Republicans or several years now have consistently played the “fear” card when it comes election time. They consistently set up some Democrat – be it Al Gore, Roy Barnes, John Kerry, Mark Taylor, or Barack Obama – as some kind of Big Evil that is out to destroy us all, and then try to make us so afraid that we HAVE to vote for the Republican to avoid the Boogie Man. They tell us that if we vote for some “third” party that is more in line with our personal values rather than Their Candidate, the Boogie Man will win and all hope will be lost.
The problem is, Georgia is a “Runoff State” in every election other than the actual Presidential Election. In every race in this State other than President of the United States, a single candidate MUST receive 50 percent of the votes plus one vote in order to win the election.
It is due to Georgia being a Runoff State that the case for third parties is actually made easier, upon any amount of thought.
You see, because a candidate MUST get 50 percent plus one, and EVERY candidate is in the election to win it (at least they will claim to be), more choices almost always guarantees a runoff election. One need look no further than this year’s Governor race to see this. The Democrats currently have five candidates in that race, and the Republicans currently have eight. Due to this high volume of candidates, BOTH races are expected to go into runoffs. However, the Libertarian Party has also consistently shown that when it runs candidates, those candidates force runoffs, a la Alan Buckley’s 2008 US Senate campaign that forced a runoff between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin.
If Georgia had Equal Ballot Access for all Parties, this would be even MORE true. Splinter parties such as the Constitution Party of Georgia AND the Green Party of Georgia would run more candidates, and while the Libertarian Party draws votes from “both” established Parties, the Constitution Party tends to draw primarily Republican voters and the Greens tend to draw primarily Democratic voters. (The 2008 Presidential nominees of these two parties were Chuck Baldwin and Cynthia McKinney, for example.)
Because these candidates invariably force runoffs, a person can genuinely vote their conscience in the General election without fear that the Boogie Man will automatically win. Then, the voter can vote their fear in the Runoff, and have the best of both worlds – they BOTH voted their conscience AND their fear, without sacrificing EITHER.
But this brings up an even more interesting possibility: Instead of setting up the “Boogie Man” and demanding that Libertarians and Constitutionals help the Republican Party, would it not be moreso in the interests of everyone – including the Republican Party – if the Republican Party helped the Libertarians and Constitutionals?
Think about it: In the runoff, the top two vote-getters in the General election face off. If your argument is that the Republican Party is “an ideological cousin” of the Libertarian Party and/or Constitution Party, does it not make sense for the Republican Party to work to ensure that BOTH of the combatants in the Runoff are some form of “conservative”? After all, if the Boogie Man is SOOOOO bad, should not the Republican Party work to ensure that the Boogie Man never makes it to the General, but that instead one of its “cousins” does?
Or is the Republican Party just after its own control and power?
Written by Jeff Sexton. Jeff Sexton co-owns the political blog SWGAPolitics.com and is current chairman for the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia