Sunday, March 5, 2023

I Hope Donald Trump runs in 2024... a third-party candidate!

Leftists and so-called "progressives" are really annoying.  Some of them are obvious plants by the far-right or even Russia.  The Russians or the GOP (aren't they same thing, now?) want to swing elections, so they convince "useful idiots" on the left that people like Ralph Nader or Jill Stein have a shot at being President, and that people like John Kerry or Hillary Clinton are "too conservative." Never mind the fact that their Republican opponents are even more conservative!

Problem is, these third-party candidates end up as spoilers only.  If only 600 people in Florida who voted for Ralph Nader had voted for Gore, he would have won Florida and won the Presidency.  9/11 might never have happened - or our response to it might have been far different if it did.

If only half the Jill Stein votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania had gone to Hillary, she would have won those States and won the Presidency.  Imagine how the pandemic would have turned out instead - maybe more aid to people and less "PPP" loans grants to "businesses."   Maybe less horse dewormer and more vaccines.   Maybe less appeasing Putin and a stronger Europe.   It is an interesting thought.

Jill Stein, as I noted before, was photographed in Moscow during the election having dinner with Putin and Michael Flynn.   No interference in our elections, nosiree!

Sadly, the electoral college makes it very easy to use third party candidates to swing electoral college votes in "swing States" where the margins are thin.  And it isn't hard to convince useful idiots, particularly with the Internet, to throw away their votes.  And I know this as I fell victim to it in 1979 when Carter was running for re-election.  I was 19 at the time, and fell victim to the arguments that a third party candidate (John Anderson) could have a chance at winning.  The margin of victory for Reagan in New York State was less than the number of votes John Anderson gotDitto for Michigan, Connecticut, and a host of other States.  It is possible that Carter may have won, but for third party candidate John Anderson and idiots like me.

It is interesting how third-party candidates end up swaying elections - in the opposite direction of the politics of the candidate!  Of course, not just Republicans play this game - Bill Clinton was elected with the help of Ross Perot, who siphoned off just enough Bush voters to put Clinton in office.

You try to argue with these useful idiots (which was me, at age 19) and they don't get it.  "The two-party system is no good!" they say, "The only way to change it is to vote for a third party!"

Interesting argument but dumb as a doorbell.  You see, with the electoral college in particular, when you have three candidates running at the same time, two tend to be more closely aligned politically, than the other.  This is not a theory, but a mathematical certainty.  So you have Carter and Anderson being more aligned with each other and Reagan opposing.   Kerry and Nader on the Left, Bush on the Right.  Bush and Perot, Right and Clinton, Left.   Hillary and Stein leaning Democrat, Trump leaning Republican (or so Republicans thought!).  If you split the vote of one side of the political spectrum, the other side more easily wins.

The grand-daddy of this effect (well, at least a famous incident, I am sure there are more, worldwide) is the election of 1912. Teddy Roosevelt won the Presidency in 1858 and again, four years later. His protégée, Taft, ran in 1908, and won.  But Roosevelt thought that Taft had betrayed his populist policies in favor of big business.  So Roosevelt ran against Taft as an independent "Bull Moose Party" candidate and actually out-polled Taft.  But, having split the Republican vote, Woodrow Wilson won, with fewer votes than the Taft and Roosevelt votes combined.

When you argue over who is more Republican, you end up with a Democrat, and vice-versa.  Those who shout "RINO!" the loudest should take note.  It used to be that Republicans closed ranks over doctrinal issues.  Or as Bill Clinton put it, "Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line!"

Again, this is not some wild theory, just basic mathematics - and history - and not up for debate.  It isn't like the third party candidate represents some political ideology that runs perpendicular to the linear political spectrum, but rather further to the right of the rightist candidate or further to the left of the leftist candidate.  The only exception to this rule might be in 1968, when George Wallace (an old South Democrat) ran distinctly to the right of Richard Nixon - but then again, those were the dying days of the "solid South" when the South was solidly Democratic, which was a legacy of the Civil War.

Some folks argue we should have a three-party or four-party system, and our European friends (well, the ignorant faction thereof) argue that since they do it, we can do it too!  Nice Try.  You see, our Democracy is older than theirs and not a Parliamentary Democracy like many European countries have.  Over there, you elect representatives and they in turn elect a Prime Minister or other leader.  In some countries there is a PM and a President, the latter being mostly ceremonial.  They are different systems than we have.  Maybe better, maybe worse, but different.

As a result, in many Parliamentary Democracies, alliances sometimes have to be made among the different parties to form a majority government - sometimes unsavory alliances, sometimes unstable alliances.  There are downsides to having three or more parties, too.

The main point is, a three-or-more party system in our country wouldn't work (except as a spoiler system) unless we completely changed the structure of our government to be more like a Parliamentary Democracy, where elected leaders would choose the President, and not the votersIt may actually be a better system, but Americans, I think, would chafe at the idea of Congress choosing their President.

It would also require a complete overhaul of our Constitution - or a very serious Amendment to it. And to do that, Congress would have to vote on it, as well as the States.  I am not sure any of the various stakeholders would find it to their advantage to change the system. And as I have noted (harped on) before, predicating your success in life on extreme social changes is never a good idea.  They aren't likely to happen and chances are, if they did, the results would be disastrous.

Imagine the compromises needed to elect a President by Congress.  As the experiences of our European friends illustrates, the possibility of electing a Trump-like creature are not less than in our system, but pretty much the same.  We had the Donald, they had the Boris - or the Recep.   Actually, Europe has its share of shitty leaders - as does Australia and Canada, for that matter (have you seen what is going on in Ontario these days?).  So our lack of  a viable third party isn't necessarily the problem - and a viable third party would likely be a Bull Moose (or Bull-something) and serve only to elect the opposition.

It is true, however, that when you vote for a third party you are not "throwing your vote away" but instead voting for the opposite party.  Every vote for Jill Stein was a vote for Donald Trump.  Every vote for Ralph Nader was a vote for George Bush.  Every vote for Ross Perot was a vote for Bill Clinton.

And every vote for Donald Trump - if he runs as an independent in 2024 - will be a vote for Joe Biden or whoever is the Democratic nominee.    Take note, Joe - and hope Trump runs when he loses the nomination to DeSantis!