Trying to get elected as a third party candidate in American politics is extremely difficult if not impossible since the electing process is not by majority vote. Ballot access is also an obstacle since third parties have to meet additional criteria not required of Republicans and Democrats. Reform Party candidate Ross Perot was able to get on the ballot in all 50 states in 1992 as was Pat Buchanan in 1996. Perot was a nationally known figure who had lots of money to pour into the process. The Reform Party affected both elections but did nothing to advance it as a genuine third party player. While Perot received nearly 20 percent of the popular vote in 1992, he did not receive a single electoral vote.
Let’s take a look at Ron Paul and compare him to today’s third-party candidates. Paul’s platform is very conservative, best described as Libertarian. Even so, he’s running as a Republican. Unlike so many third-party candidates who will enter the 2012 presidential race, Paul has an electoral track record. He has represented Texas districts in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1976. He ran and won political offices on the local level before he ran for president in 1988 as a Libertarian (while still a Republican) and as a Republican in 2008. He saw the reality of working within the system because he understood the inherent obstacles of a third party.
I can’t see how anyone who has not won some political office somewhere has any business running for president no matter how right he might be on the issues.
So what’s to be done? At this point in time, we are stuck with a two-party system. Deal with it. If radical leftists have been able to take over the Democrat Party and a mini-Republican Revolution was started by Reagan in 1980 and revived congressionally in 1994, 1996, and again in 2010, I can’t understand why conservatives would not put their efforts into taking over one of the major parties. If we can’t do this, then what makes us think we can create a competing third party or send up a solo candidate for president and get him elected?