Marion Algier – AskMarion
Sarah Palin is definitely back full force and has opened the conversation as to whether the path forward for conservatives, concerned patriots and Reagan Democrats who feel they are not being represented by the GOP, either party, should be looking toward a new party or if there should be a GOP overhaul. The former governor of Alaska floated the idea of bolting from the Republican Party if it continues to, as she sees it, to back away from the principals of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. The Whig party was replaced by the Republican Party, with Abraham Lincoln as it’s first president and Ronald Reagan its modern standard bearer by which all others are measured. Sarah Palin said she was open to creating new ‘Freedom Party’ if GOP continues to ‘neglect conservatives’… common sense patriots of all stripes. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin entertained building a “Freedom Party” while answering Twitter questions on Fox News Saturday.
In response to one Twitter user who asked, “Would you & Mark Levin be willing to build a ‘Freedom Party’ if GOP continues to ignore conservatives?” Sarah said:
“I love the name of that party — the ‘Freedom Party,'” Palin replied. “And if the GOP continues to back away from the planks in our platform, from the principles that built this party of Lincoln and Reagan, then yeah.”
Whenever the idea of forming a third party is mentioned a huge debate ensues, as it should, but too often just the negative arguments surface. In August 2012, the Examiner ran an article on how to counter the negative arguments. The biggest argument is always: “Voting for a third party candidate is a wasted vote… They can’t win!
“Voting for a third party candidate is a wasted vote because the candidate cannot/will not win.”
Here are two distinct arguments for the Examiner, as the case for a third party candidate being unable to win is much different than a prediction that said candidate will not win. Let us examine both cases:
RINOs and DINOs
1. Voting for a third party candidate is a wasted vote because the candidate cannot win.
Anyone who claims this is claiming that the election process in America is rigged. Let us set aside the matter of whether this is actually the case and focus narrowly on the claim being made. A person who believes this should be trying to convince people not to vote at all in protest of a corrupt system, not trying to convince people to vote for Republicans or Democrats.
2. Voting for a third party candidate is a wasted vote because the candidate will not win.
Anyone who claims this is claiming to be able to predict the future. We know that all psychics are charlatans and frauds, so such a claim destroys the credibility of the arguer. This argument is also an example of a logical fallacy known as circular reasoning. Don’t vote third party because they won’t win? How are they supposed to win if no one votes for them? Furthermore, this argument assumes that winning is everything, which is false. Third parties have to contend with obstructionist ballot access laws passed by Republicans and Democrats, which typically require a national-level or state-level candidate of a third party to win a certain percentage (usually 5%) of the vote in order to keep the third party on the ballot. Failing that, the third party must make a petition drive to collect signatures, typically numbering in the tens of thousands, and then (in many cases) fight off a challenge by lawyers and operatives of the two major parties.
N.B.: It is helpful to apply the arguer’s logic to major-party candidates. For example, consider the U.S. presidential election of 2008. Statistical analysis shows that Republican nominee John McCain had no chance of defeating Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Therefore, by establishment logic, a vote for John McCain was a wasted vote. This logic can also be extended to the presidential elections in each state. Without loss of generality, a vote for a Republican candidate in a state that is safe Democrat is a wasted vote. After this counterargument, the arguer must either admit that using ability to win as a gauge of whether a vote is wasted is illogical, or accept that votes for anyone except the winner of an election are wasted, a premise which leads to a one-party dictatorship in which voting is meaningless.
You have to choose the lesser of two evils. A vote for (insert third party candidate’s name here) is a vote for (insert name of major party candidate the arguer dislikes here).
This is clearly false, because if it were true, no other options would be on the ballot. Typically implicit in this argument is a logical fallacy known as appeal to fear. The arguer usually attempts to persuade voters to vote for their major party candidate by saying that a third party vote is a vote for the opposition candidate, who would be the worst possible choice. But this argument assumes that one would consider voting for a major party candidate if one’s third party candidate were not in the election. If this is not the case, then the argument is invalid. In fact, the argument is always invalid because votes do not “belong” to Republicans, Democrats, or anyone else other than the voters who cast them.
Because of Duverger’s Law and the nature of the American system, there will be a two-party system.
If this were true, we would expect to see a two-party system arise between Democrats and Greens in a place like Massachusetts, or between Republicans and Libertarians in a place like Utah, places where one of the two major parties has essentially vanquished the other. The absence of such a development seems to suggest that Duverger’s Law is not ironclad.
Historically, third parties have not won the Presidency.
This is a statement of fact, unless we consider Abraham Lincoln’s victory in 1860 to be the election of a third party candidate. But this is simply a statement of fact, not a proper logical argument. There is however, an implied argument that the past predicts the future. Such a prediction only holds weight if we allow it to. As the saying goes, if you keep on doing what you have always done, you will keep on getting what you have always gotten. To say that the past failure of third parties to win the Presidency creates an unalterable future in which no third party candidate can win the Presidency is to claim that the people have no real choice under the current system. If this is so, then it would make little sense to vote at all, since the established duopoly cannot be removed by democratic means.
Your third party vote will accomplish nothing.
False. See the above argument about ballot access laws. Also consider the historical impact of third parties. While the Prohibition Party and the Socialist Party of America never won any presidential elections, both succeeded in getting their platforms adopted by the major parties after spoiling enough elections and gaining a large enough portion of the popular vote. There is no reason why this could not happen again, and one possible way for a third party candidate to eventually win is to have ideas that are popular for an extended period of time that the two major parties simply refuse to implement.
If your third party candidate was any good, he/she would have won the primary of one of the two major parties.
Perhaps there was a time when this was true, but it is certainly not true today. The increased statism and polarization of the two major parties have made it difficult, if not impossible, for a libertarian-leaning candidate to win the nomination of a major party. Centrist candidates also face problems when it comes to invigorating the more extreme bases of their parties. It is worth considering that moneyed interests, especially since the Citizens United v. FEC case, may be manipulating the nominating processes of the two major parties to nominate certain types of candidates while keeping certain other types of candidates from winning. Such a scenario leaves only the independent and third party routes for a true grassroots candidate.
There is not enough time for a third party to achieve sufficient power to influence events.
If this is true, then it makes little sense to vote at all. The duopoly has set us on the course that the arguer claims will lead to destruction, and we cannot solve our problems by using the same thinking we used when we created them. If this is false, then as time is indeed a precious resource, we should not squander it by supporting establishment candidates and thereby wasting an opportunity for change.
As you can see, the “wasted vote” theory has no logical leg upon which to stand. So whenever you hear someone use this argument, send them to this article for a proper refutation.
The comments I have read online… Twitter, facebook and comments on related articles have been very positive toward forming a 3rd party, replacing the deaf GOP and for Sarah Palin, Mark Levin, Jim DeMint and other fiscal conservatives and constitutionalists to form the Freedom Party if there isn’t immediate change in Washington.
But Oldironsides, Nelson Abdullah, of Conscience of a Conservative, whose work I generally like, had a pretty negatative outlook:
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been my hero since the day she was chosen to run for Vice-President on the Republican Party ticket in 2008 (after her electrifying convention speech at the Xcel Energy Center). Sarah Palin has always epitomized the strong, patriotic female conservative with her Mama Grizzly and Lipstick on a Pit Bull attitude. Now I suspect she is about to consider the biggest mistake of her life and I am afraid a great number of her loyal fans will follow her. Jeff Poor wrote yesterday on The Daily Caller, “Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican nominee for vice president responded to a Fox News Channel viewer’s Twitter question Saturday about the possibility of her and conservative talker Mark Levin abandoning the Republican Party and creating something called the “Freedom Party.”
When true Republicans stand fast on the traditional principles of their party they win elections. Unfortunately, there are too many Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) who have managed to destroy the image we represent. It was no coincidence that Sarah Palin was chosen to run along side one of the party’s biggest RINOs, Arizona Senator John McCain. Without Sarah Palin on the ticket, I and a whole lot of other conservative Republicans would have probably stayed home on election day in 2008. This is not the first time that a strong liberal influence has taken hold of the Republican Party. I was there in New York when the state Republican Party was dominated by ultra liberals Nelson Rockefeller and Jacob Javits. In fact, what the conservative Republicans did then in the early 1960s is just what Sarah Palin is thinking of doing now. Abandoning the Republican Party and creating a new political party. Sarah Palin is calling her party The Freedom Party, the disenfranchised Republicans in New York called their new party The Conservative Party.
If history has a way of repeating itself, Sarah Palin’s Freedom Party will become relegated to a distant 3rd or 4th place in the national political power base. The New York State Conservative Party was only successful in electing one candidate to a national office in the last 50 years and that was James Buckley who became a one term U.S. Senator. James Buckley was the brother of noted columnist William F. Buckley and shared his notoriety. From the inception of the Conservative Party their greatest influence was in cross-endorsing a handful of conservative Republicans in local elections.
Wikipedia has a rather complete story about the history of the New York State Conservative Party.
The Conservative Party of New York State is a political party in the United States active in the state of New York, holding “Line C” on ballots directly below the Democratic and Republican parties. It only operates in New York State, and is not part of any larger party.
In New York State’s elections, the Conservative Party is ranked fourth place in terms of membership, behind only the Democrats, Republicans, and the Independence Party, but ahead of the Greens and Constitution Parties. As of November 1, 2011, a total of 147,993 voters, or 1.3% of New York State’s total enrollment, are registered with the party.
Electoral History of the Conservative Party of New York State
The Conservative Party of New York State was founded in 1962 by a group including J. Daniel Mahoney, Kieran O’Doherty, Charles E. Rice, and Charles Edison, out of frustration with the perceived liberalism of the state’s Republican Party. A key consideration was New York’s fusion voting, unusual among US states, which allows individual candidates to receive votes from more than one party. The Liberal Party of New York, founded in 1944, had earlier benefited from this system.
The Conservative Party founders wanted to balance the Liberal Party’s influence. One early supporter was National Review founder William F. Buckley, who was the party’s candidate for mayor of New York City in 1965. In 1970, his brother James Buckley was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Conservative Party candidate; in 1976, he ran for reelection as a candidate of the Republican and Conservative Parties, losing to Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In the 2004 U.S. Senate election, the Conservative Party endorsed Marilyn O’Grady to oppose Republican candidate Howard Mills and incumbent Democratic Senator Charles Schumer.
My strongest advice to Sarah Palin is in the words of someone she may admire: “You don’t change horses in the middle of the stream.” And it comes from the mouth of the most famous Republican of all, Abraham Lincoln. From an 1864 speech by Abraham Lincoln, in reply to Delegation from the National Union League who were urging him to be their presidential candidate. ‘An old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion once that it was not best to swap horses when crossing streams.”
As far as national politics goes, third party movements only manage to split the conservative vote. Put a Democrat on the ballot against a Republican and a Third Party candidate and if the third party candidate is a conservative, the Democrat usually wins. The only recognizable third party we have today is the Libertarian Party but in spite of their conservative leanings, they seem to have been created for the sole purpose of legalizing marijuana. The Libertarian Party has virtually no international platform and wants a whole slew of state and federal laws repealed to prohibit one activity or another. In several noted examples, when a Libertarian Party candidate ran in a local election the Democrat always won and usually the votes gathered between the Republican and the Libertarian was greater than what the Democrat had received. A few noteworthy Libertarians such as U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Thomas Massie won their elections in Kentucky by running on the Republican Party ticket. And that is the only way to win.
No matter which way Palin and her potential co-founders of the proposed Freedom Party go… new party or the re-vamp of the GOP, it will be interesting!! As the CPAC Star said in her March Speech, “We are not here to rebrand a party… We are here to rebuild a country!”
You be the judge…