Huffington Post:
the future might hold out the possibility for truly free and open elections. Due to advances in new media, we now have the ability to hold a transformative type of political campaign that would be without political parties, political donations, and political commercials. This change is possible because we can circulate on the Web concrete policies, positions, and information without losing ourselves in a sea of fake news and superficial character assassinations.

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