Entering our third week…

Howdy everyone! I’m excited to say that Third Party Watch is now two weeks old, and we’ve been getting great traffic numbers and lots of attention from other blogs and websites. It’s nice to know there are people out there interested in alternatives to the two major parties.

Having said that, this last weekend was a little light on updates because I was moving into a new place. Now with that squared away, I’ve got high hopes that this week we’ll see a lot of activity.

As always, if you have any questions or comments… just email me!

12 Responses to “Entering our third week…”

  1. Mikey Says:

    Loving it so far. :) Keep up the good work.

  2. Otto Kerner Says:

    I agree completely: excellent job so far. This is the sort of information source that U.S.-third-party geeks like me have been waiting for for a long time. It’s too bad that you weren’t in business back during the third party boom of the 1990s. Hopefully, things will pick up steam again in the near future, although I’m not too optimistic. I think that ongoing military hostilities tends to suppress third parties: people seem to want to rally ‘round the flag and the Two Parties. Notice that Perot came on the scene right after the end of the Cold War.

    You might consider writing something about the efforts to enact proportional representation in North America. If we could get that passed somehow, we’d have a multiparty system despite the objections of the monopoly parties.

  3. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Thanks for your kind words, guys!

    You’re probably right about military conflict suppressing third party activity, but then again you can see 1968 (and 1972, to some degree) as an exception. I think the real issue in 2004 was the 2000 election… and the success of third parties. Ralph Nader had such a strong showing in 2000 that he successfully tipped an election, and therefore both major parties were out in full force trying to supress the votes for minor parties on their side of the aisle.

    The 90’s were a pretty exciting period for third party growth, though… but I think the future landscape is actually looking pretty interesting. The Green Party is, in my opinion, very much in a position to take the “third largest party” away from the Libertarians. They’re electing lots of local-level officials. While the LP claims more in raw numbers, the Green officials are in more notable elected offices. The Constitution Party is in a great position having almost elected a state legislator last year and doing pretty well in the Presidential race.

    I’m very much looking forward to next year.

  4. Mikey Says:

    I’m just sad for the fall of the Reform Party. Great message: clear and to the point - reform. Didn’t exclude anyone like the Libertarians do, since they accepted anyone who believed in “change.” If the Green party can pull that off, then yes, they’d definitely take over as the #3 party in the nation.

  5. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Yep, funny the Reform Party should come up, someone who was deeply involved in the New Jersey chapter of that party has written an article for this site about the party’s rise and collapse in that state. Should be interesting, just have to edit it a bit and will post it later today.

    What I think will be the big test for the Greens is the 2008 Presidential contest. If they poll better than the Libertarians without Ralph Nader involved (inflating the Green totals in 1996 & 2000, and sucking up all the oxygen in 2004)... then that will definitely say something about who the real #3 is.

  6. Ron Hardy Says:

    What if the Green Party doesn’t run a candidate for President in 2008???

    See this question posed here: http://babblemur.blogspot.com and at my parent site: http://www.babblemur.com

    There is a case out there that running a candidate for president has actually hurt the Green Party due to the backlash effect from Democrats. Nader both helped and hurt the Greens. What if the Greens just blew off the 2008 Presidential campaign and focused on local and state elections instead? How would this impact their standings?

    By the way, I just found your site last night and I love it.

  7. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Well, that’s an extremely interesting point. It might make the most amount of sense, backlash or not, to simply skip a Presidential campaign that will at best capture 1% of the vote. I would say the measure of how successful they are come 2008 will depend on state legislative seats.

    This is only my opinion, of course, but every state legislative victory is worth easily more than 100,000 votes for President. Putting it simply, I’d rather be a party with 5 elected state legislators and polling 250,000 votes for President than a party with no state legilsators that can poll 750,000 votes.

  8. Stanley H. Says:

    Running a candidate for president is what helps to get out the word to the general public about a particular political party.

  9. Austin Cassidy Says:

    That’s true and all… but what if that money was poured straight into winnable local races? Target one meaningful and winnable race in each state and fundraise like heck for it from the entire state party’s roster of donors. It could be the mayor of a medium sized city in Colorado… a state legislative seat in New Hampshire… a city council seat in a major metropolitan city. Run 50 expensive local races instead of one expensive national race… and at the end of the day you might have 5, 10, or 15 substantial victories to celebrate. Just my 2 cents.

  10. Stanley H. Says:

    There are all kinds of minor political parties out there that concentrate on trying to win local races. It’s the parties that put out candidates for high profile offices that get the attention.

  11. Austin Cassidy Says:

    That’s true… but which matters more? The minor bit of attention paid by the mainstream media or the actions of the party’s elected officials?

    I’m not saying never run a candidate, either. I would think the best steps might be to seek self-financing candidates like the Libertarians almost had with Aaron Russo. Otherwise, candidates who can generate a lot of free media through existing name recognition… like Ralph Nader. But spending money promoting long-shots with zero name ID like David Cobb and Michael Badnarik seems kind of like stealing from the work that could be done to elect local officials.

    Look at the Working Families Party in New York… the Vermont Progressive Party… and the Minnesota Independence Party.

    Working Families has had success, I think they elected a New York city councilman… and possibly a state legislator? The Vermont Progressives have six state legislators and numerous other officials. And the MN Independence Party has a State Senator.

  12. Stanley H. Says:

    I think that it just depends on what a particular political party’s objectives are. I personally think that there are benefits and pitfalls to both strategies.