Published On: Fri, Feb 28th, 2014

Why a third party vote is not a wasted vote

 It is a statement that illustrates the level of brainwashing that has afflicted an unfortunate number of longtime GOP and Democratic Party supporters. “A vote for anyone other than (insert their respective candidate here) is a vote for (insert the opposing major party candidate here).” This is essentially translated as, “If you vote for a third party candidate, you are wasting your vote.”

Libertarian Lucas Overby

Libertarian Lucas Overby

When I am told this, read about it or hear it, I feel extremely insulted. A true wasted vote is casting your support for what you deem as the lesser of two evils. That is especially evident in the current special election in District 13 (which encompasses much of PinellasCounty in Florida) to fill the Congressional seat formerly occupied by the late C.W. Bill Young. Former lobbyist David Jolly is running as a Republican while Democrat Alex Sink. Both are enslaved to special interest groups, are supported my multi-million campaigns and appear to be political puppets who will not be willing to work with the other party if they win on March 11.

A credible argument can be made that a vote for Jolly or Sink is a wasted vote since both candidates represent the status quo political establishment that has created the lack of trust we have with WashingtonD.C. to begin with. Repeating the same ill-fated decision time and time again and expecting different results is insanity.

According to a Gallup poll conducted last year, 60 percent of Americans say the Democratic and Republicans parties represent the American people so poorly that a third major party is needed. In the 10-year history of asking that question, 10 percent is the highest mark Gallup has measured. The same poll indicated that new low of 26 percent believe the two major parties adequately represent Americans.

I posed a question earlier this month to an editor at a local political website operated by a major media outlet about why a particular article about the Congressional District 13 special election was posted, an article which excludes Lucas Overby’s candidacy in the race, saying that it is between David Jolly and Alex Sink. The editor did not address that question but did respond with a positive comment that monumentally illustrates what differentiates Lucas Overby from David Jolly and Alex Sink. “Personally, I haven’t heard him make attacks on the other candidates or say anything that struck me as factually dubious.”

If you reside in Pinellas County, you know from all of the hate mail littering your mailbox (where Jolly and Sink say little or nothing about their own ideas and solutions, instead opting to bash and discredit the other) that Jolly and Sink cannot make the same claim.

Overby has said that “when we started this campaign, we set out to work with voters who had given up, who had stopped voting because they felt like they had been left out. At the end of the day, I think what is even more powerful is how all of you have responded to someone so different from the norm. It screams of wanting something different, of being tired of the same old song and dance. This has never been about Republican or Democrat or even about Libertarian, this has been about us wanting to represent our neighbors.”

I’m one of those disenfranchised individuals who has supported Libertarian, Democrat and Republican candidates over the years, but lost interest in the political process long ago – until listening to Overby speak. What is especially exciting about this race is the fact that Overby is a credible, intelligent, level-headed and articulate candidate who is not the frightening extremist that has defined many third parties in previous elections. Overby is real. He is respectful to his opponents, he reinforces his ideas with solutions (and not just empty comments) and he inspires people who otherwise would not want to be involved in the political process because he takes the time to talk to people – whether it be on the phone, in person or through social media. How many Congressional candidates do you know will show a genuine interest in your questions?

Many people do not even bother to vote because they feel left out and that the two parties do not care about them. In most cases, they are unfortunately right. Yet, for the first time in a prominent election, a third party candidate has a legitimate chance to win. While Jolly and Sink spew vitriol instead of offering ideas and solutions, Overby remains respectful, emphasizes his platform and has shown a commitment to reaching as many citizens as possible. While Sink and Jolly have repeatedly ignored or cancelled community forums – Jolly even cancelled an appearance at the last minute – Overby has attended every event to which he has been invited.

Overby already became the first Libertarian to be included in a nationally televised debate, one which he was overwhelmingly voted the winner by Bay News 9 viewers. He can make more history and impact the future of American politics if he becomes the first Libertarian to win a Congressional seat.

It is evident that many Americans are disgusted with the two-party system and recognize that Republicans and Democrats are virtually indistinguishable. Many voters know that, by sending Jolly or Sink to Washington, that there will likely be more of the same.

In the Growth and Opportunity Project, which was spearheaded by the Republican National Convention, the report concluded that two reasons why the public has a poor perception of the GOP are that it is a party of “stuffy old men” with “stale policies” that have remained consistent since the Reagan years.

Jolly has said that he will work with Democrats and Republicans alike to get results. Yet that is highly unlikely, especially in the wake of Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis recently losing a leadership post because he crossed party lines and voted to stop flood insurance rate hikes. Sink is firmly entrenched with party beliefs that reinforce President Barack Obama’s platform.

Overby is not tied to special interest groups, graduated Cum Laude from the Center for Advanced Technologies at LakewoodHigh School in St. Petersburg and has an extensive experience as an activist for women’s groups. He also founded Take a District, a nonpartisan group that promotes voter education and political involvement among young adults.

The tired, “Don’t vote for a third party because it is a wasted vote” comment invented by Republicans and Democrats is not valid in this race. Overby has a chance to win as his grassroots campaign rapidly gains momentum, and Jolly and Sink continue to bombard households with negative ads while limiting the number of candidate forums where they meet with voters with Overby present.

Of course Republicans and Democrats are going to discourage voters from supporting a third party candidate. After all, the emergence of a third party would break the stranglehold narrow partisanship has on government.

In many cases, potential voters are dissuaded from supporting a third party candidate by believing in the polls, perhaps not recognizing that there is a built-in bias in polling. Often, Libertarian Party candidates are excluded from polls, and pollsters focus on the Democratic and GOP candidates while inquiring with people who have a documented record of supporting Democrats and Republicans.

An Overby victory would be one of the most historically significant events in modern American politics because it would enhance the financial backing, media coverage and public perception of the Libertarian Party, opening the door for more Libertarian candidates to win elections. A strong third party would be instrumental in reshaping the current political climate since the other two parties would have no choice but to work across party lines to actually produce results.

Perhaps you are adamant about voting a straight party line and have already made up your mind about supporting Jolly or Sink. This is America, where we have the freedom to elect the candidate of our choice, so that is your justifiable right. If you are repulsed by Jolly and Sink, and are contemplating sitting out the March 11 special election, consider the alternative. Learn about Overby by visiting his website and reading the media coverage to date. Attend one of the upcoming candidate forums. Watch the upcoming debate on Feb. 28 televised by PBS affiliate WEDU.

A broken two-party system will not change unless Americans voice their viewpoints by casting their votes for a credible third party candidate. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and a long step forward can take place on March 11.

 GUEST AUTHOR: Jeff Louderback

An award-winning writer, editor and publicist, Jeff Louderback is a versatile professional with 22 years of experience as a reporter, editor, public relations director and freelance writer/independent publicist.

Visit Jeff’s website: http://positivelyjl.com/

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Displaying 4 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Dan Norris says:

    Sir, you present an eloquent, intelligent, factual inspiring case for a third party candidate. And I agree totally that the parties in power recently do not represent the people. To debate your logic I submit that you are very correct regarding the office that you discussed, however the country cannot afford the loss of 3rd party votes in 2014 and 2016 to rid our society of destructors of this country. Call them what you will…if we continue this path the country will self-destruct in the next few years. I ask you to write an equally inspiring article as to how to overcome the ineffectiveness of our parties and save our country. Thank you.

  2. Alex says:

    The solution is to vote for a Pro-CHIPS candidate.

  3. Libertarian Lucas Overby runs for office in Florida | Third Party Movement says:

    […] http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/why-a-third-party-vote-is-not-a-wasted-vote-35001/ […]

  4. Dave Francis says:

    Should—YOU–want to know the truth about troubling issues that effect American society daily, which the Liberal mainstream press intentionally censors from their columns daily. Then join the millions of more new converts to the TEA PARTY dot org that are fleeing in droves the GOP establishment and the Democratic parties. THE TEA PARTY represents ALL the people, by birthright and who came to America LEGALLY.

    EUGENE VOLOKH wrote in the Washington Post: Immigration also has many possible costs (economic, social, national security, domestic security, and liberty and congestion costs). These benefits and costs vary by type of immigrant — well-educated vs. uneducated, rich vs. poor, single vs. family, old vs. young, from countries in which there is a substantial amount of militant hostility against the U.S. vs. from other countries, and so on — often in complex ways.

    With 10 million Americans out-of-work; 6 million employed on a part time basis how Congress can rationalize giving entry visas to more immigrants. America has already erupted in abject poverty, so are we going to import 30 million more?

    Do NOT underestimate the TEA PARTY, as next MAY there is going to be a call to Arms; a March of millions of Tea Party patriots, reminiscent of the African American March back in October 16th, 1995 to the steps of the Capitol.

    1. Illegal aliens are here illegally and should be deported. NO MORE AMNESTIES.
    2. Pro-domestic employment is indispensable.
    3. A strong military is essential.
    4. Special interests must be eliminated from influencing Senators and Congressman that is corrupting the principles of the Oath of office.
    5. Gun ownership is sacred.
    6. Government must be downsized.
    7. The national budget must be balanced.
    8. Deficit spending must end.
    9. Bailout and stimulus plans are illegal.
    10. Reducing personal income taxes is a must. Abolish the IRS agency altogether and introduce a FAIR and Equitable tax FLAT TAX.
    11. Reducing business income taxes is mandatory.
    12. Political offices must be available to average citizens. We must rid ourselves of carrier politicians and elect new faces, especially those who believe in the policies of the TEA PARTY.
    13. Intrusive government must be stopped.
    14. English as our core language is required.
    15. Traditional family values are encouraged

    The TEA PARTY mission is to bring awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation. Join the mega-millions in the TEA PARTY dot org and bring an end to the monopoly of the Democrats and Republicans. Stop the destruction of our beloved nation.

    Even though the ACORN group is supposedly DEAD, it has been resurrected under a different name. I question–will the Democrats turn blind eyes to illegal aliens voting once, twice in one precinct, and then moving over to another Texas county to vote again?

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