Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Spoiler Alert!

Now that we know who's in the running, as if we didn't know two months ago, it's time to turn really negative and talk about all those spoilers out there who are dead set on ruining the 2008 election.

Okay, so maybe there aren't that many, and maybe it's highly unlikely that Bob Barr (Libertarian), Cynthia McKinney (presumed Green candidate), Chuck Baldwin (Constitution), Ralph Nader (Independent), Ron Paul (Republican) or any of the other 250-plus candidates for president will get enough votes to earn the right to be named this election's spoiler. But let's say someone does.

In that case, I would like to remind voters across the land 1) who the real spoilers are (hint: they're in office right now!); 2) that anyone who meets the legal requirements has the right to run for office; and 3) that if these people are denied the right to run, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of voters will be left without a candidate to vote for.

I just don't buy the spoiler argument. Like them or not, in recent elections Ross Perot and Ralph Nader gave voters a choice, as will Barr, McKinney, Paul and — can it be? — Nader again this fall. Instead of blaming a lost election on the little guys, the major parties might consider offering better candidates of their own.

If you're an independent or third-party member, what do you think about the whole spoiler argument?


Liberal Arts Dude said...

Hello Marcia

I think the spoiler argument has a certain validity only because the way elections work in the US that third parties cannot help but play the role of spoiler if they have a strong enough following.

The obvious questions is: what do do about it? I am a proponent of reforms like Instant Runoff Voting and Fusion Voting -- strategies that allow voters to vote for third parties without fear of "spoiling" the vote for any of the major party candidates.

Any political reform movement that seeks to address the problems resulting from two-party domination in our elections and political system should look at IRV and Fusion among other strategies as a solution.

Marcia Ford said...

I agree with you about IRV and Fusion. We need serious and significant political reform. Our best hope is that individual states will institute these reforms, because Congress, with its career politicians, is such a tough nut to crack. If enough states enact IRV and fusion, it's more likely that Congress will follow suit on a national level.

Anonymous said...

why should politicians change what got them in office in the first place