It seems to me that every 4 years you have a presidential election and all of a sudden, they come out of the woodworks: The people whining that we need more than two choices; that we have to have more than two parties. They extol the virtue of voting for a candidate that will be lucky to get half of one percent of the vote.
Now, I agree that we need more options. I agree that we need more ideas on the table. We should have more than two viable parties. My problem is that elections don’t only get held every 4 years. Elections get held every single year. You have all levels of government be it federal, state or local. I vote every year and yet when I vote on odd number years, I never see any third party candidates running for school board, city council, sheriff, constable, comptroller etc.
If you want to build successful third parties, you need to start on a grassroots level. These are the elections that are winnable and can form a foundation. You could get a libertarian as the town constable or get a Green party candidate on the city council. You could get an independent candidate on the school board. These are small elections with a small base of voters. It would be easy to capture the imagination of enough voters to win some of these elections. That would make it easier to start getting into state senates and houses or even the federal House of Representatives.
This is where it’s time to call out bullshit. School boards and city councils aren’t really sexy. Who cares about the comptroller? Or the constable? The presidential election is nationwide and it gets a lot of election. For a lot of people, it’s really more about wanting to complain or wanting to be contrarian. I don’t even see many people propping up third party candidates for congress or the Senate during the Presidential election year.
Now if you actually are out there trying to get independent and third party candidates elected to school boards and city councils, this diatribe is not directed at you. I respect what you are trying to do and support that cause. This is directed at the people that only turn out every 4 years with their holier than thou self righteousness.
Now I’m not going to tell anyone how to vote. People should vote for whomever they feel is the best candidate. I also won’t tell you that you are wasting your vote if you want to vote for a third party or independent candidate. Since only one candidate wins, you could argue that 54.1% of the people wasted their vote in 2016. Vote however you please. I won’t tell you that you’re wasting your vote. I am asking you to stop wasting my time.