Green River Star -

Our View: Other parties should focus elsewhere


It’s an attractive thought, that’s for sure.

The idea that someone like the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein or Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson could become the next president of the United States is something that gives a lot of people hope, especially if their political philosophies don’t align with either the Democrats or Republicans.

Yet, while it’s theoretically possible a candidate from an alternative party could get voted into the White House, those parties should spend more time working to influence state governments.

The most obvious problem is if an alternative candidate somehow won the election, Democrats and Republicans would still have control of Congress. While the President does have a lot of power, the President still needs congressional support to achieve major policy victories. Alternative parties tend to support views too extreme for the mainstream parties. A Libertarian or Green Party agenda would be difficult for most Democrats and Republicans to stomach. They would actively fight an alternative party’s platform.

This is the main reason why these parties should focus their attention on the lower offices, such as those in county and state governments.

A grass-roots effort beginning at those levels of government is where real change would occur. It’s a waste of time to simply aim for the highest office in the United States, as many have done already. A strong Green Party, Libertarian or even Prohibition Party (it exists) group in state legislatures would prime the party for seats in Congress. If voters can get behind those candidates and their ideologies, people with similar ideals would be empowered to run for office in their districts.

Any real, meaningful change has to start locally and grow nationally. That’s something many alternative parties seem to not understand.

By focusing on a presidential bid, the candidates from those parties are only pushing their political philosophies to a national audience that isn’t ready to support those policies.

By focusing on state and county government, people will have a chance to see if ideas pushed by an alternative party will work for their state. If they do, support for the party will follow.

Any alternative party should be prepared to play the long game in winning seats and political influence. Without that kind of mind set, any alternative party will only be seen as a sideshow in the political circus.


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