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A National Third Party will never have any lasting power…  

It's against the law!

February, 2008

Money may grease the rails of politics, but the currency of power is Electoral Votes.  Until a third party holds the 20 to 30 electoral votes that will decide the presidency by gaining concessions from the major parties, third parties will be nothing more than a smear on the windshield, distracting but easily removed from sight.

In the present system, the presidential candidate who receives the most votes gets ALL the Electoral votes in almost every state.  In Texas, millions of Democrats could have staid home with no change in the outcome.  The same is true of Republicans in California.  If your vote does not count, that is disenfranchisement.  The present system is so unfair that it is mathematically possible for a presidential candidate to win the prize with only 28% of the popular vote.  “Mathematically” means that it would never really happen but it does show that it is within the bounds of reality for a 45% popular vote winning over 55%!  Look at the last ten elections: usually the percentage of the electoral votes have no similarity to the percentages of the popular vote.

A solution to this possible topsy-turvy win would also give third parties the opportunity to form coalition governments by giving them electoral votes and those votes could be essential in a close election.  The Fore-fathers built a system that allows bills to become law when passed by both the states and the populace.  Yet in the only nationally election, officials are chosen only by a weighted vote by the states.  As noted before, millions of disenfranchised voters could stay home with no change in the outcome. Changing to a strictly popular vote would “disenfranchise” several rural since their total population would have little bearing on the outcome and that would not change the dynamic for third parties.

One way to bring a meaningful change would start by increasing the electoral votes per state by a factor of three.  The winner in a state would receive one-third of the votes which means all states would be important.  The remaining two-thirds would be proportioned to those candidates whose combined total vote reaches 95%.  An example of one state could be that candidate “A” gets 50%, “B” gets 40% and “C” gets 10% of the popular votes.  If 60 electoral votes were a stake, “A” would receive 20, 1/3 of the 60, plus 20, 50% of the remaining 40; “B” would garner 16, 40% of 40 and lastly “C” puts 4 votes in their pocket.

Why go to such manipulations.  Firstly, the 28% mathematical winner above would receive only 29% of the electoral votes in the proposed college.  But think of the voters who now have a choice of voting for a third party going to the Electoral College: registration and participation would increase since there would be a greater choice and third party supporters would no longer vote for either of the major parties in fear losing their vote thereby choosing who in their mind would be the least of two bad choices.  And the real gain: millions of people would not be disenfranchised as they are in the present system.

Another benefit would be campaigning in all states.  Some states now receive little attention before and after a campaign since they are “safe” states.  But under the new system a win with 60% instead of 50% would mean a greater number of electoral votes from that state.

All this would require a constitutional amendment, but making the election process more meaningful would warrant the effort.  But then to do this, the two national parties would have to agree to work for it, and we know how likely they would support a fairer election.  The two parties depend on those potential voters staying home and not voting.  Every potential voter that stays home is a victory for back room politics.