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Time for some Democratic third-party panic!

Karl over at Hot Air analyzes this WSJ article by Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen about as I would, but I have a couple of things to add.

  • Executive summary of the Caddell/Schoen article: a third party is really, really likely next year! And it’d be good to have!
  • Executive summary of the Hot Air article: no, it’s not really likely. Here, have some links to all those examples and historical data that Caddell/Schoen referenced, but inexplicably declined to link to*, and you’ll see why.
  • Executive summary of my reaction: what Karl said. Besides, when Democrats start talking about how spiffy third-parties would be in a given race, it’s typically code for “Oh, God, we are so hosed next year if we run the current candidate.”

No, really. The thing about the way that third parties are talked about by the media is that people only bring them up when they want to make it look like Generic Election X is going to be another Bush/Clinton/Perot ’92. The problem is, our current political system is designed to bring about results that are more like Christie/Corzine/Daggett ’09**: two ‘real’ parties, with the rest acting as minor spoilers at best. Which means that results like Hickenlooper/Maes/Tancredo ’10 are widely – and properly – seen as places where the system broke down, rather than a goal to aspire to.

Those who object to the previous sentence should think about NY for a moment, as it is a state that has: a fusion voting system that allows for viable third parties; and one of the most dysfunctional political systems in the nation. The two conditions are not unrelated: elections in New York often hinge on whether the Republicans/Conservatives will sheathe their knives in each others’ flesh before the Democrats/Liberals/(and now, the WFP) can similarly self-destruct in an entertaining fashion.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*I mean, seriously. What, they forgot how to embed links or something?

**Daggett ended up under-performing his poll numbers significantly, which is something that anybody who knew anything about New Jersey election history could have told you ahead of time.

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