A third-party approach to disgruntled but loyal Republicans

Life of the Party blog carries a letter from a “reader who wishes to remain anonymous due to current position in the GOP.” The essence of this letter is that in the bluest states, a vote for a third party candidate cannot be blamed for McCain’s defeat—there was no chance for McCain to win California or Vermont, for example, even if there were no right-wing third parties on the ballot.

True. That also goes for the reddest states. And it opens the door to a strategy third parties can use in all the non-battleground states.

I will use the Libertarian Party/Bob Barr campaign as my example here, but this approach can be used by any third party on the Right (Constitution?) or the Left (Nader?) that might plausibly be accused of taking away votes from McCain or Obama. Mind you, I’m not suggesting that these parties avoid the battleground states—by no means! Only that this is an appeal to their potential voters that can be taken in the non-battleground states.

In California, for example, the Libertarian Party could appeal to disgruntled conservative Republicans via carefully targeted mailings by saying, in essence:

“Look, we know you’re a small-government conservative. You can’t be happy voting for big-government McCain, but you don’t want Obama to win. Guess what. California is a sure state for Obama, so your vote for McCain doesn’t count! The ONLY way to cast a vote that counts is for you to vote for Barr. Register your disgust with how the Republican Party has acted these past 8 years by voting for Barr, with a clear conscience knowing that you haven’t contributed to an Obama win. We’re not asking you to change parties (at least not now)—only to make your vote count in the only way that’s open to you.”

Imagine a carefully crafted direct mail letter like that to Republicans in every non-battleground state, both the ones McCain is sure to carry and the ones Obama is sure to carry. It could lead to a surge of support for the Libertarians in these states that, all total across the nation, the media and the Republican politicians would have to recognize. And, once these disgruntled Republicans have taken the first step of voting for a third party candidate, and realize they haven’t been struck down by lightning, they are much more susceptible for your appeals in the future!

5 Responses to “A third-party approach to disgruntled but loyal Republicans”

  1. NewFederalist Says:

    An excellent idea but it does take money and the right mailing list to carry out.

  2. Carl Says:

    I have been saying for YEARS that the LP should focus on the lobsided areas for president and on uncontested races downticket. Stop trying to “make a difference.” Making a difference puts to worse of two evils in power.

    But forget the mailing. Just run ads on the local conservative talk radio affiliates.

  3. Roscoe Says:

    The Paulites wanted to do the same sort of letter before the GOP primaries in Penna. Costs were apparently prohibitive, and they had millions in the bank. I don’t think any state LP has the kind of money to do this statewide.
    It might be interesting to try this in one or two congressional districts or voting precints, however, to see if the tactic raises votes vs. districts where it isn’t tried.

  4. Michael Seebeck Says:

    Simple strategy: ignore the strong opponents and gobble up the weaker ones. The corollary is to run the opposite of the stronger one.

    In CO, El Paso County (Colorado Springs) had traditionally been a GOP stronghold, with the LP usually running the only oppostion against them—the DP was so weak they didn’t bother to show up most of the time, and a Green in there was an endangered species. So we ran our two-way-race candidates to the left of the GOP candidates (not hard in that area since there right-of-center is considered a “liberal commie”!) and appealed to the DPers who had no candidate. In the three-way-races, we ran in the center. While we didn’t win, we certainly softened up the GOP, and now since that LP chapter unfortunately ended, the DP has moved in and made inroads, and the area has become more balanced. Once the GOP lock was broken, CO as a whole began to go blue. The biggest coup appears to be coming soon as GOP nutcase Musgrave in #4 is losing badly in her district and maybe they will finally be rid of her.

    So we can and do influence things over the long haul, but we need to keep at it. I hope people can take that to heart.

  5. DebbieKat Says:

    Nader’s camp already is using a similar strategy. It’s called Vote Pact.

    http://www.votenader.org/blog/2008/06/18/votepact/

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