In a competitive election, critics of third-party candidates often regard them as spoilers, who may tip a close election to the candidate most ideologically divergent from them by drawing away votes from the candidate they are ideologically closer to.
Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party Chairman Chris Wright strongly disagrees with the characterization. He says that both major parties have failed to deliver on important issues and that by voting for one of them, voters are enabling the status quo to continue.
We havent spoiled the economy, social policies or the environment, he said. They like to call us spoilers because they feel they have an entitlement to power.
While DFL candidates might seem to be more in danger of losing some of their supporters to a pro-marijuana Party candidate, Gustavus Adolphus College Professor Chris Gilbert said its not that clear cut.
Gilbert said that while legalizing marijuana is traditionally seen as a liberal issue, and enjoys strong backing from young voters, who lean DFL in general, many libertarian-minded voters who hold right-leaning views on other issues support it as well.
According to the Star-Tribune/MPR News Minnesota poll, support for recreational marijuana is strongest among DFLers, with 59% expressing support. But with support from 50% of Independent voters and 42% of Republicans, it doesn't break down as neatly along party lines as many other issues.
Carleton College Professor Melanie Freeze said shes studied the spoiler issue extensively and the evidence is far from clear cut. While she said that third parties can tip an extraordinarily close election, she said their impact is often less direct.
Its hard to find evidence of the spoiler effect, she said. (Third parties) activate people who wouldnt have come out to vote and pull from both candidates.
On the other hand, young voters tend to be the strongest demographic of support for third parties, recreational marijuana and DFL candidates. Thus, many Republicans are expecting that the DFL side is more likely to take a hit if they do well.
Rice County Republican Party Chair Kathy Dodds said that she expects the district's conservative voters to largely eschew pro-marijuana candidates. Dodds said that many Rice County Republicans are comfortable with the party's skepticism towards recreational marijuana.
"I don't think it will hurt the Republicans so much, but I think there are a lot of liberals that want marijuana legislation to pass and they would consider voting for the third party," she said.
Dodds noted that while Republicans have expressed discomfort with recreational marijuana, many have also voiced support for medical marijuana. However, attempts to relax the state's restrictive medical marijuana laws have faced resistance from Republicans.
Since the medical marijuana program launched in 2015, the state has banned sale of the raw cannabis flower, only allowing marijuana extract to be sold in liquid, pill or vaporized form, which medical marijuana advocates say has driven up costs while limiting treatment options. An attempt by the DFL-controlled House to remove this ban was included in the state's healthcare omnibus bill. However, Senate Republicans blocked the provision, siding with advocacy organizations skeptical of marijuana who say the ban is needed to prevent smoking.
By simply being on the ballot, third parties can raise attention to certain issues and pressure candidates. Freeze noted that while a variety of factors are at work, DFLers have become increasingly vocal about the issue since both pro-marijuana parties achieved major party status.
Still, both Gilbert and Freeze agreed that both pro-marijuana parties are extremely unlikely to win seats. Even during the height of its popularity, the Reform/Independence Party of former Gov. Jesse Ventura rarely won more than 10% of the vote, Freeze said.
Last year, DFL House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler launched a listening tour, traveling the state to get feedback from residents across Minnesota on the issue. He subsequently introduced a bill in the legislature that would legalize it.
Similarly, Gov. Tim Walz ordered state agencies to prepare for the legalization of marijuana. However, the State Senate remains under Republican control, and has remained firmly opposed to marijuana legalization.
While both pro-marijuana parties are enjoying unprecedented levels of support, Minnesotas other minor parties have been left scrambling to maintain a presence on Minnesota ballots at all.
Currently, the state has three official minor parties. Any party which achieves more than 1% of the vote in a statewide election is granted minor party status for the next two elections, which brings several benefits.
Under that program, Minnesotans can make a contribution of up to $50 to a recognized major or minor party and receive a full refund. Currently, the Green Party, Libertarian Party and Independence-Alliance Party qualify as minor parties.
The Independence-Alliance Party, once known as the Minnesota Reform Party, was the party of Ventura and enjoyed major party status for 20 years. It lost that after failing to reach 5% in any statewide race in the 2014 elections.
With COVID-19 making it impossible to gather signatures for ballot access through face to face voter contact, the Libertarians, Greens, Independence Alliance Party and Veterans Party of Minnesota successfully lobbied for changes allowing signatures to be gathered electronically.
When it comes to getting on the ballot in local races, Libertarian Party Chairman Chris Holbrook said that electronic signature gathering has proved next to useless, because under state law signatures to get on the ballot in a local race must be gathered from residents of the district.
While signatures of residents living in a certain area could easily be gathered by going door to door, Holbrook said its nearly impossible to do that electronically. With most email addresses private, its exceptionally hard to electronically send a petition to a large number of people in a certain neighborhood. As a result, very few minor party candidates successfully managed to make it on to the ballot for Congress or state Legislature. In an attempt to gain more time, the four parties filed a lawsuit seeking additional time for signature gathering.
The Secretary of States Office fought them and court, arguing that as the minor parties had received other accommodations, including permission to gather signatures electronically, additional time should not be needed.
The minor parties lost their initial case, though appeals are ongoing. Holbrook noted that in a number of other states, courts have provided additional relief to make it easier for minor parties to get on the ballot.
Nominating petitions to get presidential candidates on the ballot are ongoing, and are not due until August. Last week, Minnesota Libertarians started circulating a ballot petition to get its candidates, Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy "Spike" Lee, onto the November ballot.
Holbrook said that while the Libertarian Party may not have ballot access, a number of Libertarians and libertarian-leaning candidates have taken advantage of the official party status held by the two pro-marijuana parties to run under their banner.
In general, he said that Minnesotas third parties have had warm relations and offered each other support. In addition, he noted that the Libertarian Party has strongly advocated for legalization of marijuana and an end to the War on Drugs since its inception.
Aided by the historic unpopularity of major party candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, third parties enjoyed a historic rise in support. The Libertarian ticket performed the best, winning about 3.8% in Minnesota and 3.3% nationwide.
Third parties tend to do better when they name someone who has some political resume, and that usually means someone who served for one of the major parties, he said.
See the rest here:
- Letter to the editor: Thoughts on Charen, Biden, race relations, military - TribLIVE - May 1st, 2021
- Editorial: On women in office, we're still only getting there - Plattsburgh Press Republican - May 1st, 2021
- Top elections official admits fundraising error - The Herald - May 1st, 2021
- Bring civility back to politics -- and to life in general - darnews.com - May 1st, 2021
- McNeely: McConaughey for governor? | Opinion | news-journal.com - Longview News-Journal - April 29th, 2021
- Candidates seeking 48th Senatorial District seat put their differences on display - PennLive - April 23rd, 2021
- Pellerin: Don't flout COVID rules in the name of 'freedom' - London Free Press (Blogs) - April 21st, 2021
- N. Quabbin represented at political state convention, as growing third-party marks 50th anniversary - Athol Daily News - March 26th, 2021
- Humility Is Where Conservatives And Libertarians Can Still Find Fusion - The Federalist - March 26th, 2021
- Former state Rep. Jeff Pyle's staffer wins GOP nomination for special election, Dems choose Thursday night - TribLIVE - March 26th, 2021
- Libertarian Students Convention | Mises Institute - The Shepherd of the Hills Gazette - March 26th, 2021
- March 25, 2021, Letters to the Editor | Serving Minden-Gardnerville and Carson Valley - The Record-Courier - March 26th, 2021
- Where 'freedom' meets the far right: the hate messages infiltrating Australian anti-lockdown protests - The Guardian - March 26th, 2021
- What's on the March 20 ballot? Baton Rouge residents will vote on these congressional, local races - The Advocate - March 25th, 2021
- Were the Capitol Rioters Really Libertarians? - Foundation for Economic Education - January 29th, 2021
- A Florida Senator Wants to Exclude People With Felony Convictions from the State's Minimum Wage Increase - The Appeal - January 29th, 2021
- A new Chatham Elections Board member was sworn in last week. This week, she resigned. - Savannah Morning News - January 29th, 2021
- The political beliefs of the Class of 2024 by race, gender and other factors - Duke Chronicle - January 29th, 2021
- Livorno, the Rebel City Where Italy's Communist Party Was Born - Jacobin magazine - January 29th, 2021
- HB79 Allowing Minor Party Members To Vote In Primaries Passes Government, Elections And Indian Affairs Committee - Los Alamos Daily Post - January 29th, 2021
- Mostly libertarian demonstration gathered outside of closed, guarded Texas Capitol Sunday - WJTV - January 23rd, 2021
- Groups across Texas head to Texas Capitol for "mostly libertarian" demonstration - ArkLaTexHomepage - January 23rd, 2021
- Wikipedia 20th anniversary | The libertarian internet dinosaur has become the worlds largest encyclopedia - Inspired Traveler - January 17th, 2021
- Marshawn Wolley: Like the tea party, Trumpism will die - Indianapolis Business Journal - January 17th, 2021
- How the right claimed liberty and made it a toxic word - New Statesman - January 17th, 2021
- What is a libertarian? | Libertarianism.org - January 9th, 2021
- 5 things the Libertarian Party stands for | TheHill - January 9th, 2021
- We all bear the responsibility to come together - Williston Daily Herald - January 9th, 2021
- The Libertarian Alternative | Cato @ Liberty - Cato Institute - January 7th, 2021
- Libertarian and Green parties cry foul over ballot change - Niagara Gazette - January 7th, 2021
- Libertarian, Green parties file injunction in lawsuit aimed at state efforts to quell third parties - The Daily News Online - January 7th, 2021
- Yellow Gadsden flag, prominent in Capitol takeover, carries a long and shifting history - The Conversation US - January 7th, 2021
- 17,000 Onondaga County voters have a decision to make: Should I enroll in another party? - syracuse.com - January 7th, 2021
- Sue Lani Madsen: End this madness of brother against brother - The Spokesman-Review - January 7th, 2021
- What everyone needs to know about 2020 | OUPblog - OUPblog - January 7th, 2021
- Boris Johnson's lockdown rebels have gone quiet. But it won't be for long - The Guardian - January 7th, 2021
- Letter: Libertarian Party has the answers - Times Herald-Record - December 6th, 2020
- Libertarian Ron Paul: Legalize Bitcoin and Abolish the IRS - Decrypt - December 6th, 2020
- Why conservatives in the US today are really libertarians - Business Insider - Business Insider - December 6th, 2020
- Be Cool Like Kennedy! Donate to Reason, and Help Us Spread #HotFreedom - Reason - December 6th, 2020
- The Libertarian Argument Is the Best Argument Against Immunity Passports. But is it good enough? - Practical Ethics - December 6th, 2020
- From Libertarians To Nationalists, Millennials Are Shaping The New Right - The Federalist - December 6th, 2020
- Pinecone: The fringe political party saving the youth from political nihilism in Georgia - New Eastern Europe - December 6th, 2020
- 'We're Gonna Need a Bigger Website' - Reason - December 6th, 2020
- The Trials and Tribulations of Third-Party Candidates - University of Georgia - December 6th, 2020
- The Libertarian, Progressive, and Conservative Constitutions | Cato @ Liberty - Cato Institute - November 29th, 2020
- A record 3 million Hoosiers voted in the 2020 election - IndyStar - November 29th, 2020
- Final thoughts on the election - The Republic - November 29th, 2020
- Cobb County and the 2020 General Election: Part 1 - Cobb County Courier - November 29th, 2020
- Charles Koch and Brian Hooks: Believe in People - Reason - November 29th, 2020
- By the Numbers: Local communities were Biden country in Nov. 3 election - Reporter Newspapers - November 29th, 2020
- Opinion: Please don't let me bleed to death in the street - easternnewmexiconews.com - November 29th, 2020
- The Libertarian Moment That Never Comes - The New Republic - November 7th, 2020
- Meet Marshall Burt, Who's About To Become the Libertarian Party's Only Sitting State Legislator - Reason - November 7th, 2020
- Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate puts a wedge in a race that is too close to call - WCNC.com - November 7th, 2020
- Newly Launched Chicago Thinker Aims to Promote Conservative and Libertarian Views on Campus - The Chicago Maroon - November 7th, 2020
- Maybe Jo Jorgensen Finishing With 1% Would Actually Be Pretty Good? - Reason - November 7th, 2020
- Libertarian candidates share conversation and coffee - The Wellsboro Gazette - November 7th, 2020
- Cotton win good news, say parties of two rivals - Arkansas Online - November 7th, 2020
- Libertarian Free Will and the Kalam, Revisited | Jonathan MS Pearce - Patheos - August 17th, 2020
- Floating Cities and Sea-Level Rise - an unsinkable idea - Anthropoce - August 17th, 2020
- When Joe Biden Tried To Paint Clarence Thomas as a Crazy Libertarian - Reason - July 31st, 2020
- Libertarian Assembly candidate calls for line item veto to rein in spending, elimination of property taxes and more to get rid of 'tyranny' and bloat... - July 31st, 2020
- OPINION EXCHANGE | The last days of the tech emperors? - Minneapolis Star Tribune - July 31st, 2020
- Buchanan and Anarchism | Mises Wire - The Shepherd of the Hills Gazette - July 31st, 2020
- Trump Wanted To 'Throw Massie Out of Republican Party!' but the Libertarian-Leaning Congressman Just Won His Primary Anyway - Reason - June 24th, 2020
- Google's warning against the Federalist is why libertarians will lose fight over Big Tech - Washington Examiner - June 24th, 2020
- Texas-based conservative group funding 'green' PAC in MT - KTVH - June 24th, 2020
- Non-mask wearing fools - The Real Nurse Jackie - McKnight's Long Term Care News - June 24th, 2020
- Morelle with big lead over Wilt but absentee votes still to be tallied - WXXI News - June 24th, 2020
- Lockdown easing analysis: Boris Johnson's libertarian instincts returned... and he went further than anyone really expected - Evening Standard - June 24th, 2020
- How a fringe sect from the 1980s influenced No 10's attitude to racism - The Guardian - June 24th, 2020
- Radley Balko on George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the Libertarian Case for Criminal Justice Reform - Reason - June 17th, 2020
- Letters: 'It is suggested that Boris's Libertarian beliefs were the reasons for delayed Lockdown' - The Northern Echo - June 17th, 2020
- OPINION EXCHANGE | At the center of that Supreme Court ruling were people - Minneapolis Star Tribune - June 17th, 2020
- The other Jo, wants your 2020 vote, if youre fed up with the two-party system or if youre not - WIZM NEWS - June 17th, 2020
- 'Where Are Libertarians on Police Reform?' Right Where We've Always Been. - Reason - June 13th, 2020
- Protests: Meet the Romney-Gary Johnson-Bloomberg voter embracing Black Lives Matter - Vox.com - June 13th, 2020
- What the Pandemic Revealed - Niskanen Center - June 13th, 2020
- Santa Cruz Shooting Suspect Preached Libertarian Ideals, Was Pushed Over the Edge By Police Actions Against Protesters, Friends Say - SFist - June 13th, 2020