Skip to comments.Third Parties on Right Could Be Problem for Bush
Posted on 06/21/2004 5:41:56 PM PDT by freedom44
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Moses Murphy was as Republican as they come. The 27-year-old former Marine always voted a straight ticket and his Jeep Cherokee sported three "Bush-Cheney '04" bumper stickers.
But two months ago as the Boardsman, Ohio, resident was surfing the Internet, he came across the Web site for the Constitution Party, a small, conservative group still struggling to be on the ballot in every state.
Off came the Bush paraphernalia and now Murphy's Jeep is plastered with stickers for Michael Peroutka, the Constitution Party's little-known presidential nominee.
Media attention has focused on Ralph Nader as a potential spoiler to presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry, but President Bush could face a similar threat from third party candidates on the right.
The Constitution and Libertarian parties believe they could siphon away enough disenchanted conservatives to tip a close election.
For Murphy, Bush's proposal to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants living in the United States was the final straw.
"We can't keep letting illegals come in; we need troops on the border," Murphy said in a telephone interview. "(Bush's) views no longer reflect my views, and I need to vote my principles."
The party occupying the White House is typically more prone to disgruntled ideologues bolting for a third party, said Lawrence Jacobs, director of the 2004 Elections Project for the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.
And hardline conservatives have no shortage of gripes with the president they helped elect. Topping the list is the dramatic increase in federal spending, especially the $500 billion new Medicare entitlement for prescription drugs Bush pushed through Congress, said Paul Weyrich, head of the Free Congress Foundation and a leading conservative activist.
Weyrich said grassroots conservatives "have a real problem with this administration's out of control spending."
TIPPING THE BALANCE
But it is unclear whether this grumbling on the right will translate into votes for the Libertarian or Constitution party nominees. In 2000, the Libertarian nominee received only about 385,000 votes or 0.36 percent, and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan won about 450,000 or 0.42 percent. By contrast, Nader, running from the left, took almost 3 million votes or 2.74 percent and possibly swung the election to Bush with a strong Florida showing.
Any defections from Bush's base would be "minuscule" said Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, and the policy gripes of Washington political elites do not necessarily resonate among the Republican rank-and-file.
"Spokesman for the conservative movement see it as their job to grumble" when politicians on the right begin to stray, Rothenberg said.
However, even a handful of defections in key states could tip the balance. For Bush to have a hope of winning, Rothenberg said, his support among Republicans cannot dip much below 90 percent.
Unlike Nader, who was on 43 state ballots in 2000 as the Green Party nominee and is struggling to match that this year, the Libertarian nominee is typically on the ballot in all 50 states, Jacobs said.
The Constitution Party was on the presidential ballot in 42 states in 2000.
Libertarians have already proven they can decide the outcome of close elections. In the 2002 South Dakota Senate race, the Republican challenger lost by about 500 votes, with the Libertarian candidate receiving more than 3,000.
That same year, Libertarian candidates in the Wisconsin and Oregon gubernatorial races received 11 and 5 percent respectively, far exceeding the Democrat's margin of victory.
Bush lost both Oregon and Wisconsin by less than a percentage point in 2000, and both will be in play this year.
Swing states like New Hampshire and Nevada may also be fertile ground for Libertarians, Jacobs said.
But the Libertarian and Constitution party platforms could be an obstacle in peeling away conservative votes from Bush.
Both sound familiar conservative themes of slashing government and lowering taxes, but they also advocate the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and the Libertarians are socially liberal, supporting abortion rights and drug legalization. A general rule of thumb, Rothenberg said, is that about half of the voters who support third parties are outsiders who would not vote if their candidate was not running.
But if his candidacy does siphon away enough conservatives from Bush to put Kerry in the White House, Libertarian presidential nominee Michael Badnarik says that is fine with him. There is little difference between the major parties, he said, and playing the spoiler in a presidential election would greatly enhance Libertarians' national profile.
Peroutka, the Constitution nominee, said a Kerry victory could even help the conservative cause by prompting Republicans in Congress, who have approved Bush's spending increases, to oppose similar measures proposed by Kerry.
Media salivation aside, the Constitution and Libertarian parties are hardly an issue in this election, IMHO.
An 'Accidental Democrat'. Hopefully, there are not too many like him.....as much as Reuters and Al Queada wish there were.
The media will try any angle they can to undermine Bush, while downplaying the serious threat Nader-Camejo will pose to Johm Kerry. Or the serious threat Kerry poses to himself, for that matter.
Seems like the Republican Party isn't doing enough to keep some conservatives' votes!
We've got plenty around here. But I'm not sure how "accidental" they are...
An 'Accidental Democrat'. ??
No - let's try a "TRUE CONSERVATIVE!"
Now - will the RNC go back from whence it came? or will it continue its downward slope into the pits of socialsm?
Too many RINOS's and too many spineless representatives, they need to go.
I would like to see the Constitution Party get more coverage. I was one of 900 or so in the entire state of KY to vote for Howard Phillips in 2000. If it looked closer in KY I would have voted for Bush. He won with over 60%. I'll probably vote for Bush this time. Don't want to hear all the gargage about the popular vote again. Their platform is much more in line with the majority of Freepers than the Republican Part.
The libertarians have been around for years yet they have rarely been a factor. Why is this year any different.
Yeah, and they'll all put on "Don't blame me, I voted for an obscure 3rd party candidate" after President Kerry loses the first city to a nuke. If the election of 2000 didn't demonstrate that EVERY vote counts, then nothing will. Get each state to switch over from winner takes all electoral votes to a scheme like Maine's or Nebraska's where the winner in each congressional district gets that electoral vote (and the winner of the popular vote gets the two "senatorial" votes) and THEN your 3rd party vote would count for something. The time for "sending a message" to the Republican party is over - that was the primary. In the general election, a Constitution party vote (other than in ME and NE) is as good as a vote for Kerry. Sorry, but that is reality in 2004.
We'll not solve them before November and never ever if Dems are in control.
The Democrat Party is doing enough to keep my vote a Republican vote.
The leftist press reporting propaganda from the left again, as news....well, they can't find that! They couldn't find the news with both hands.
Keep on dancin' and whistlin' and maybe it will work out. I mean, it's not like the 2000 election was close or anything.
Seems like you are right. Bush found more votes in catering to Specter RINOs than he did to supporting pro-life Toomey.
Good for him. God knows we need more men of decency and principle in this country. Peroutka has my vote.. he spoke with judge Roy Moore last month in Nevada and is coming to CA next month. I know,.. people will cry "but he can't win. you're wasting your vote!"
In reply to that I tell them, "NO, I am not wasting my vote. you're wasting yours". People have not researched the issues and what is really going on in this country. They have no grasp of sovereignty or its importance.
Gun control, socialistic spending, appointing flaming homosexuals to prominant positions, open borders, FTAA, rewarding Pryor after he prosecuted Roy Moore, re-joining and funding UNESCO,. I kind of pity the mesmerized Bush loyalists; because although i do think that many of them are well intentioned, they really don't have a clue.
People are too busy eating their cheetos , watching ball games and american idol to really study what is happening to our republic.
There are idealists and there are realists. Third party voters are not the latter.