Friday, August 20, 2010

Effect of third-party candidates unpredictable

There has been a great deal of talk about how votes for Libertarian and Constitution Party candidates will influence Ohio's elections, particularly for House of Representatives. The conventional wisdom seems to be that both the Libertarians and the Constitutionalists appeal principally to conservative voters; therefore, votes for those two parties will help the Democrats.

However, as Gongwer pointed out last Friday, the Libertarians do not fit so simply into the conservative mold, since the party also favors same-sex marriage* and legalization of drugs -- both positions that are traditionally associated with Democrats. The Libertarians are fielding 23 House candidates this year. According to Gongwer, about half are in districts closely contested between the major party candidates.

The mainstream media, as usual, are not taking third-party candidates seriously; but in an election year where voters are clearly disenchanted with both major parties, maybe they should. Keep in mind that in multi-party elections, something with which the United States has very little experience, the dynamics change. A strong Libertarian candidate in a closely contested race could win with 35-40% of the vote! A few Libertarian State Representatives could have enormous influence in a chamber in which neither the Republicans nor the Democrats had a majority. (Of course, the same is true of the Ohio Senate, but it seems unlikely that the Republican Party will lose its majority there).

Virtual buckeye to the Ohio Libertarian Party, via Facebook.

* I disagree with the Libertarian Party on this point.

1 comment:

Barga said...

The current libertarians seem to be the old-school republicans (save for the 14th issue) as they are fiscally conservative and social liberal/ignoring

I don't think that the third party will be an important atribute in this election, as they make noice, but no fire