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Vox populi (anybody listening?)

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday April 26, 2006 02:57 PM

Here's an interesting item from those wild and crazy pollsters at Angus Reid:
Americans Want Third Major Political Party

April 25, 2006

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in the United States believe there should be a viable alternative to Republicans and Democrats, according to a poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates for the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. 53 per cent of respondents believe there should be a third major political party in the country, up three points since June 2004.

Only 40% said there shouldn't be such a party; the other 7% were undecided.

Comments (8)

J. Alva Scruggs:

Some of the paleocons and libertarians would vote for a candidate who was adamantly anti-war and pro-repeal of the abusive security state legislation. Those things really matter to them. The discussion over economics issues could (ha! would) get pretty fierce.

js paine:

my interest
how many want a tweener head
on orthrus shoulders
how many a stand alone head
to either side
of the orthrian brute

Tim D:

That's true, but these days the Libertarians, like most jaded third partiers, are simply looking for a way to break the R-D monopoly, which I think is exemplified by the Maryland Libertarian Party's endorsement of Kevin Zeese's campaign for Senate. Zeese himself said he and the MDLP don't see eye to eye on all the economic issues, but in terms of the war, civil liberties and corporate handouts, they're all on the same page.


My guess is that people generally don't have a very clear idea of where they'd like to go or what they'd like to see. But they know what they don't want -- I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it!

And y'know, I think that's almost good enough. In fact it's as near as dammit to being good enough.


Gee whiz, if they feel that strongly, then why don't they vote for it? I mean, seriously - this is a no-brainer. Every presidential ballot in America has more than two options listed. Most Americans live outside the handful of "battleground" states known well in advance of the election itself. So why don't Californians, Texans, etc, vote who whomever floats their boat?

This poll should be used as an example, but not of America's craving for a third party - rather, it's indicative of the split between what people say they want and what they actually want.


Rowan --

I think they really do want it -- at least, they really do want a wider range of choices -- but at crunch time they get scared by the "wasting your vote" argument.It's a case of false conscience making cowards of us all -- or nearly all, anyway.

So what to do? I think it's this: try to persuade people that a vote is not a civic sacrament, it's much more like a public opinion poll. If you don't answer candidly, you have no one to blame but yourself if your views aren't taken into account.


I get all philisophical when people claim they want things that they don't actually work towards. If you have the opportunity to work towards something that you want, and you are that easily swayed off of what you "want" then it's not really a want. More like a pipe dream.

I should note here that I voted for Kerry, so I'm hardly immune. To be slightly more fair to me, my philosophy changed considerably after the election, and I voted in Ohio, so it didn't count.

Anyway, it might be interesting to see an examination of the way people think of "voting." I remember reading about Chicago alderman early in the 20th century who promised a Christmas dinner to everyone in their precinct if they got elected. It seemed shocking to me, but normal at the time. So how did the concept of a vote change into a "civic sacrament"? As you described it rather aptly - it really is considered holy. Monty Python's choir singing "Every Vote Is Sacred" is suddenly coming to mind...

The jaw-dropping mendacity of the "wasting your vote" argument cannot be understated. The democrats act as if they're entitled to our votes, money & support when they haven't represented our interests in, oh, about 20 fucking years. That has to be over with as of right now. In the vast majority of districts, the only sane vote is 3rd party.

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