Given a Choice Between Red and Blue…I’ll Take Purple

Third party viability. Someone near and dear to me has a blog that focuses around the premise that a third party can rally and paint the White House purple (Hint: Coup D’etat over there in the blogroll, go visit it next next!). We have all talked about a “None of the Above” box on the ballot. Some of us have even seen the movies (I would have voted for Richard Pryor). But since the big boys refuse to give America that “None of the Above” box, a third party is our only other option. But can that really happen?

The short answer is YES!! Not for the Presidency, at least not yet. I will have an entire blog later that addresses the electoral college and how it is set up in a way that keeps a third party from gaining the White House. But when we are talking about the House of Representatives and the Senate, a third party not only has the ability to gain power, but has the ability to do it now.

Let’s set the stage for where we are shall we? The approval rating for Congress is at an all time low. Let’s go with the Gallup poll as it is usually accurate and fairly unbiased. The end of the summer poll by gallup put the approval rating at 14%. For you liberals out there, your trusted NY Times says 15%, and for you conservatives, Fox News says 18%. Any poll you look at says the same thing. Congress sucks and the American people know it. At best, if you ask ten of your friends, two of them think Congress is doing a good job.

So what does that mean for a third party? It means the iron is hot. America is not happy with our Congressional representation (or lack thereof). This Presidential election cycle saw a groundswell of support for our next President. How did he do it? By promising change and running on a platform that barely resembled democratic platforms of the last 30 years. Let’s strike that last part again so it sinks in… America’s youth went for a platform that didn’t look like the political platforms we are used to seeing. America’s youth went for the platform of CHANGE (even though there is no indication yet of what that change might be).

America’s youth is different than their parents. They aren’t tied to a political party. They are tied only to ideas. And let’s be honest, the democrats and republicans are quickly running out of those. Reach the young voters NOW and a third party has the ability to gain party loyalty that is largely determined by the age of 30. Choose not to act now and these young voters will go with one of the two options currently available. We all lose if that happens.

But it isn’t just the youth. All of America is looking for something different. I am not talking about the 20% of Americans who will live and die for the two big parties. I am talking about the 60% in the middle that find themselves disenchanted with the big boys. They find that neither party really fits with what they believe. More important, they find that neither party has delivered on any of the promises they made in the last 25 years worth of elections. All of these people are looking for an option. 

But they aren’t looking hard. It could be argued that apathetic American voters aren’t willing to do any of the legwork necessary to understand a party and what it stands for. Too many vote on a single issue or based on what the media tells them. So they aren’t going to do the work to seek out a party that is more in line with their beliefs. That means that it is up to all of the believers to take the message to the people. If you don’t, who will? The democrats and the republicans will, that’s who. 

As the author of the previously mentioned blog so eloquently points out, Ross Perot gained 19% of the popular vote in a race that he only ran half of. Third parties should have taken that opportunity to strike and start making some gains on the big boys. But they didn’t. That mistake cannot be made again. It wasn’t a third party that showed this opportunity this time. It was the Democratic party that ran a campaign based on ideals rather than a platform… and won. Has there ever been a stronger message that the American voter is ready to listen to the ideals that a third party can offer?

So let’s talk about it. Do you think a third party has the ability to gain seats in the House or Senate? If so, what are the things that need to happen? Is this whole blog entry just crazy?


  1. revolution2010 says:

    Absolutely, in fact I believe it will be “in vogue” to be a member of the currently little known Libertarian Party. The youth of today has a revolutionary spark and a lot of energy to expend. They are quick to respond to a fight and love to na na na na at their parents. What better a way for them to rebel than to join that rogue Third Party… let’s give them the direction, and they will run… then they will debate their parents into it!

  2. This is very valid point. Kids tend to flock to their parents party simply because they don’t have another good choice presented to them early. While they aren’t all looking to rebel, they are always looking for their own voice. A third party should be the voice of the new generation, so to speak, and they can gain political clout fairly quickly. I am certainly looking for something more than what the two-party system has to offer right now. An old man and an unknown.

  3. Although I agree with the statement of the 3rd party, I feel it would be better to look at the existing parties and see what can be done. America is still run by our parents, but not for much longer. Let us be realistic and work with what we have, instead of being idealist and think we can take over the world. That was fine when we were 20 and not paying taxes.

  4. Jen,
    I guess I understand that thought process. But I don’t think talking about third parties is taking over the world. I would submit that reforming and changing the current parties is a much more daunting task that rallying people around a new party. People simply don’t trust the two big parties these days. They are looking for an alternative. Thoughts?

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