Ketchup and the Two-Party Problem

A defense of third-party politics.

Seth Godin wrote about third parties in a blog post "Ketchup and the third-party problem". He says that those of us supporting third parties or their candidates are doomed to failure, and miss our chance to really influence the political field.

Needless to say, I find the arguement lacking, and merely a more passive aggressive method of saying that we should all vote for Hillary because otherwise we'll be doomed with Trump. I've snarked about it on Twitter. But I feel this deserves a bit more detailed of a rebuttal.

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"When the going gets weird…"

Image from Gary Johnson, used under  Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Licence

Image from Gary Johnson, used under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Licence

In every presidential election I've voted in (every one since 1992), I've had only one surefire prediction that holds up almost every time: Anything can happen, and damn near everything will happen.

It's usually a safe bet. Some races get so weird that I declare them races where anything can happen, and everything (no matter how implausible) will happen.

1992 was one such race, with Ross Perot becoming a credible candidate, dropping out mid-race, and dropping back in not too long afterwards.

2000 only mildly weird… until election day itself. Nothing like a looming constitutional crisis to spice up a dull election season.

2016 is already a weird one, and we haven't even gotten a single ballot cast yet, much less even arrived in the year 2016 itself!

It could be so weird that the likely Libertarian nominee could run as the "normal" candidate, as observed by Todd Seavey at Splice Today:

I mean, if the Republicans end up offering someone as odd as Trump or Carson, and the Democrats offer a criminal such as Clinton or a socialist such as Sanders... couldn’t Johnson plausibly just run as the non-weird candidate for whom America has been waiting?

Johnson, after all, is a successful, smart, and respected former two-term governor of New Mexico, elected and re-elected as a Republican even in a majority-Democrat state. He never raised taxes even when building new highways, shrank the budget, vetoed more legislation (from both parties) than any other governor, created more jobs than Rick Perry’s Texas despite occasional claims to the contrary, and let the state government workforce shrink through attrition as workers retired—probably the least-painful way to deal with public-sector bloat.


Libertarian National Convention 2008 - Denver: Let the Blogging and Twittering BEGIN!!!

Right now I'm taking advantage of the free wi-fi in the Denver Airport after claiming my bags.

Don't know what the wi-fi access at the hotel will be like as hotel Internet access is often rather poor (or expensive, or both). But I'll be posting as I can. Keep looking here and at my twitter feed (link over in the About Me section to the left).

I have my gripes about the travel. The TSA inspector pointing at my gut and asking what I was carrying in there was especially embarrassing (the smart-alec comeback that would have kept me from boarding my flight would have been to say I was 6 months pregnant, and it was a boy.) The fact that I had to catch a bus at Logan Airport to make my connection, and (Ugh) GO THROUGH SECURITY ALL OVER AGAIN.

And apparently the next leg of my travels is a doozy. The Denver airport seems to be way out in the middle of nowhere. Coming in for a landing, there was no evidence of anything remotely urban outside my window save for the airport itself. For all I know I may actually be in Wyoming.

Yesterday I got the latest in a series of phone calls about the convention. This time it was a poll taker. Various campaigns have called asking who I was supporting, and if I would consider their candidate for the presidential nomination. (Three candidates even called personally.) But this time it was poll paid for by... who knows?

The interesting thing about this poll (aside from the glaring omission of George Phillies) is the inclusion of... Tucker Carlson??? WTF?

What, did Tucker run out of cable news channels to work for? Personally, I suspect that the poll is to determine the viability of a Tucker campaign.

I have to renew my prior analysis that Tucker is channelling Hunter Thompson. When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro, indeed.

World's Smallest Political Platform for the Libertarian Party Petition

I hadn't been looking forward to the Libertarian Party convention's debates over the party's platorm.

Who the heck ever reads party platforms anyway?

It's people and candidates who identify as Libertarians who will define the LP in most people's minds, not policy documents.

But this proposed platform has caught my eye. It's just a single plank, a single sentence. It boils libertarianism down to its basics.:

The Libertarian Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope or power of government at any level or for any purpose.

More about the origins of the WSPP can be found at the blog of it's author Thomas Knapp.

Internal LP Politics: HUH?

Third Party Watch: A Denver Accord for the Libertarian Party?:

What has been unfair is an imbalance that treats the Dallas Accord as one-sided, obligating only anarchists not to discuss courts, police, and national defense, but leaving minarchists free to speak their mind and to openly campaign in favor of government-based services.

Funny, I've been in the LP since 1992. I've never heard of this "Dallas Accord."

More importantly, I've never seen anyone ever hold their tongue in the LP. This "accord" must have been dead long, long ago.