Monday, November 01, 2004

Third Party Strategy

I have been registered to vote as American Independent Party (a basically theonomic party which also goes by the name of Constitution or Taxpayers party in other states) for at least 10 years. I don't have much hope that they will win and I usually vote Republican unless the candidate is so bad I can't in good conscience support him/her. But I have always argued that the better strategy would be not to run a presidential candidate but to try to get our people elected to state and US Congressional offices. This would give us some leverage in national elections, especially when it was a close race, and we could use that leverage if not to win the presidency, at least to influence White House policy. An emailer to Ramesh Ponnuru makes a similar point at The Corner:

"Ramesh makes a good point (in his noon post) concerning 3d parties. But, the one thing I don't hear anyone address is why all these 3d parties run for President, but don't (normally, except for California) run for Congress or the Senate. It would seem that a 3d party with a serious long-range view, would concentrate national resources on winning a couple of Congressional seats a year. Then (after 10 or so wins) they would try to get a few senators elected. Think of the power 5 Senators would have if they were conservative (actually, the power would be the same no matter their leanings, I would just like it more if they were conservative), and the Senate was nominally split down the middle. Now, they could run a presidential campaign, and use their electoral votes to influence things."

NOTE: In the interest of precision, I want to point out that I don't agree with all of the positions of the AIP. I think the anti-immigration plank of their (our?) platform is unbiblical as well as imprudent. But I like the idea of Christians forming independent coalitions with the governing party, rather than giving blank-check endorsement by joining its ranks. And I think the above-mentioned strategy makes more sense than continually spending money and effort trying to win a presidential race that everyone knows is currently impossible.

No comments: