Gary Johnson Talks About the 2012 Campaign at PolicyMic

PolicyMic has this interesting interview with Gary Johnson. It covers his policy ideas, but it also has a great deal about his experience being the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 2012.

Toward the end, the part of the interview concerning the Electoral College is not fleshed out enough to be clear. The Electoral College system does discriminate against new parties and independent candidates, but only because the U.S. Constitution says if no one gets a majority of the Electoral College, the U.S. House chooses the President. However, a minor party or independent presidential candidate who manages to get a majority of the Electoral College vote is not disadvantaged by that Constitutional provision. In 1992, if Ross Perot had doubled his popular vote, and his increased popular votes had come equally from the ranks of Bush voters and Clinton voters, then Perot would have had a majority of the Electoral College and would have been elected.


Gary Johnson Talks About the 2012 Campaign at PolicyMic — No Comments

  1. Sorry – how about NO respect for the EVIL compromises in the top secret 1787 Federal Convention due to the EVIL small States and the super-EVIL slave States ???

    i.e. slave = 3/5 free person
    2 Senators per State
    Prez veto
    Fugitive slave clause
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  2. Richard,

    The possibility of a non-bipartisan winning electoral votes, in those years where such chance exists, is the only factor that gets an alternative candidate any attention at all. So the “discrimination” factor might not be as pronounced as some contend it is.


  3. Thanks for the link.

    Discrimination against new and minor parties is implicit in the U.S. system in the following way: New and minor parties, because they can’t get to first base, can never score. Systems with P.R. and with Preference Voting (or, Instant Run-off) enable new and minor parties to get to first base, where they can demonstrate – if they are able – their resonance with voters. As it is, the largest identifiable group of Americans – libertarians – aren’t even “on” the political spectrum.

    It can be argued that only once in the history of the U.S. has a new party replaced one of the two major parties, and that was in conjunction with a civil war. Yes, there have been some so-called pivotal elections, where one of the parties changed it’s orientation in a multi-dimensional political spectrum (e.g., 1896), in which new and minor parties played a role (in 1896, the Populist Party). But, occasional pivotal elections are a poor substitute for the fluid change which P.R. and Preference Voting would provide.

  4. I would say three times in the 19th century, one old major party died off and was replaced by a new party. Besides the example in #3, the Federalist Party died off about 1820 and was replaced by the National Republican Party in 1825. The National Republican Party is the party that ran John Quincy Adams for re-election in 1828, and ran Henry Clay for President in 1832. It is the only major party that never won a presidential election, but it did have a majority in the US Senate for two years, right after the 1832 election.

    Then it died off and was replaced by the Whig Party in 1836.

  5. We’re not disagreeing about the early through mid 19th century. Once or maybe twice, major parties died out (I’ll comment on the National Republicans below) and a new major party filled the void, and once a new major party replaced an existing major party.

    Regarding the dying out of the Federalists, yes, it died out. Out of embarrassment. For opposing the War of 1812. Yet, through the prism of history, it’s pretty clear DeWitt Clinton had the correct position.

    As to the National Republicans, first, the party of Thomas Jefferson was the Republican Party. Long after the fact, historian renamed it the Democratic-Republican Party for the appearance of continuity.

    During the Q. presidency, factions coalesced about Jackson and Adams/Clay. These were Jackson men and Adams men or maybe anti-Jackson men. Yes, the words “National Democrat” were used in the elections of 1828 and ’32, but by the election of 1836, the word “Whig” was used. The same people, more or less, and positions also extended from one into the next name.

    As to the party which the Republicans (or we could say Lincolnian Republicans to differentiate them from the Jeffersonian Republicans) replaced, it was actually the short-lived American Party (derisively named the Know Nothing Party by its detractors, as though any party would name itself the Know Nothing Party).

    What remained of the Whigs got on board with Fremont in 1856, as did the North Americans (as they were known, i.e., the anti-slavery faction of the American Party). The Lincolnian Republicans were not an evolution of the Whig Party, although it shared some issues with its predecessor (in banking, tariffs and naturalization of immigrants), but broke with the Whigs on slavery.

    What all this has to do with ballot access, is that this was all before the widespread adoption of the Australian ballot, when political parties distributed ballots to voters, and things were fluid through to the election. To illustrate, in 1856 and ’60, several “fusion” tickets were drawn up at the last minute; e.g., all three non-Republican Presidential candidates in New York in 1860, and a fusion Republican-American ticket for state offices in Indiana in 1856. Even in the late 19th century, deals and fusion made it possible for new and minor parties to exercise real power and influence outcomes (e.g., the Populists and Greenback parties, which influenced the Democrats until they were folded into the Democratic Party during and subsequent to the pivotal election of 1896).

    But, upon the widespread adoption of the Australian, which came as an avalanche after the reform showed was first demonstrated in this country, the state got into the business of regulating ballot access. And, the ability of new and minor parties to get to first base was eliminated.

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