I wasn’t able to work on this yesterday (I stayed home) because ever since I upgraded my machine to Ubuntu 12 I have had random freezes when I surf the web (not always associated with web surfing, once it hung at the log-in screen). Anyway, today I aim to look at the third-party candidates (I am using as my jumping-off point the Wiki page on 2012 third-party candidates (for better or worse)) and will provide a link to where I got my information and then my comments regarding what I found. BTW, for your reference, I outlined my views the other day so you can see from which angle I am evaluating the candidates. Also for background might be my idea for the greatest good for the greatest number.
These two candidates have ballot access to enough states that they could, in principle, win the required 270 electoral votes. BTW, the silly Americans Elect party didn’t even select a candidate.
Overall, I am not unhappy with his stated positions. I am most concerned about his interest in austerity as a way of resolving our debt situation (which is a very big deal, and one that needs addressing, but I think _after_ our recover has solidified), I think that approach is likely to further stall our economic recovery. Still, given that he would have to work extensively with Congress which has demonstrated it isn’t pro austerity (all GOP blather to the contrary, though they seem to want austerity for the poor, handouts for the rich), he doesn’t seem like a poor choice overall.
Stein’s positions overall appear to be rather unrealistic given that, if elected, she would have to work with a Congress that is vastly more mainstream and conservative than the Green Party. It is almost as if they have usurped the most progressive of progressive positions and added the rather unrealistic goal of making alternative energy our nation’s mainstay. Indeed, it might be more fair to characterize her platform as ‘socialist’ rather than ‘progressive’. On the whole I like the drift of the platform, but I find it exceedingly unrealistic and not just for sociopolitical reasons. While I discuss elements of her platform, overall I would say that I would expect her to be unable to reach accommodations with Congress and likely would get nothing of consequence done (Obama got _exactly_ what he wanted done, all blather to the contrary).
These candidates lack direct ballot access to at least 270 electoral votes, but have write-in potential so could make a meaningful showing but reasonably there is no chance, even theoretically, for these people to get elected.
Virgil Goode’s positions are, for the most part, the exact same talking points as the GOP, so one has to wonder what, exactly, he feels he is offering the voter that Romney isn’t. There are some tiny differences, in my view, but for the most part he is against anything the Green Party (Jill Stein) is for. Pro life, anti-gay marriage, anti-immigration, pro military, against ‘Obamacare’, etc. The only thing really novel is his insistence on term limits and his claim that, if elected, he will be a one-term President. He also clearly doesn’t understand the economics of fossil fuels (much like the Greens) and thinks that somehow the US can eliminate its dependence on foreign sources without also driving our economy into the toilet. Of course, in my mind, he has so little other reasons for my support that this is just nit picking, this guy has almost no differences from the standard GOP positions. Why vote for him and take away a vote for Romney if you support the same positions that he does? Sure, Romney might not follow through with his conservative promises (since he promises to be all things to all people someone is going to get lied to!), but that doesn’t seem to be a reason to cast a vote for this third-party candidate.
Party for Socialism and Liberation, Peta Lindsay
Peta isn’t even old enough to hold the office of President, so I won’t consider her further.
This guy seems really anti-government (one has to wonder why anyone so rabidly anti-government is so intent on becoming head of it, but such was Reagan, given his rhetoric) and is totally a bible thumping God fearing GOP standard bearer of the exact same stripe that Goode above is. I only browsed over his ‘platform’ as it is the hugely wordy style that I tend to bloviate (yes, I understand it is a challenge to read, but bullet points are boring) and it isn’t organized in a way that makes it feasible to browse anyway. He is rabidly (yes, I repeated myself, but I believe it is an important adjective for this guy) anti-abortion/pro-life. This guy might attract a few fringe voters not happy with the ‘wishy washy’ GOP platform (which is about as pro-life as you can get), but I won’t spend any more time on him because I feel quite sure that there is no way a vote for him is a vote for change in our status quo.
I got some prejudices to overcome here as I reflexively think that actors make bad politicians. Still, when Roseanne failed to get the Green nomination she turned to the Peace and Freedom Party, which makes her even more suspect to me. Her platform, though, is notable in that she is the first one that I noticed that has support for the Palestinians and wasn’t just the same old support for Israel. Not shockingly, her platform is quite similar to the Green platform, though theirs is better developed. Though her chance for success is vanishingly small, I do see a vote for her as a vote for a better tomorrow, presuming one accepts my adopted thesis that support for third-party candidates is not throwing your vote away.
Socialist Workers Party, James Harris
I didn’t see a link to Harris’ web site, so don’t have anything to comment on.
So, Alexander failed to make it with the Greens, then failed at the Peace and Freedom Party, so I guess wound up with the Socialist Party by default. His platform is certainly socialist, even more so than the Green platform, and it is mercifully brief. Given my ‘socialist’ leanings (certainly socialist given how far to the extreme right our country has gone), I am quite sympathetic with his platform, though, much like Stein, I doubt he could get any cooperation from Congress if he tried to enact his platform. Still, as a vote for change goes, I think it would be worthy to cast one for him.
There are quite a few other candidates but they get even more fringe (yes, I know that is saying a lot). I am sure that there are a few that would be worth ‘change’ votes but for my own situation I am not very interested in voting for someone who I feel convinced won’t get enough attention to impact the system.
As far as ‘viable’ third-party candidates, there really are only the two, Libertarian Johnson and Green Stein. Johnson is the more conservative and Stein is the more liberal/progressive. I think that Johnson is a more realistic candidate, as I think that Stein’s platform is too pie in the sky, but of course neither has a chance of actually being elected. However, if there is a strong enough showing in total votes for third-party candidates then it is plausible (in my mind) that would start to generate more serious candidates for third parties going forward. Perhaps it will help to elect more Representatives, and possible Senators, breaking up the monolithic hold that the GOP and Dems have on our system now. More important would be the third-party candidates in local politics and as I rather embarrassingly admitted to a friend this morning, I have no idea who are the local and state candidates or what the issues are. Perhaps my change in attitude at the national level will enable me to get more interested in local politics since, as pointed out in a CNN opinion post, much of what actually impacts us on a daily basis is controlled at the local level, not the national level.
If you don’t support either mainstream candidates, consider investing in the future by casting a vote for some third-party candidate instead. Doing this across the board (meaning down-ticket to state and local candidates) would have a much bigger impact as third-parties almost certainly have to bubble up from the bottom rather than being imposed from above (think Nader and Perot).