Wisconsin Supremes Block Green Party Ballot Access

A potentially catastrophic delay has been averted.

Last week, the Republicans on Wisconsin’s supreme court threatened to put absentee voting in jeopardy by halting the mailing of ballots until they could rule on the Green Party’s petition for inclusion. Yesterday, they ruled against said petition, allowing the mailings to proceed.

WaPo (“Wisconsin Supreme Court rules Green Party presidential ticket is ineligible for state ballot“):

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Green Party presidential ticket is ineligible to appear on the state ballot, a relief for state and local election officials who feared an addition at this late date would upend election preparations.

The decision comes after the Wisconsin Elections Commission declined on Aug. 20 to put presidential contender Howie Hawkins and his Green Party running mate, Angela Walker, on the Nov. 3 ballot because their signature petitions featured two different addresses for Walker.

State election officials had argued that the campaign failed to fix the discrepancy according to state requirements.

[…]

The state Supreme Court is controlled by a 4-to-3 conservative majority that has regularly ruled in favor of Republican interests over the past decade, notably in 2014, when it upheld a law ending collective bargaining for teachers that was championed by then-Gov. Scott Walker (R).

In its 4-to-3 ruling, with one conservative, Brian Hagedorn, voting with the majority, the court said that upending the election was one reason it denied the Green Party’s appeal.

“Even if we would ultimately determine that the petitioners’ claims are meritorious, given their delay in asserting their rights, we would be unable to provide meaningful relief without completely upsetting the election,” the opinion states.

[…]

In a state that Donald Trump won by just under 23,000 votes four years ago — less than a percentage point — a third-party candidate could attract a difference-making number of votes. In 2016, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein won more than 30,000 votes in Wisconsin.

Bob Spindell, a Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission who voted to allow the Green Party on the ballot, said in an interview Monday that partisan leanings influenced the actions of many of those involved in both the Green Party and the West cases.

“To be truthful with you, the Republicans wanted West to be on the ballot, and Republicans wanted the Green Party to be on the ballot,” Spindell said. “Democrats did not want the West or Green Party tickets to be on the ballot.”

Hawkins suggested in an interview last week that Trump supporters had helped the Green Party ticket with its legal claim before the state Supreme Court. The party’s petition was filed by attorneys from the Milwaukee-based von Briesen & Roper law firm, which has a history of representing Wisconsin Republicans. Spindell said it was he who recommended von Briesen & Roper to the Green Party.

The outcome is obviously the correct one but it’s rather odd to make it on the basis of expediency. Either the Green Party met the legal standard to qualify for the ballot or it did not. Either the Green Party filed their petition for relief on time or it did not.

Regardless, the weirdness of a system where multiple parties are potentially allowed on the ballot but only two have a reasonable possibility of winning is manifest here. The Republicans are supporting a party at extreme ideological discord while the Democrats are fighting one much closer to their belief system because of the disparate impact of their appearance on the ballot. That’s a system ripe for mischief.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. MarkedMan says:

    Look, there is a way to create a viable third party: start at the local level and focus on issues relevant to individual communities. Certainly the Green Party, which gives lip service to being the party of the environment, could walk this path. With local victories you could build infrastructure at the county and then the state level. You can then stitch those states into a viable national party based on real achievements for real people rather than slogans and blather. An environmental effort at the local level has as much or more impact on individual lives than a national effort. But instead the Green Party is almost exclusively focused on the Presidential election, cycling in one has-been or crank after another as their “champion”.

    This belief that changing the system so it benefits more parties will suddenly change what the government is focused on flies in the face of experience.

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  2. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: I don’t think any third party stands a serious chance of gaining a foothold in the US as long as it retains FPTP voting. In fairness to the GP, they’ve advocated ranked choice for years.

    1
  3. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: I believe the path I outlined above is viable for an ecology based party. But as I stated, the Green Party is just like the Libertarian Party in that it has no real reason for existence other than to build up the egos of the has-beens and cranks nominated at the national level, and serve as a soap box for people who have never accomplished anything at the local level.

    OK, that’s not fair. While certainly true of the Libertarians, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that some local Green Parties have accomplished things.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    While parties don’t get new names here in the US, the Democratic and Republican Parties have changed dramatically, essentially becoming new parties in the process. Dwight Eisenhower wouldn’t recognize the modern Republican Party, and while a significant part of the Democratic philosophy traces back to the Roosevelt era, it has also completely jettisoned the racist branch of the party.

    2
  5. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m with @Kylopod on this. The system is stacked against a viable third party. If there’s a local race in which a hard left environmentalism is popular, the Democrat will simply co-opt that position (or, less cynically, a would-be Green would win the Democratic primary).

    There’s nothing like a base for a Green or Libertarian ideologically beyond a handful of localities. It’s possible that a Green could win in, say, Vermont. But then they’d have to caucus with the Democrats to have any power at all.

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  6. Michael Cain says:

    Regardless, the weirdness of a system where multiple parties are potentially allowed on the ballot but only two have a reasonable possibility of winning is manifest here.

    Pikers. Here in Colorado, basically anyone with $5,000 who wants on the presidential ballot gets there. IIRC, in 2016 we had 22 candidates. I learned that the Prohibition Party is still a thing. Every four years a friend of mine revives his Cocktail Party. I’ve already told him that if I hit the lotto, he and I will be on the ballot (he currently lives in Oregon, so no problem with the residency issue). I’m sure I can find nine people here who will agree to be our Electors.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: I think you and I just have a fundamental different viewpoint of what political parties are for. If I want clean water then an outcome where

    the Democrat will simply co-opt that position (or, less cynically, a would-be Green would win the Democratic primary)

    is just fine with me.

    This idea that a Party can field someone at the national level, with no infrastructure to support them, is like, say, Hartford CT fielding a baseball team and saying they should get to play in the Major League playoffs. If the Green Party won the presidential election, who would that president appoint to major posts? There are no Green Party governors with serious executive experience or even mayors of major cities.

    To me the critical thing is the issues. If I can get a Democrat or a Republican to champion my issues, then I’m OK with that. If hard work and grass roots effort change the Democratic Party into one that more completely represents my views, great! Minor parties, whether it be in this country or in parliamentary systems ,strike me as either cranks or as single issue blackmailers, willing to toss everything down the toilet if they can get their way on, say, annexing Palestinian land.

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  8. Kylopod says:

    Whatever you think of Bernie Sanders, there’s no question he’s contributed to moving the Democratic Party to the left. And however he may self-identify, he achieved this almost entirely from within the Democratic Party. He may run as an independent in Vermont, but he’s always caucused with the Dems while in Congress, and his two presidential runs were as Democrats. Again, I emphasize that I don’t want this discussion to devolve into a pro-Bernie or anti-Bernie argument. I’m talking about what he’s been able to accomplish in attempting to shift the Democratic Party leftward, and I think we can all agree he’s accomplished quite a bit in helping further that shift.

    Now contrast that with the Green Party. Have they helped push the Dems leftward? I can’t see how. (I guess maybe you could argue that by helping throw the 2000 election to Bush, it was such a big disaster that it inspired an uprise of progressives who had been suppressed in the Clinton years–but that’s pretty indirect and hard to prove, and in any case I don’t think climate change, thousands dead in Iraq, and John Roberts were worth the price. But that’s just me.) From speaking with GP advocates over the years, they seem to make two interrelated arguments: first, that the system is so far gone we have no choice but to burn it all down and start over, and second, that their potential as spoilers is all that gives them leverage over the Dems. The first argument is wildly ahistorical and doesn’t describe how any of the progressive reforms that have happened in this country’s history took place. The second is both delusional and intellectually dishonest, because while it’s certainly true that Dems fear the spoiler effect of the Green Party, this fear hasn’t actually translated into any attempts to appease the GP or come halfway. Partly that may have to do with the fact that the GP makes no serious attempts to reach that goal, as there’s no room to bargain when they declare anything short of complete acceptance of their entire agenda worthless. It’s notable that their biggest legacy was damaging the candidacy of Mr. Earth in the Balance himself.

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  9. @MarkedMan: That system could work in areas where the GOP effectively has no chance in hell of winning a local election short of the Democratic incumbent being a convicted necrophiliac. And at that point, the city council/county commission race could be Dem vs. Green with the Greens trying to grab the left of the local median voters and the Dem getting default support from disaffected Republicans and moderate Democrats. But as soon as the GOP has a viable chance in hell of winning seats in a FPTP system, the Greens will fail miserably.

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  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: I’ve never really thought of it that way. Extremely well put.

    2
  11. MarkedMan says:

    @DAVID M Anderson: I’m not sure I agree if you go local enough. Say that the Green National Party focused for ten years on clean water issues. They convinced their donors to support distributing home water test kits to whoever asked for them and collected those results to identify hyper-local problem sources, and then ran candidates at the most local levels that made clean drinking water and clean beaches their central issue. Once you got dozens of local candidates with real success stories you could move into county and state wide elections, where changes in laws could have more an impact. From their you could form regional coalitions, and even get Congressional Reps elected. They would caucus with another party (obviously the Dems in this case) but could make real demands on an issue by issue basis.

    But as long as the Greens have no successes to point to and their main issue is trans equity or the dominance of white men in college English literature courses, they are just not going to attract much support.

    1
  12. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: An improvement to my baseball analogy above: Imagine if some residents of Hartford, CT formed a baseball league, the Green League, which consisted of one team, the Hartford Cranks, and then demanded they be allowed to play in the World Series on an equal footing with the contenders from the AL and NL.

    That’s essentially what we have with our Party system in the US. It only requires fairly minimal effort for fifth and sixth stringers to put together a “league” and field a “team”. First stringers, however, are going to want to join one of the contenders. And because these small parties can exist year after year with only supporters but no constituents and there don’t have to actually deliver anything to people they represent, there is no pressure for them to become serious.

    2
  13. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: I live in Washington state, a place where the Green Party has a lot of sympathy. Yet in 2016 the only Green candidates on my Washington ballot were for president and VP. There were candidates from the Libertarian, Reform, Constitution, and several other third parties for numerous state and local offices, but not one Green.

    That’s when I realized how unserious the Green Party is, when they couldn’t be bothered to do the work to field any state or local candidates in a state where they might actually win.

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  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Monala: The whole third party thing in the US is pretty cynical. Libertarians appear to be the closest to what people think they are, i.e. an actual party that runs actual candidates. But parties with “Conservative” or to a lesser extent “Progressive” or “Peoples” in their name seem to be pretty much scams. They try to qualify everywhere and where there is a close local or national race between the Democrats and Republicans they effectively sell their line to the party they are associated with, and then cross endorse the main party candidate.

    Say Lindsay Graham is running away with the race. He won’t bother courting the “South Carolina Constitution Party” and they will put someone else on their ballot. But if the race is close he will negotiate a dollar amount to “support them in other races” and then they will cross endorse him on their ballot line.

    1
  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    The Green Party is as ridiculous as the Libertarian Party. Impotent virtue signaling by the too-precious.

    1
  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Monala:
    I’d be more interested in the Greens if they weren’t so dishonest. Carbon neutral by date X is just nonsense given their opposition to nuclear and natural gas. It’s not happening, can’t happen with just solar, wind and hydro. They’re simultaneously yelling for action while opposing actual solutions.

    4
  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Has the Green Party cleaned up so much as a pond? If they have no success at the local level why should anyone trust them with the Presidency?

    And Libertarians are a Bizzaro World Party. Every candidate blathers on trumpeting how they go their own way and don’t let anyone tell them what to before spending the last five minutes of any speech trying to explain what the Libertarian Party stands for. As they just so helpfully pointed out, it stands for nothing and is not a Party in any meaningful extent. Rather, it drums up support for whatever crosses the mind of its billionaire donors.

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  18. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan

    : I think you and I just have a fundamental different viewpoint of what political parties are for.
    […]

    To me the critical thing is the issues. If I can get a Democrat or a Republican to champion my issues, then I’m OK with that. If hard work and grass roots effort change the Democratic Party into one that more completely represents my views, great! Minor parties, whether it be in this country or in parliamentary systems ,strike me as either cranks or as single issue blackmailers, willing to toss everything down the toilet if they can get their way on, say, annexing Palestinian land.

    Our views on what parties are for is, based on this description, essentially identical. Someone with outside-the-mainstream views on most issues will find themselves unrepresented by both of the major parties. Ideally, you’d work within one or the others to get them to affect change. At the end of the day, though, you pick between the two viable choices.

    My only caveat is that, in a contest where the outcome is non-competitive, voting for an ideological party may have some small signaling effect. Were I still living in Alabama, it’s quite possible that I wouldn’t vote for Joe Biden but rather some alternative (frankly, I haven’t investigated the candidates). In Virginia, it’s a pretty safe bet that Biden will win but I’ll vote for him anyway since it’s not a true Blue state.

    3
  19. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Say that the Green National Party focused for ten years on clean water issues. They convinced their donors to support distributing home water test kits to whoever asked for them and collected those results to identify hyper-local problem sources, and then ran candidates at the most local levels that made clean drinking water and clean beaches their central issue. Once you got dozens of local candidates with real success stories you could move into county and state wide elections, where changes in laws could have more an impact

    But why wouldn’t they simply put that effort into moving the Democratic Party closer to their agenda? Even at the local level, the risk of splitting the environmental vote and electing Republicans is real.

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  20. @Kylopod:

    I don’t think any third party stands a serious chance of gaining a foothold in the US as long as it retains FPTP voting.

    Especially if primaries remain the nomination process.

    3
  21. BugmanDan says:

    I think that there is a place for 3rd parties. As @James mentions above, it gives a place for outliers to land. A true progressive in most of the South has no party, as the Dems are conservative. And to large degree the same is true for centrist conservatives.

    Having said that the only way I see for third parties to ever be politically relevant is with ranked voting.

    1
  22. JohnMcC says:

    Small point and I don’t think I’ll look deeper so … for what it’s worth: Back in the 50s and 60s when I was first becoming somewhat politically aware there were two supplemental parties one could read about in NYC elections. There was the ‘Liberal Party’ and the ‘Conservative Party’ and they would endorse major party candidates (helping the bona fides of R- or D-party candidates) or run a competing slate (taking votes from the major parties). As I recall the ‘liberal Republican’ John Lindsey earned that title by running for Mayor of NYC on the Republican AND Liberal party tickets. Wm F Buckley was running for Mayor on the Conservative ticket when he famously (at least, sort of famously at the time) was asked ‘what will be your first action as Mayor if you win?’ and replied ‘demand a recount!’

    Seemed like a logical sort of arrangement to the teenaged JohnMcC.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: I’m confused then. I thought in your original post you were arguing that the two party system should be altered so as to make it more open to third parties. That’s how I interpreted this:

    Regardless, the weirdness of a system where multiple parties are potentially allowed on the ballot but only two have a reasonable possibility of winning is manifest here.

    In your comment you say this:

    Someone with outside-the-mainstream views on most issues will find themselves unrepresented by both of the major parties.

    I agree with this, and would state further that someone with views significantly outside the mainstream would find it hard to convince a voting majority of people of their position. That’s the way democracy works. In the US we look to the constitution and the courts to protect the rights of the minority but there is nothing to promote the preferences of the minority.

    2
  24. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’m confused then. I thought in your original post you were arguing that the two party system should be altered so as to make it more open to third parties. That’s how I interpreted this: Regardless, the weirdness of a system where multiple parties are potentially allowed on the ballot but only two have a reasonable possibility of winning is manifest here.

    No, just the opposite.

    If we have only two viable parties—and a system that makes only two viable parties possible—then the inclusion of other parties simply distorts the outcome and invites mischief-making from the two competitive parties. (“If we can’t convince them to vote Republican, convince them to vote Green.” Substitute Democrat/Libertarian as necessary.)

    Now, ideally, I’d like to have a system with more parties that represented the diversity of viewpoints and encouraged coalition building. (Up to a point, at least.) But that would require an entirely different system of government than we have now, not some minor tweaks.

    2
  25. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    But why wouldn’t they simply put that effort into moving the Democratic Party closer to their agenda?

    In general, as you imply, I think most special interest groups would be better off if they looked at an existing power structure and tried to move it towards their ends rather than try to build a brand new power structure and advance it enough to be effective in promoting their ends. In the case of an ecological party, however, I think that might not be the best route. It is one of the few issues where small, local successes can have significant impact on the community and therefore build up a strong and loyal local following. And both of the existing power structures have natural opponents to green causes (manufacturers, farmers, lumber companies, power utilities) embedded in them already, so moving even the Democratic Party in a more greenward direction may be more difficult than creating a competing structure.

    The Green Party, however, is not the group to do it. It’s moved far away from its ecological roots. Of it’s four pillars, ecology is the second and shortest. (The others are Peace, Social Justice and Democracy). They are trying to rebrand themselves as a general interest party, essentially a bargain bin version of the Dems or Repubs.

  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I think the primary system as it is evolving will be the death of parties having any real meaning. The idea has taken hold in this country that party leadership should have no say in who gets to represent the party. This has been disastrous in at least two cases: the election of Donald Trump, and the looting of the Reform Party. This latter was the brainchild of Ross Perot and he left it with millions of dollars, a significant amount in that era. He also made sure the bylaws stated its Presidential candidate would be selected by a majority or plurality vote of the members and that party leadership would have no say. Campaign professionals saw their opportunity, ran a figurehead for the nomination using their very professional tactics against the earnest amateurs, and after winning, preceded to fleece every last dime from the treasury.

  27. Erik says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: A serious, although perhaps ignorant, question that I haven’t been able to find a good answer to: why are there primaries, and especially why does the government pay for them (by running an election)? It seems to me that if someone wants to be the nominee of a party it is the responsibility of the party to figure out who that should be, not the government.

  28. The Q says:

    Seems to me the only logical office for a third party to aspire is the US Senate. There are only 100 seats. Get 5 of them and you control all legislation in Congress. Nothing gets passed as the Ds and Rs are 3 – 5 seats short of a majority. A charismatic figure from outside the political swamp in some independent minded midwest or Pacific states (we already have 2 from the NE states) running on a common platform that specifically states the goal is to play the sane alternative to Schumer or McConnell and break the hegemony of the two parties is eminently doable.

    There are 20 states (40 seats) with 1.2 million voters or less. Wyoming had 220,000 voters Delaware – 443,000. 2018 Florida senate race expenditures between the 2 parties and PACs was almost $210 million or $22 a vote (9.4 million voters). It makes much more sense to spend $22 a vote in Wyoming for $4.8 million. The beauty of the senate (or its curse) is the egalitarianism. That Senator from 220,000 vote Wyoming has the same say as the California senator with 14 million voters.

    32 or 33 senate seats come open every two years. Independents right now outnumber both Ds and Rs COMBINED. Party cohesion is at an all time low. With social media, gofundme and the internet, raising money and getting a message out has never been cheaper or easier.

    Running 3rd party candidates for POTUS or at the local level is a complete waste of time, energy and resources. Getting 5 – 7 3rd party candidates in the Senate by running a sensible alternative to the Congress of 32% approval seems the fastest and easiest way to gain the most power with the least effort.

    Survey after survey shows the growing discontentment between having to choose between “defund the police” or “Kyle Rittenhouse is a hero” options of the two parties. Pentagon spending under Obama went up 8 years in a row as did wealth inequality. The Dem controlled California legislature failed completely in this last session to pass any meaningful police reforms due to the blue party valuing the green power of the blue matters folks more than taking courageous stands against the police unions.

    The senate with 100 seats is the soft underbelly of our democratic system. Attack it with a credible, non goofy third party with legitimate, charismatic outsiders as viable candidate options and you have the best chance of actually achieving real legislative power.

    1
  29. Kylopod says:

    @Erik:

    A serious, although perhaps ignorant, question that I haven’t been able to find a good answer to: why are there primaries, and especially why does the government pay for them (by running an election)?

    I may be able to help you there, as I’ve read quite a bit about the history of primaries–at least the presidential kind (I’m less familiar with how it evolved in other offices).

    The first primaries were held in the early 20th century. Originally only a handful of states held them, and they were a decidedly minor part of the nomination process. In 1912, famously Teddy Roosevelt won the majority of primaries for the GOP nomination, but the GOP convention just ignored the results and renominated the incumbent President Taft, leading the Roosevelt people to storm out of the convention, whereby he ran on a third-party ticket.

    As late as 1968 the Dems nominated a candidate who had not participated in the primaries at all. Largely in reaction to the mess of the 1968 convention, the Dems decided to reform the process through the McGovern-Fraser commission, which essentially birthed the modern nomination system. It set a number of requirements and expanded primaries and caucuses to the point of being nearly nationwide (it wasn’t until 1976 that it went to all 50 states). The overall effect was that it made the primaries and caucuses the central element of the nomination process, with the convention becoming merely a formal coronation ceremony (and eventually just an infomercial). If I’m not mistaken, the 1976 GOP convention was the last time a convention started without any candidate holding enough delegates to be considered the presumptive nominee–but it was pretty quickly resolved anyway. (The 1952 GOP convention was the last convention to go to a second ballot.)

    When the Dems introduced superdelegates in 1984, it was an attempt by elites to gain a little more control over the process, not letting it be entirely in the hands of voters. (It was largely a reaction to the nominations of McGovern and Carter in the ’70s, neither of whom were the choice of the party people.) But even then, to this date the supers have in practice only rubber-stamped the candidate who already led in pledged delegates won through primaries and caucuses.

    2
  30. Mu Yixiao says:

    @James Joyner:

    But why wouldn’t they simply put that effort into moving the Democratic Party closer to their agenda? Even at the local level, the risk of splitting the environmental vote and electing Republicans is real.

    For the presidential election, it’s pointless.

    For US Congress and state-level positions, it’s easier to break off and create your own brand than fight the inertia of the existing one. It’s like forking an open-source project. Samsung and Xiaomi didn’t try to force Google to make Android what they want, they just changed it, rebranded it, and sold it to their customers.

    As of mid-August, more people self-identify as “independent” (41%) than either of the two majors (R=26%, D=31%). 40% of voters are looking for alternatives. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to pick up a few more points from each side if there were viable candidates out there.

    AOC, while a Democrat by name, ran as a “Democratic Socialist”–and won. I would see no problems for her if Bernie Sanders (who’s officially an Independent) founded the “Democratic Socialst” party and they both ran under that banner.

    Between SF, LA, Seattle, Portland, and Denver, I could see the DS party pick up a dozen seats. In the primaries, Bernie had double (or more) the delegates in CA, UT, NV, & VT vs. Biden. That’s a lot of people looking for Democratic Socialist representation.

    Justin Amash is now a Libertarian. If he were to take a leadership role in the LP and help to codify their platform, I can see a lot of “Never-Trump” Republicans stepping under the LP banner and running on a platform that appeals to voters who are socially liberal, but politically conservative–which is what a lot of Republicans are when you get away from the evangelicals and nationalists.

    In each of these cases, there’s a “fork” in the party which separates between far-wing and centrist. In the case of the left, the fork party goes to the far, while the legacy party drifts back to center (as Biden is trying to do). In the case of the right, the legacy party goes to the far, while the fork party pulls back to the center.

    Even if each fork party only pulls a dozen seats each in the House, that becomes a spoiler worth paying attention to. If other parties stop looking at the presidency and start looking at Congress, that might be a couple other seats (probably not at first, but possibly within 10-12 years–House seats are up every 2 years, that’s a lot of elections).

    We’ve had people run–and win–as Independents in the past. There’s no reason a group can’t get together and run under a solid platform rather than just “I’m not with either of them“.

    The only real thing stopping a multi-partisan Congress from happening is inertia. As the over-60’s start dying off and the 20-somethings start settling down, we’re going to see a significant political shift. I’m betting it’s going to include a lot more colors than Red and Blue.

    1
  31. MarkedMan says:

    @The Q: You identify the target well, but who are the ones to take it on, and to what purpose? These people are going to to spend years on the ground in Wyoming and Montana in order to pull this off, learning everything about the locals and their needs and figuring out how the political levers are pulled. Assume they are willing to do that and are successful, what will they do with this power? A handful more votes for the middle ground? There’s no shortage of Senators willing to compromise if it will get a hot button issue off the TV News long enough for them to enjoy some peace and quiet.

    I’m not interested in a third party for the sake of having a third party.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    There’s no reason a group can’t get together and run under a solid platform rather than just “I’m not with either of them“.

    No reason? But that’s the only thing that unites this discontented 40% . It includes Klansmen and people who truly believe that if we had no police we’d have no crime. It includes middle aged men who never got over reading Ayn Rand in college and grey haired hippie women who are still trying to levitate the Pentagon. And, by far the biggest group, it contains people who constantly tell everyone who will listen they are independent but will nevertheless vote for the same party each year as reliably as death and taxes.

    2
  33. Grewgills says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Back in the 90s the Greens in Hawai’i had an OK run in county elections and looked like they were building something that in time could compete at the state level. That petered out for a variety of reasons, including limited success provoking calls for greater purity and, more importantly, the combination of developers and service unions both wanting more development.

  34. Starchild says:

    @MarkedMan: The Libertarian Party is the leading alternative party in the United States, and has attracted accomplished people from all walks of life, including former Republican and Democrat leaders (some of them as a Libertarian I would just as soon had stayed away from our party, but nevertheless).

    Justin Amash is the real deal and I respect him; can’t say the same for Bob Barr or Roger Stone who came trolling around. However we don’t need Amash or anyone else to dictate our platform, which unlike the establishment parties, is a bottom-up creation of grassroots delegates.

    Being a genuinely grassroots party with unscripted conventions and a dedication to our principles is how the LP has survived for nearly five decades without being corrupted and abandoning those principles for political gain, to become the leading alternative it is today.

    If it weren’t for the biased media and Democrat/Republican-controlled Commission on Presidential Debates not allowing her to debate, Jo Jorgensen would wipe the floor with Biden and Trump.

  35. Starchild says:

    @MarkedMan: Keeping the Green Party off the ballot in Wisconsin because they listed two different addresses for one of their candidates on government paperwork is absolute B.S., but sadly typical of what alternative parties face from the anti-democratic rulers of this country on a regular basis.

    If the Trump or Biden campaigns had made a similar minor technical error, you know damn well the court would have ignored it and allowed the candidate on the ballot anyway.

    This is simply typical of the dirty tricks that the 2-party establishment cartel and its appointees frequently use to try to keep alternatives from being able to offer people real choices.

  36. Kylopod says:

    @Starchild:

    Being a genuinely grassroots party with unscripted conventions and a dedication to our principles is how the LP has survived for nearly five decades without being corrupted and abandoning those principles for political gain, to become the leading alternative it is today.

    I’m not sure how nominating people like Bob Barr or William Weld is an example of sticking to their principles; it strikes me more as an attempt to broaden their appeal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Nevertheless, if the party remains relatively pure, there’s a pretty compelling explanation why: it has never had to govern.

    1
  37. James Joyner says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    AOC, while a Democrat by name, ran as a “Democratic Socialist”–and won. I would see no problems for her if Bernie Sanders (who’s officially an Independent) founded the “Democratic Socialst” party and they both ran under that banner.

    It’s possible for already-popular candidates to win small elections under an outside banner. But note that both AOC and Sanders nonetheless choose to run on the Democratic line. The infrastructure already exists.

  38. Kylopod says:

    @James Joyner:

    But note that both AOC and Sanders nonetheless choose to run on the Democratic line.

    Sanders has consistently run as an independent during his Congressional elections, though he caucuses with the Dems while in office. AOC has only run as a Dem. Both self-identify as democratic socialists (which I don’t think is accurate–I think they’re more social democrats), but this is just a descriptor for them, not a party affiliation.

  39. Erik says:

    @Kylopod: thanks for such a through reply! That gives me some toehold to do some more reading