Saturday, February 25, 2012

Third party updates

I have previously published news about third parties and their presidential candidates here and here. At the risk of repeating myself...

My thoughts on the ineptitude of continuing to support all of the candidates of the leftish member of the two-party duopoly were posted here last week. My argument in favor of third parties is: what have you got to lose? If you're a Republican and the party nominates someone you can't support, your vote for a third party candidate, be it Libertarian or Constitution or some other is a message to the GOP to shape up. Likewise -- and particularly since this is Texas, where your presidential vote isn't going to matter anyway -- you can send a message to the Democrats to get their shit together.

That having been reiterated...

-- First, this from Ballot Access News reveals another delay in the Texas primary that is tipped by RPT chairman Steve Munisteri, and it has ramifications for third party petitioners:

For the last few weeks, virtually everyone who has been following the Texas redistricting trial has assumed that the Texas primary this year will be May 29. However, on February 24, the Texas Republican Party state chair issued a letter, warning that there is a possibility the primary won’t be held until June 26. Here is the letter. Thanks to TexasRedistricting blog for the link.

A June 26 primary would require a major revision to the state’s procedure for independent presidential candidates, because the independent presidential petition can’t begin to circulate until after the primary.

Munisteri's note is headlined "it's up to the courts". That's false. It's up to him and his party to take a settlement they don't like or wait for the courts to make a decision they won't like. If they settle, they can't sue on appeal, so they won't negotiate an agreement.

This mess is all owned by the Texas GOP.

-- The Greens won't have to fight for ballot access in Texas this cycle, and have gotten a great deal of publicity out of Roseanne Barr's declaration for that nomination. Though there are others contending -- the Green Party's Texas state convention is June 9-10 in San Antonio where they will select candidates for state office (candidates must still file but there is no primary voting as with the Rs and Ds), and the national convention is July 12-15 in Baltimore -- the presidential candidate getting the most positive attention is Dr. Jill Stein. The New York Times has posted two articles of late: "Five Questions for Jill Stein" last week, and "Who might run as a third-party candidate in 2012?", yesterday. This would be Dr. Stein's second challenge to Mitt Romney (if he achieves the GOP nomination, that is); she ran against him for Massachusetts governor in 2002.

-- That last NYT link above also mentions Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg as possible 3rd candidates, for what little that is worth. Aman Batheja at the FWST has a post detailing Trump's potential as the Make America Great Again party's presidential nominee in Texas, along with some extra third party news.

-- Americans Elect, the online effort to nominate a third-party candidate, is taking their game offline with a meetup next week in Austin. It requires an RSVP at their Facebook site (which sort of defeats the purpose of taking your game offline). I have previously detailed the worthlessness of this effort as a playtoy for the idle rich. Buddy Roemer, the former Louisiana governor who drew no interest as a contender for the Republican nomination, has announced he will seek the AE slot as well as that of the Reform Party. It's noteworthy that Roemer has a local supporter in Greg Wythe. Charles has more.

-- The Libertarians' highest profile candidate (if you don't count Ron Paul) is former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. This article details his efforts to appeal to an unconventional voting bloc: marijuana users.

Johnson’s decision to campaign on legalizing marijuana was based on principle: He’s used it, he thinks it’s safer than booze, and he hates the drug war. It was also based on some hypothetical math: “100 million Americans have admitted to using marijuana,” Johnson told me two weeks before the Florida straw poll. “If they all gave me a dollar, that’s a hundred million bucks.”

In theory, it was a swell plan. In practice, Johnson has “done so many events with marijuana. So many marijuana events. Basically, nothing comes out of it other than for an enthusiasm for what I say. No money comes out of it.”

That’s not to say that marijuana policy reform advocates are broke, or cheap. Progressive Insurance founder Peter B. Lewis has donated half a million dollars this election cycle to Prop. 66, which would reform California’s onerous three-strikes law, and another $159,000 to the Drug Policy Alliance Network Committee. (Lewis’s deep pockets also made the Marijuana Policy Project what it is today.)

But what weed money there is, isn’t flowing to Johnson. So he’s going back to the basics: Cutting the size of government. [...]

Over dinner, I asked Johnson how to make that message...sexier.

“How do you?” he replied. “We talk about this all the time. That’s kind of the crux. It’s not a sexy message, but if we don’t cut Medicare by 43 percent, there’s not gonna be any Medicare.”

For some reason I think he ought to stick with the ganja issue.

-- Lastly, the party and candidate Democrats appear to fear more than the Greens in the 2012 cycle -- Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson -- continues to plow ahead with ballot access success in states not named Texas.

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