Third Party Time?
- The House Decides
- Capturing the "Radical Middle"
- Growing a New Party
- Return to the Overview Page
The House Decides
The Setting: In this scenario, polls give candidate Clinton a clear, if thin, edge over a Republican contender who emerges from the nominating convention weakened by a fractious primary season and in-fighting over the platform. Your candidate, an independent with strong Republican ties, espouses an issue or a set of issues that he or she feels to have been largely ignored by the Republican candidate and the party as a whole. Moreover, your market research shows these issues to be of great concern to a key segment of voters: those who appear likely to vote for the Democratic candidate in a two-way race.
Goals: You believe you can mount an independent campaign that will succeed in denying the Democratic candidate a simple majority of the electoral vote. Such a result would force the House of Representatives, under Republican control, to determine the outcome of the election. Your candidate thus holds the key to Republican victory and offers that key to the Republican candidate at the price of addressing the issues that fueled your campaign.
Starting Point: Electoral Process
- What large state or coalition of smaller states would your candidate need to win to gain the most electoral votes (presumably states that might otherwise tip towards the Democratic presidential candidate)?
- What issue or issues would your candidate espouse to guarantee success in the targeted state or states?
Capturing the "Radical Middle"
The Setting: Yours is a "centrist" candidate, who appeals to what has been called the "Radical Middle" of the voting public.
Goals: Given discontent with the major party candidates and widespread desire for third-party alternatives, you believe your candidate has the opportunity not only to outdo the 1992 Perot Campaign achievement of capturing a double-digit percentage of popular votes, but has the wherewithal to succeed where Perot '92 failed by garnering sufficient electoral votes to win the election.
- What is the "Radical Middle" and what states might you reasonably hope to win in your appeal to this group of voters?
- What issues would your candidate espouse to differentiate him or her from the major party candidates and capture the allegiance of centrist voters?
- Starting Points:
- A Brown Bag Lunch with Clay Mulford;
- Analyzing the Early Campaign: Perot '92;
- Lowell Weicker: "Is America Ready for an Independent President?"
- Search web-based media outlets for news coverage of possible centrist candidates (Bill Bradley, Paul Tsongas,... et al.) by reviewing the list of sites run by national print and broadcast media on the "Third Party Time?" SOURCES page or using one of the web search engines on the SEARCH page;
Growing a New Party
The Setting: You are approached by a relatively unknown, but fast growing independent minority party (real or imagined) with a stable financial base. The party believes its message could have a strong appeal among voters nationwide if only a vehicle could be found for gaining national recognition. Moreover, leaders of the party desire to build the base for establishing a third party in Congress, as they see this as the only means of ensuring that their party's platform influences the legislative agenda.
Goals: Your task is to convince party organizers that a presidential campaign is precisely the vehicle they seek to expand their organization and lay the foundation for their party in Congress. You devise a strategy that garners your party national attention and promises a respectable number of popular votes.
- Why was your party founded? How do these principles translate into specific issues that your party's candidate will use to engage his or her rivals and to raise awareness of the party's existence?
- What is the profile of the candidate your party should seek to run?
- On which geographical areas will your campaign focus?
- David Belmont: The Evolving Third Force;
- Elaine Reding: Out of Iowa;
- Minor Political Parties
Last Modified on 14-Mar-97
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