An editorial published Thursday morning in Wake Forest University’s Old Gold & Black newspaper ‘Third party voting minimizes electoral impact‘ surely appears to be attacking voters of third-party candidates.
Let’s go through this editorial hit piece by Alexandra Karlinchak paragraph by paragraph, shall we?
Trump and Biden are part of the problem, not the solution
With only 54 days until the 2020 election, tensions around the country are running at an all-time high. There is a lot at stake for a large number of people, and not many are exactly thrilled with the choices America’s two-party system has allotted them. This said, I am here as a voter and as a citizen to ask you — scratch that — remind you that voting third party is not a choice that is bound to help you or your fellow citizens.
Tensions across the country have been at an all-time high since 1994. Alexandra is probably too young to remember the Crime Bill of 1994, written by none other than corrupt career politician, former vice-president and current Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The aftermath of that bill is still prevalent, even now in 2020: the unlawful targeting of black people regarding crimes they did not commit. It’s only getting worse in 2020 because the two major party presidential nominees are avid racists. You can toss the Patriot Act as part of the problem as well.
There are many victims over the past 26 years. Rodney King. Trayvon Martin. Duncan Lemp. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Michael Brown. Eric Garner.
Let’s not forget those who have been victims to this qualified immunity scam. Elliot Katz. Larry Hope. Rochelle Brousseau. Afton Callahan. Savana Redding. Donald Rickard.
Editorial dismisses the point of freedom of political choice
Look, I am a sucker for democracy and personal freedom. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Count me in. How important do I think the right to free speech is? I am furiously typing on my whirring, overheated Dell to post an op-ed in a student-run newspaper. That is as first amendment as it gets.
No, madam. You’re not about democracy or personal freedom. You’re calling for the voices of people who have consistently voted Libertarian, Green, other “new parties” and independents for years to be silenced. And you’re using the platform of a government-funded university to suppress their First Amendment rights.
The United States simultaneously exists as a democracy and a republic and hosts a two-party system that has gotten progressively more partisan as time progresses. (Sorry George Washington!) While the two-party system structure was not so rigid a century ago when there was a healthy mix of conservative democrats and liberal republicans, today’s political climate is much different. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “The American two-party system was a pseudo-two-party system, because each party provided only a loose framework within which shifting coalitions were formed.”
Since 2000, the U.S. has neither been a democracy or a republic. It has been an idiocracy with two heads on one incredibly corrupt political monster.
Washington warned about the scourge of political parties and that has been incredibly clear.
Democrats and Republicans were able to work together in the 1960s and 1970s. However, over the past half-century, they have been found to be working less and less with each other. Hence, the massive infighting. The unwillingness to work on a reasonable second pandemic relief program this late in 2020. But yet, they have no problem taking a quarter-million dollar salary while actively oppressing the American people — and that’s without any committee appointments.
Karlinchak — and her cronies — obviously has never bothered to research any third-party candidates
This is not to say that minority parties or aisle reaching are obsolete ideas. The Libertarian Party, for example, pulled 3.3% of the popular vote in the 2016 Presidential election according to Ballotpedia. Today, if I stopped someone on the street and asked them who the Libertarian candidate is for the 2020 Presidential election, my answer would be handed to me in the form of a quizzical look and a head tilt. I say this with confidence because I experienced this exact situation firsthand when I asked my three suitemates if they knew who Jo Jorgensen was. Their furrowing brows were answer enough.
The 3.3% result was not the result of the candidate himself. It was the result of a great group of volunteers that promoted the ticket in each of all 50 states.
You’ve obviously haven’t bothered to research Jorgensen.
Jorgensen was the 1996 Libertarian vice-presidential nominee alongside presidential nominee Harry Browne. That ticket received nearly half a million votes, the best result since the 1980 presidential election.
Outside of Illinois (her birthplace is in Libertyville) and South Carolina (where she currently lives), she may be relatively unknown, but Alexandra, you are so incredibly wrong and naive about Jorgensen. I was physically in attendance at the Jorgensen rally in St. Louis. There were 1,000 people inside the Kiener Park Plaza during this rally. They weren’t all Libertarians. There was a wide array of Republicans sick and fed up with Donald Trump’s broken promises. I witnessed an array of Democrats who refuse to support Joe Biden as their nominee. Even some people who normally vote for an opposing third party who are voting Libertarian this time around. So your assumption is nothing more than this: bullshit.
Problem: Debate inclusion. Solution: Abolish the Commission on Presidential Debates.
While scoring 3.3% of the popular vote was unprecedented in 2016, it was still too little to make any real difference in terms of garnering support from a national audience. In order for a third-party candidate to participate in the presidential debates, they must “have support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations”, as stated by The Commission on Presidential Debates.
The only point of this statement and the solution is this: abolish the Commission on Presidential Debates. The League of Women Voters handled this debate much better than the Commission does now.
Attaining 5% locally will help third-parties reach national 5%
In addition to this, third-party candidates must pull 5% of the popular vote in order to be considered for public funding in the following race. For example, if Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received 5% of the public’s vote in 2016, the Libertarian party would have been eligible for public funding in this year’s presidential cycle. But even with the highest national support third party candidates have ever seen, the 5% mark was not met, and the Democratic and Republican parties continued to dominate the field.
Libertarians could care less about the matching funds from the Federal Election Commission. 42 states attained or retained major party status in their respective states as a result of the 2016 presidential election. In Illinois, 30 counties attained the much-needed 5% for major party status in local elections. However, McLean County took advantage of that beginning with the 2018 primary election.
The same could be said for other statewide races, such as the 2018 Illinois statewide constitutional officer elections. Treasurer candidate Michael Leheney attained this goal in his home county of Kankakee. They held their first primary earlier this year, which included a currently-elected Republican crossing the party line to run for re-election as a Libertarian.
Building the base for getting statewide 5% will help get to the national 5%. It’s just a longer process. Just don’t forget: voter support for Libertarian candidate quadrupled in 2012 and 2016. You truly underestimate how powerful the 60% of voters who declare themselves as non-partisan or independent.
Please don’t reference the hacks at FiveThirtyEight
The sad truth of the matter is that the Libertarian and Green parties were only as popular during the 2016 election as they were because the Democratic and Republican parties themselves were so disliked. While Dems and the GOP are still not exactly swooned over, polling from FiveThirtyEight shows that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is scoring above where 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton was at this time four years ago. To be completely blunt, this makes the argument for voting third party even weaker.
There is virtually no chance for a third-party candidate to gather even a fraction of the support they need to make any true difference this election cycle. If the only reason you want to vote third party is to stroke your ego or humblebrag on Twitter about how moral you are, please know that you can write my name in for President and make the same splash.
2020 is no different. The majority of Democrats hate Joe Biden. It’s 50/50 among Republicans hating Donald Trump. They’re equally disliked as Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016.
FiveThirtyEight isn’t a very reliable place to get your election news, as they’ve always been slanted to the left.
The power of the third-party vote — especially in now-former uncontested races
And yet, you’re using this as an excuse to weaken the power of a third-party vote. And yet, you’re ignoring some basic truths: Voting Republican in a state that always goes Democrat is a wasted vote. Voting Democrat in a state that always goes Republican. In those states (pretty much most of America), voting third party is the best thing you can do.
Time to stop picking Cotton in Arkansas
In Arkansas, the Democrat who was running for U.S. Senate dropped out, leaving Tom Cotton running unopposed. That unopposed run ended when Libertarian candidate Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. entered the race to contest this race.
Time to stop voting for corrupt Democrats (and some Republicans in Illinois)
In Illinois, roughly half of the seats in the Illinois General Assembly were going uncontested. It took a ballot access lawsuit in Libertarian Party of Illinois v. Pritzker to open the floodgates for the November 3 election.
As a result of that lawsuit, the presidential and U.S. Senate nominees of the Libertarian Party of Illinois and co-plaintiff Illinois Green Party would be on the ballot automatically. In lesser races, the statutory requirement would have a 90 percent reduction. The reduced figure is the same number equal to that of Democrats and Republicans.
Illinois has the largest third-party candidate turnout in years
Including primary candidates, 36 Libertarians filed petitions this cycle. Only three candidates will not be on the ballot in 2020. There were 22 other “new party” and independent candidates. Only seven did not meet the requirements and won’t be on the ballot in 2020.
There are seven Green Party candidates, with the remaining being independents or are part of irrelevant third parties with limited to no following.
The Libertarian and Green parties are the only active alternative parties in Illinois and are the ones leading the charge to take over Democratic seats (and some Republican seats) in November.
The biggest push nationwide is political races without opponents. With more Libertarian and Green candidates, the better results that come for presidential candidates Jorgensen and Howie Hawkins.
She’s “not bashing third-parties”, but she is bashing third-parties
I am not writing this article to bash third-party ideologies. I know that it is healthy to question tradition and act progressively. But I also recognize that in order to secure true cooperation and understanding among this country’s diverse population we need to act, and we need to act together. A vote third party is a vote for Trump. Refusing to vote is a vote for Trump. And looking at the current state of our country and our country’s relation to the rest of the world, that is the last thing we need.
Your entire narrative is bashing third-party ideologies. It’s nonconstructive criticism. If you’re asking me and Libertarian voters to “settle with Biden”, you’ve got a rude awakening coming. A vote for Jorgensen for Libertarians and Hawkins for Greens is simply that: a vote for a Libertarian and Green. A third-party vote HAS NEVER been a vote for a Democrat OR a Republican. Refusing to vote between two racist pedophile rapists this cycle is a vote against further oppression by the two major parties.
The first and last thing we need is more political choice for voters. Competition in elections, to borrow a line from Martha Stewart, “is always a good thing.”
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.