Wednesday, 11 November 2020

The American Green Party's successful electoral strategy

Jill Stein, the Green Party's candidate did well in the 2016 Presidential Election, from Wiki: "Stein finished in 4th with over 1,457,216 votes (more than the previous three Green tickets combined) and 1.07% of the popular vote".

In the 2020 election, the Green Party candidate only got 339,000 votes. An apparent failure, but actually nothing of the sort. The Democrat strategists knew that losing votes to the Green candidate probably cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election, so their 2020 candidate Joe Biden said he was in a favour of a Green New Deal (whatever that is) and clawed most of those votes back. Given how tight the margins were in swing states, that was a very sensible tactic. This is called "shifting the Overton Window", and now the Greens just have to hope he actually implements it.
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A similar thing happened to the Libertarian Party, their vote share went down from a very respectable 4.5 milion to 1.5 million votes (as far as I can make out), presumably because Trump (the very antithesis of actual libertarianism) took back most of the votes from right wing nutters who otherwise might have voted Libertarian.

But fair play to the 2020 Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgenson, she is realistic about all this and understand how it works. From the BBC:

"The Libertarian Party's baseline votes will continue to grow [sic]," Ms Jorgensen said in a statement. "The only way Democrats and Republicans can keep us down is by adopting our libertarian policies."
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To cut a long story short, the lesson for small parties is - if your policies and principles become widely accepted and politically palatable, the larger parties adopt them (or at least pretend to) and you lose votes.

7 comments:

James Higham said...

“ right wing nutters”

A noble profession.

Mark Wadsworth said...

JH, in which case, the profession failed.

Biden might well implement parts of the Green manifesto, a win for them.

The Lib Party lost votes to Trump without him adopting the saner parts of their manifesto or popularising them, and he lost anyway. Epic fail.

Frank said...

James, you should know how it works by now, right wing nutters are nutters, left wing nutters are greens or democrats or anything but nutters.

Mark Wadsworth said...

F, what term would you use to describe people who think that mobile phone masts cause Covid?

Frank said...

Mark. "Nutters" sounds good to me. What term would you use to describe people who look at Venezuela and think "That's a good idea, we ought to try that here"?

Mark Wadsworth said...

F, how about "corrupt and self-serving" (for those who manipulate*) and "gullible" for the manipulated?

* I don't see a big difference between Boris and his mates robbing their own country; or Chavez and his mates/successors robbing their own country; or indeed Trump and other landlords robbing their own country.

The Stigler said...

"To cut a long story short, the lesson for small parties is - if your policies and principles become widely accepted and politically palatable, the larger parties adopt them (or at least pretend to) and you lose votes."

True, but if your goal is getting policies adopted rather than jobs for the boys, you succeed. UKIP scared up the Conservatives so badly in 2010 that they had to offer a referendum. Job done and go home.

It's why I never tactically vote. You're just endorsing the current state of a party. They'll carry on as before. The vague promises about reforming the EU will keep being vague promises. Threats of losing their jobs have a better effect, and these MPs are still having to be dragged to do what the public told them to do.