Time for some Democratic third-party panic!

Karl over at Hot Air analyzes this WSJ article by Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen about as I would, but I have a couple of things to add.

  • Executive summary of the Caddell/Schoen article: a third party is really, really likely next year!  And it’d be good to have!
  • Executive summary of the Hot Air article: no, it’s not really likely.  Here, have some links to all those examples and historical data that Caddell/Schoen referenced, but inexplicably declined to link to*, and you’ll see why.
  • Executive summary of my reaction: what Karl said.  Besides, when Democrats start talking about how spiffy third-parties would be in a given race, it’s typically code for “Oh, God, we are so hosed next year if we run the current candidate.”

No, really.  The thing about the way that third parties are talked about by the media is that people only bring them up when they want to make it look like Generic Election X is going to be another Bush/Clinton/Perot ’92.  The problem is, our current political system is designed to bring about results that are more like Christie/Corzine/Daggett ’09**: two ‘real’ parties, with the rest acting as minor spoilers at best.  Which means that results like Hickenlooper/Maes/Tancredo ’10 are widely – and properly – seen as places where the system broke down, rather than a goal to aspire to.

Those who object to the previous sentence should think about NY for a moment, as it is a state that has: a fusion voting system that allows for viable third parties; and one of the most dysfunctional political systems in the nation.  The two conditions are not unrelated: elections in New York often hinge on whether the Republicans/Conservatives will sheathe their knives in each others’ flesh before the Democrats/Liberals/(and now, the WFP) can similarly self-destruct in an entertaining fashion.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*I mean, seriously.  What, they forgot how to embed links or something?

**Daggett ended up under-performing his poll numbers significantly, which is something that anybody who knew anything about New Jersey election history could have told you ahead of time.



  • Spegen says:

    A third party candidate did not help Carter in 1980

  • Murgatroyd says:

    A third-party candidate in 1992 made it possible for President Bill Clinton to be elected.
    A third party candidate did not help Carter in 1980
    Nothing short of an asteroid strike could have helped Carter in 1980.
    A third-party candidate in 2000 made it possible for President George W. Bush to be elected.
    A third-party candidate in 2008 made it possible for Senator Al Franken (*spit*) to be elected.
    The people who control the Democratic Party are not unobservant. I’m convinced that the Obama crew has cultivated John Huntsman to be the spoiler for 2012, and the media will paint him as the “reasonable Republican” who stands as an alternative to the evil, racist, Christian-supremacist, corrupt, stupid Republican candidate.
    I hope I’m wrong.

  • Murgatroyd says:

    (How did that first line get out of sequence? It should have been third. Oh well.)

  • DaveP. says:

    Murgatroyd: George Bush Sr. helped Bill Clinton win election (let’s face it, the man was one of Reagan’s worst mistakes) a lot more than Ross ‘Crazy Dwarf’ Perot ever did; if it wasn’t for his incompetency (tax hikes, anyone?) and sneering Brahmin-among-untouchables attitude (declaring “The adults are back in charge!” at his inauguration, as he succeeded one of the most popular and sucessful presidents ever) and his ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with the Clinton campaign, we might have avoided eight years of Clintonian corruption.
    Coleman HANDED the election to Al Franken both by running one of the worst reelection campaigns in modern times and by his completely supine behavior during the recount (e.g. not challenging any of Franken’s ginned-up votes because he “didn’t want to look like the bad guy”).

    Third parties only cost Republicans elections when the party candidate is a ‘tard in the first place.

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