Having listened to a few dozen folks take me to task because I said a third-party candidate won’t win the Presidential election come November, I thought I might elaborate a bit more on the subject since I still have a few inches of flesh that are unbruised.
If you want a third-party candidate to win, the first thing you must do is agree upon which one. Folks insist that a third candidate could beat both Clinton and Trump, but they each want us to rally around their guy. Unhappy conservative voters are tossing around a half-dozen names that they want us to vote for, but until they all unite behind one person, they’ll be screaming the same mantra every four years from now on — if we are still here and our country still stands. I start here because I see this as the largest hurdle to get over. Just between you and me, I don’t see it happening.
If you want a third-party to win, you can’t wait until the Democrats and Republicans have selected their nominees. By that time, too many voters have emotional skin in the game, and you won’t be able to get a significant number of them to switch.
If you want a third-party to win, you can’t pick a candidate who already got trounced in the primaries. He might be the most moral and righteous of the lot, but if his message didn’t bring America to its feet a year ago, it’s probably going to fall flat this time around. Too many candidates think they can win simply because they are the best candidate, but they are wrong. That brings us to the next point.
If you want a third-party to win, your candidate needs to cast a compelling vision. Sure, policy and platforms are important, but people want to see what that looks like in real life. How will voting for your candidate make their lives better? Politicians constantly cite Ronald Reagan as the master, yet few of them actually do what he did. He spent more time telling Americans that their country was a city set on a hill to shine the light of freedom to the whole world than he spent time talking about policy and position papers. It was his vision that produced the landslide victories. Yes, he tied in to the passions of the Moral Majority, but he also brought democrats over the line in droves. Barak Obama’s speeches and signs and logos were all about hope and change, and Donald Trump’s cry is to make America great again. That’s what’s attracting voters to them. You’ve got to have a message that stirs people’s passions if you want to win.
If you want a third-party to win, you have to understand that lots of people don’t think like you. Many who are declaring for a third-party candidate come across as the macho, John Wayne kind of guy, saying, “I’m voting for my guy and you all can jump off a cliff.” That reflects rugged individualism, but it won’t motivate very many to vote with you. Lots of voters get emotionally tied to the candidate they support, some analyze their options like it was their investment portfolio, a few vote solely on the candidates’ appearance, while millions vote based on their moral and religious principles. If you want to win, your message must appeal to all of them. If your message resonates with only the group who thinks like you, you’ll never make it.
Regardless of how we each choose to vote, it is obvious that our nation’s problems are bigger and deeper than any election or person can resolve. While we debate and discuss candidates and processes, prayer and reliance on God must not be neglected. For too long, we’ve made Him our third-party candidate — calling on Him only when all others have failed us. It’s a small wonder that we are in the shape we’re in.
I join with you in praying that God will guide us, and that our commitment to Him and His ways will be revived.