Earlier today I published an article on Liberty Daily where I speculated a little bit about what Gary Johnson’s ultimate showing might be when all the votes are counted. At this point, having seen all the minor party candidates shut out of the debates and starved of coverage by the media, and with the race between Obama and Romney still relatively close, I am not expecting a gigantic third party vote on November 6th. Having said that, I would love to be pleasantly surprised.
One thing that I always hate is when I encounter the post-election disappointment coming from people who are brand new to minor party politics.
It’s not their fault really, as for many of them this might be the very first presidential election where they’re truly engaged. They often have wildly, ridiculously grand expectations. This is the first time they’ve ever been excited about anything political and when the returns start rolling in they feel crushed — even if their candidate did significantly better than might have been expected.
With that in mind, I decided to offer up my own set of “victory conditions” for each of the top five minor party tickets. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are, so feel free to sound off in the comments area below with your own predictions.
GARY JOHNSON – LIBERTARIAN PARTY: As I laid out in greater length on Liberty Daily, I’d consider anything over one-million votes to be a victory for the Johnson campaign. If they can top 1% nationally, that would be an even greater accomplishment. Meeting both goals would make the Johnson/Gray ticket the most successful in party history by any measure. Additionally, it would be nice to see the ticket top 3% in at least one or two states. I think the Libertarians have a great chance for success, as Johnson is the party’s most qualified and best-known nominee in history and there is no Ross Perot or Ralph Nader standing in the minor party spotlight for the first time since 1988.
JILL STEIN – GREEN PARTY: The Green Party has been living in the shadow of Ralph Nader for the past two cycles as his independent campaigns in 2004 and 2008 have sucked up all the oxygen on the left. Jill Stein has run a remarkable and very lean campaign to date, making the most of almost every opportunity presented to her. If Stein can outperform Nader’s 2004 showing of 463,000 votes, I think that would have to be considered a successful outing that puts the Green Party back on track in a post-Nader world.
VIRGIL GOODE – CONSTITUTION PARTY: The Constitution Party, originally operating under the name U.S. Taypayers Party, has been running candidates for president since 1992. Former Congressman Virgil Goode has, by far, the most impressive resume of any of the party’s nominees. Unfortunately, his ballot access efforts have fallen flat and he will not appear on the ballot in several key states like California and Pennsylvania. Last time around Pastor Chuck Baldwin won 199,880 votes, the party’s best-ever popular voting showing for president. Goode needs to, at a bare minimum, top that result.
ROCKY ANDERSON – JUSTICE PARTY: Former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson’s quixotic, low-budget bid for the White House and attempt to launch a new left-leaning party do not seem to have caught too much fire. While he’ll be on the ballot in 15 states, Anderson’s best hopes for a significant percentage showing come from his home state of Utah and Connecticut, a state where he is on the ballot and Jill Stein is not. I recently did an extended post where I tried to predict Anderson’s vote total and came up with about 97,000 votes. The more I think about it, the more I start to believe that number is a bit of a reach. Anderson should be very happy if he gets over 100,000 votes and anything north of 80,000 votes should probably be considered a good day.
ROSEANNE BARR – PEACE & FREEDOM PARTY: After several decades of remaining active in only California, the Peace and Freedom Party has decided to take the first steps towards going national, nominating actress and activist Roseanne Barr for President and anti-war crusader Cindy Sheehan for Vice-President. The Peace and Freedom ticket has filed as an official write-in option in most states and will appear on the ballot under the Peace & Freedom line in California, Colorado and Florida. Considering that the party has accomplished their primary objective of expanding beyond California, this election should already be considered a big success regardless of the ultimate results. It’s now been 40 years since the PFP nominated Dr. Benjamin Spock for President under the national banner of the People’s Party. That ticket secured nearly 79,000 votes, a total that the Barr campaign should be delighted if it can match.