On Oct. 11, 2013, Gallup released a poll showing 60 percent of Americans now recognize the need for a third political party. This number represents the highest proportion of voters since Gallup started asking the voters this question in 2003.
Breaking down the numbers further, an overwhelming majority of Independents, 71 percent, see the need for additional choices on Election Day. In fact, a slight majority of Republicans (52 percent), and almost half of Democrats (49 percent) agree Americans need a viable and well-known third political party on the ballot. Furthermore, only about one in four (26 percent) of respondents believe the Republicans and Democrats still adequately address the needs and represent the opinions of their constituents.
However, undeterred by the voices of the voters, the states of Ohio and Virginia have both blatantly ignored the needs of Americans to have additional choices on the ballot on Election Day. In October 2013, each of these states took steps to further reinforce the dominance of the Democratic and Republican Parties -- in an attempt to thwart the growing segment of voters who refuse to support either half of the nation's established political duopoly.
Americans leaving both major parties in large numbers
While the numbers of Americans belonging to the Democratic or Republican Parties have fallen steadily in recent years, the October 2013 government shut down, and the blame game going on between the two sides in DC, have combined to further alienate the voters from both parties. The fastest rising group of voters now label themselves as “Independent” or NPA (No Party Affiliation). Among established "minor" political parties in America, the Libertarian Party best exhibits rapid growth in the number of members since 2008.
In addition to the Libertarian Party, the Green Party also gaining voters who no longer feel represented by the Democrats or the Republicans. Also worthy of merit is the increase in popularity of the Constitution Party and the Justice Party. The recent rise of these “minor” political parties in the U.S. is clearly evident from the decision by Free and Equal in October 2012 to host the first ever Third-Party Presidential Debate. This event, hosted by Larry King, was broadcast across America on C-Span.
Third-Party Presidential Debates a huge success
The Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson, the Green Party’s Jill Stein, the Constitution Party’s Virgil Goode, and the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson all participated in this historic event. Free and Equal invited Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. However, neither “major” candidate accepted the invitation. Obama and Romney each preferred the manipulated and pre-determined arrangements agreed on by the Commission on Presidential Debates – operated and controlled solely by and for the Democratic and Republican Parties.
Just days before the election, Ralph Nader hosted his own third-party debate, which once again included all four candidates from the Free and Equal Debate. Free and Equal wrapped up the third-party debates by inviting Libertarian Party Candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party Candidate Jill Stein for a “runoff” debate between the two candidates (viewers selected Johnson and Stein over the other Anderson and Goode in the first round of contests).
To learn more about Free and Equal, and its goals of ensuring Americans are fully informed about all of the candidates campaigning for political office, please visit the organization's website and Facebook page.
Virginia excludes Sarvis from final gubernatorial debate
Despite receiving around 13 percent support in recent polling across the state of Virginia, and state debate rules only requiring candidates cross the ten percent threshold to participate in the debates, Democratic Candidate Terry McAuliffe and Republican Candidate Ken Cuccinelli “agreed” with (or more likely pressured) sponsor CBS to exclude Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate Robert Sarvis from taking part in the last televised debate before the election.
This contest would have been the last chance for Virginia voters to see how Sarvis stacked up against the two very unpopular candidates offered by the two major political parties in the state, and clearly demonstrates the threats felt by the establishment political operatives due to Sarvis’ rise in the polls leading up to the gubernatorial election in early November.
Ron Paul and Gary Johnson endorse different candidates
Within recent days, Republicans attempted to further diminish Robert Sarvis’ viability as a gubernatorial candidate by publicizing an endorsement from former libertarian-leaning Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul. Paul press release expressed his support for Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican running in the race – not Sarvis.
Paul’s move not only disappointed Sarvis supporters, but also alienated many of Paul’s own devoted Libertarian and libertarian-leaning followers who feel he is now “selling out” to help his son Rand secure the GOP nomination in 2016.
In response to Paul's surprise announcement, 2012 Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson publicly endorsed Sarvis to be Virginia's next governor.
Sarvis responds to his challengers with televised political ads
Libertarians in Virginia are organizing an effort to combat the efforts by the Democratic and Republican Parties in Virginia to keep voters unaware of Sarvis’ political platform, and to allow him the opportunity to challenge the views of the two major party candidates. Sarvis is soliciting campaign contributions to purchase an advertisement broadcast across Virginia to inform voters of his political platform, and far superior to the other two candidates in the race for governor.
Libertarians and other individuals interested in assisting Robert Sarvis’ gubernatorial campaign in Virginia can visit his website and Facebook page to learn more about Sarvis, and how they can best contribute their time and money to help him get elected.
Ohio State Senate changes ballot access rules to eliminate third-party challengers
Onto Ohio, where the State Senate passed legislation denying political parties ballot access unless the party received at least three percent of the vote in the prior election cycle. According to Ben Swann, 22 senators voted in favor of the bill, with only 11 senators objecting to the proposed election law.
During the 2012 Presidential Election, Gary Johnson earned just under one percent of the vote in Ohio. In that state's 2010 Gubernatorial Election, Libertarian Candidate Ken Matesz received 2.4 percent of the vote, while Green Party Candidate Dennis Spisak won 1.5 percent. Therefore, none of the above-named candidates breached the three-percent threshold required by this corrupted piece of legislation.
The GOP-dominated Ohio State Senate pushed heavily for this bill in reaction to the likelihood many Tea Party and liberty-leaning voters will favor Charlie Earl, expected to be the state's Libertarian candidate for governor, over incumbent Republican Governor John Kasich in the 2014 Gubernatorial Election.
Smaller political parties unite in opposition to legislation
However, the Libertarian and Green Parties in Ohio have combined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union in opposition to the legislation, and plan to take the proposed law to court should it pass. Charlie Earl told reporters: “What I believe they’ve done is taken four or five pockets of resistance and combined us into one bag of fury. And we’re coming after them. We’re not going to stop.”