Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Importance of Third Party Candidates

An Editorial in today's Opelika/Auburn News discusses the importance and impact of third party candidates.
Thanks for the mention OA News!

Published: February 28, 2008

Ralph Nader’s recent announcement to enter the presidential election raised a few eyebrows.

We understand this man, running as an independent, has virtually no chance of winning the election and question, to a degree, his true motives for joining the race.

But that’s his right. Just like it was Libertarian Loretta Nall’s right to run for Alabama governor in 2006.

Third party candidates are part of the American voting process.

If they weren’t important or legitimate, they wouldn’t be on the presidential ballot.

If American voters want to make the decision to cast their vote away, that’s their prerogative and absolute right as American citizens.

Men and women have sacrificed their lives to give us the right to vote, and that right includes voting for any candidate on the ballot regardless of how miniscule their chances of actually getting elected are.

If you think votes cast for Nader are meaningless or wasted, think again. They are only meaningless for his collective tally. However, they could have a major impact in the total number of votes cast for the Republican and Democratic candidates.

It’s widely regarded that votes for Nader cost Democrat Al Gore the White House in the 2000 election, particularly with votes cast in Florida.

There were more Democratic voters siding with Nader than Republican voters siding for the independent.

In short, he pulled votes away from Gore.

But many who continue to cry foul over what happened in 2000 fail to remember that independent H. Ross Perot played a huge role in determining the outcome of the 1992 presidential election.

Perot pulled votes away from Republican George Bush, and Democrat Bill Clinton eased into his new residence on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Voters should be smart enough to understand the impact of casting their votes. If their ideals and vision for America are in line with Nader’s, then they should stand behind their man.

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