The Year's Best Political Ads for Third Party and Independent Candidates

What are the year's best political ads for third party and independent candidates (so far)?  Over the last week, I've viewed dozens of political ads and short videos produced by and for Libertarian, Green, Constitution Party and Independent candidates for office from Maine to California and Florida to Washington.  Thanks to everyone who commented here and at IPR, and those who wrote in with suggestions and nominations!  From this unscientific sampling of videos, it is safe to conclude that there are some very savvy and extremely creative ads out there, and probably many many more which I still have not seen. 

As we all know, the generic political ad, as pioneered by Democrats and Republicans, is a fairly boring affair, and usually consists of the candidate him- or herself speaking directly to the camera, in front of a non-descript background, and making a quick pitch for his or her candidacy.  Since these sorts of ads are now also very inexpensive to produce and disseminate, they can be found on virtually every third party and independent candidate's Youtube channel.

Because of the prejudices and biases against third party and independent candidates, not to mention the ideological and structural constraints imposed on the American people by the two-party state, third party and independent candidates must be extremely creative in their ads to raise their political profiles and garner notice from the public and attention from the media.  It is those ads which diverge from the generic model that I have highlighted below. 

Best Ad: Glenn Wilson vs. The Dons
• Glenn Wilson is an Independent candidate for Congress in Michigan's 1st district.  In this ad, Republican and Democratic mafia bosses hold a meeting to determine what to do about Independent candidate Glenn Wilson, whose candidacy threatens their political monopoly.  They decide not to "whack the voters" just yet, but instead call for a media blackout of coverage on the Independent candidate.

Best series of ads:  Travis Irvine
• Travis Irvine is a Libertarian candidate for Congress in Ohio's 12th district.  His campaign has been releasing entertaining and provocative videos on a weekly basis for the last two months.  Most recently, Irvine has lambasted the GOP with a scathing parody of the party's "Pledge to America," entitled "Apology to America," and he has blasted his Democratic rival Paula Brooks as a carpet bagger in a video entitled "Paula Brokes' Carpet Bagging Outlet."  In the video below, Irvine take aim at the Democratic-Republican warfare/welfare state with the help of television personality Matthew Lesko.

Best Unofficial Ad for a Candidate:  p4prez for Rich Whitney
• With a former Republican governor in prison, and a former Democratic governor following closely in his footsteps, an unofficial web-ad for Green Party gubernatorial candidate in Illinois, Rich Whitney, asks "What will change?" if the state's voters continue to support Republicans and Democrats. 

Most Creative 30 second promo:  Jake Towne
• Jake Towne is an independent libertarian candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania's 15th district.  The following thirty second promotional video is the only such ad I've seen from a third party or independent candidate that is completely animated:

Most Creative Use of Cultural and Political Cliches: Lincoln Chafee
• An ad for Lincoln Chafee, independent candidate for governor of Rhode Island, takes a look at his Republican rival Frank Caprio.  Entitled "Caprio's Shoes," the ad begins by stating, "They say you only know a man once you've walked a mile in his shoes."  It turns out that Caprio wears flip flops. 

Simplest Ad Ever:  Dennis Lambert
• Dennis Lambert is the Green Party candidate for state representative in Ohio's 89th district.  A video on his Youtube channel entitled "Green Vote" speaks for itself.

Most Aggressive Challenge to a Major Party Rival:  Alex Snitker
• In this short video, Libertarian candidate for US Senate in Florida, Alex Snitker, calls out Republican Marco Rubio, asking: "Why is Marco Rubio afraid of Alex Snitker?"

Best Gotcha Ad: Tim Cahill
• In this extremely short ad, independent candidate for governor of Massachusetts, Tim Cahill, catches his Republican rival Charlie Baker stating that he "worked on the big dig" boondoggle, and that he "never worked on the big dig" boondoggle, leaving the viewer wondering if we can trust Baker at all.

Most Dramatic Ad: John Jay Myers
• In this dramatic 44 second ad, Libertarian candidate for Congress in Texas's 32nd district, John Jay Myers lays out the stark choice facing the people of the United States.

Darkest Message in a Generic Ad: Gail Giaramita
Gail Giaramita is the Constitution Party candidate in Mississippi's 1st district.  In this campaign video, Giaramita argues that "America is a body with cancer" and states that "the ballot box will not save us." 

Most shameless self-promotion in a video roundup: Poli-Tea
• If you recall, a few months ago Poli-Tea released its first web-ad urging viewers to declare their political independence from the Democratic and Republican parties, and end the cycle of lesser evilism.  To my knowledge, it is one of the few ads on the web advocating independent and third party politics as such.

Special Mention
Hugh Giordano, Green Party candidate for State Rep in Pennsylvania's 194th district.
Jeremiah Heaton, Independent candidate for Congress in Virginia's 9th district.   
Shane Bruce, Libertarian Party candidate for Commissioner of Insurance in Georgia.  
Tom Horner, Independence Party candidate for governor of Minnesota. 

That concludes my first, but hopefully not last, roundup of the year's best ads.  Disagree with the results?  Notice any glaring omissions?  Have a suggestion for a possible future roundup?  Send me an email or drop a message and link in the comments.

As a final note, it is worth mentioning that, from what I've seen, it appears that Libertarians and Independents are most aggressively engaging in campaign outreach via short, entertaining and provocative videos on Youtube and the like.  Or is there a trove of Green, Constitution Party etc. videos that I have yet to find?


Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

No mention of radio ads?

James Rogers
MI congressional 3rd District


Erin Lale said...

My "Cool Cat Campaign Commercial" (those are the youtube keywords) was designed to be just weird enough to get shared or maybe even get press. Take a look, I think you'll find you want to add it to your list of creative ads.