In my view, of course, every eligible American voter should be voting for the Protest Party. Here’s a list of the factions I think could make up the broad coalition of Protest Party voters. If you fall into one of these categories, let me know if you agree with my assessment.
Minor Party Voters. Nobody knows better than frustrated third-party voters just how corrupt the system is, because nobody is more familiar with the suppression tactics the two major parties engage in. One major problem with getting minor party voters to support the Protest Party is that many of these minor party voters are likely to have intense loyalty to their party. These core supporters maintain perennial optimism that this could be the year that they finally make a breakthrough. Moreover, they work really hard each year just to get on the ballot and each year hope to get over the voting threshold their state sets in order to get onto the next election’s ballot. (In Ohio the threshold is now at 3%.) On the other hand, many minor party voters are not dedicated and optimistic “core” members and might be looking for a better alternative to the Big Two.
Reluctant Major Party Voters. These are the pragmatic “lesser of two evil”-type voters. They are frustrated with the two Major Parties, but they don’t see the Minor Parties as viable alternatives. Perhaps these voters don’t subscribe to any one of the Minor Parties’ agendas, or perhaps they simply recognize that these parties are hopeless, generally viewed as ideological oddities peripheral to the real election. The Protest Party may be a bit of an oddity itself, but its agenda is clear and it has not, as yet, been proven hopeless. The trick here will be to convince these voters first that the two Major Parties are more similar than they think (and even worse than they think); and second, that the Protest Party is not hopeless.
Those actively opposed to voting. I like to point out that the US government’s claim to legitimacy is precarious: support for Congress is about one-third as strong as support was for the King of England at the time of our revolution. And that’s for a directly elected and relatively transparent body - in contrast to many arms of our government that act in complete secrecy (or try to), outside the view not only of the people but even of those who are charged with overseeing them. Some argue that by voting we offer undeserved legitimacy to the whole system. Well, I think if you vote for something called The Protest Party, it would not be viewed as condoning the system at all. To the contrary, it’s a clear and emphatic declaration of protestation. Contrast that with how people interpret non-voters: “Oh, they are just not very engaged with politics. Maybe they just don’t care.” The Protest Party resists such misinterpretations, makes its disapproval clear, and, moreover, organically unites a coalition of like-minded Americans.
Protest Voters. Traditionally, people who want to cast a protest vote go to the polls and vote for “Mickey Mouse” or some other clear non-compliant choice. In Nevada you can even choose “None of the Above,” an option that is being explored for ballots in New Hampshire, as well. The Protest Party takes this a step further by effortlessly uniting these protest voters, empowering them to actually make some difference, or, at least, to be noticed.
Those who don’t vote because they are fed up with the system. It’s easy to become frustrated and feel powerless in our democracy. Economists will even tell you that it’s not worth your time to bother voting. The Protest Party is, for now at least, a small and novel group upon which each supporter can have a real and tangible influence. Compared to attending street protests, which means risking getting arrested, pepper sprayed, surveilled and raided by the FBI, or even brain damaged by the police, sending in an early voting ballot is ridiculously easy and, hopefully, rewarding.
[This post borrow heavily from a post I wrote for skepolitical.com.]