By Samir Shukla
It is November. Election month. This is an off-year election and in most places around the country it is a rather sleepy election. Most contests this year are regional and municipal. Unfortunately, this means the voter turnout will be dismal. Here’s my participation cheer. Remember that Election Day is November 7, 2023. Mark your calendars, check your local ballots and make an effort to vote. Local elections have a larger effect on lives living in that region or state than national ones.
The big fight, the big prize, for the oval office next year, is in full swing. Republican hopefuls are sparring now, trying to distinguish themselves from others during the debates and on the campaign trail. One of them is hoping to dislodge former President Trump from once again attaining the nomination. President Biden is in essence going to get the Democratic nomination. In love and politics nothing is written in stone, though. Either Trump or Biden, or both, could face unforeseen curve balls, like severe health issues, that can derail their runs.
Trump faces lots of legal issues and some formidable opponents in the primaries, and if the number of candidates narrows by the time the primaries and caucuses begin early next year, or at least by Super Tuesday, then he may not be the sure thing that he thinks he is. The nomination may be heavily leaning his way, but it is still anyone’s for the taking.
Biden also faces headwinds, but unless voters really see him as not being able to function during his second term, he remains the presumptive Democratic nominee and will contest as such next November.
The two dominant parties are in the process of choosing their nominees for president. There will be independent candidates running but unless they have name recognition and financial backing, it will be an exercise in futility. A strong independent candidate, though, can sway enough votes and become a spoiler, a derailer of dreams. Of course, any independent candidate must get on the ballots in all 50 states, which is no small feat.
Efforts are being made for a viable third party. A couple of new ones have been organized. The No Labels Party and the Forward Party. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Who? Their hearts are in the right place, but unless they want to be spoilers, they will wind up supporting one of the nominees from the two parties in the end.
So, let’s start with an established one, instead. The Libertarians should have become, by now, a viable third party. They think they are, but not really. How many Libertarians can you think of that hold any substantial office around the country? Or more importantly, the numbers of offices in a specific arena, say a state legislature? This is how you impact change with your ideas and ideology. You gotta have the numbers.
They should be a viable third party, and have fielded Presidential candidates for years, but essentially are non-consequential in their results. My advice to Libertarians, something I have written about before, is to forget running someone for president and instead identify Libertarian leaning congressional districts around the country and concentrate on the House of Representatives. If they can get substantial number through the turnstiles, they can make a difference and force the Democrats and Republicans to work with them. You gotta have the numbers.
If you want to affect change, forget about third political parties making any difference in American political systems for the next few years, maybe decades. Work instead to make one of the two parties that fits your ideology closest into a better party. This is how the left and right wingers are trying to make sharp turns with the two parties, by getting just the right amount of folks in their caucuses to bend the way the bills are brought to the floor. But they are spoilers, not achievers.
Lasting change always happens with cooperation and compromise, which requires the right quantity of participants in any governmental battlefield. There is safety in numbers, but in politics, there is power in numbers. The better solution than trying to get a substantial third party off the ground is to work to eject the extreme ends of whichever party fits your bill first and then veer the party toward the foundational center. This is where the country’s work gets done and we move forward.
Third political party fantasies are just that, fantasies.