In a Parliamentary System of Government, like Canada or the U. K, the Executive Branch—Prime Minister and Cabinet—are Members of the Parliament. The party with the most seats (if not an outright majority) usually invites minority parties into a Coalition, in order to reach 50%, plus one, of the total seats. That would enable it to “Form a Government”. If the Prime Minister loses the “Confidence” of the minority party(ies) needed to hold a majority of seats, a “New Government” must be formed.
The Executive Branch, in a Presidential System, however, such as ours—the President, Vice President and Cabinet—is a separate, but equal, Branch of the Government. This means that only the views of the two major parties, either one of which might be in power during the next administration, are given priority consideration in the American Political System. Serious third parties could, in fact, make their voices heard if they contested for seats in the Congress, and gradually became a fundamental part of the American Political System.
Currently, the Presidential Candidates of only two third-parties have consistently been reflected in the polls. Gary Johnson, of the Libertarian Party, garners 7%-to-9%
in most polls and Dr. Jill Stein, of the Green Party, polls approximately half that. Since neither received 15% in the polls, they were not included in the first debate, and it is questionable as to whether they might be included in either of the remaining two.
The objectives of third party Presidential Candidates are quite narrowly-defined. Also, since the parties only seem to appear on the national radar screen every four years, if then, neither the candidates, nor their parties’ objectives are readily known. Also, Third-Party goals may be somewhat ideologically-based, or idealistic in purpose, rather than represent the comprehensive policy focus that our Government requires
The New President must be prepared to address a wide range of issues; but, within the context of America’s role on the World Stage. He or she could be called upon to take a Leadership role in: combating a potential global pandemic, such as the Ebola Virus in 2014; work with other countries to reverse Global Climate Change; maintain fair and open trade policies on a global basis; encourage our Federal Reserve and Treasury to coordinate fiscal and monetary policy as effectively as possible; and work with our Allies to maintain peace on land and freedom of the seas, on a global basis.
Aside from the basic objective of third parties, they are generally more closely associated with one of the two major parties. Ironically, when their candidates run for President, they usually just take votes away from the major party that most aligns with their party’s own goals. For instance, H. Ross Perot, the Independent Party Candidate in 1992, is widely believed to have cost President George H. W. Bush another term when he garnered nearly 19% of the Popular Vote.
With 39 days left until the General Election, National Security has constantly been considered the most important issue facing America today. Libertarian Party Candidate, Former Governor of New Mexico (1995-2002), Gary Johnson, didn’t recognize the term “Aleppo”, in a TV interview a couple of weeks ago. It’s the largest city in Syria, which has been besieged for the past two years, and is often in the news. And three days ago, he was unable to name one Head of State, to include President Enrique Pena-Neto, just across his state’s border, in Mexico.
As noted at the beginning of this post, third-party candidates tend to have a narrowly-defined policy focus; but, budget constraints (Libertarians) and environmental activism (Greens), however important, just fail to address the full range of issues that a President can be engulfed in at little more than a moment’s notice. Now, this certainly doesn’t mean that each of the two major party candidates are ready for the job either.
NOTE: Welcome to my new follower, a Yankee down in Kiwiland.