The sad state of third parties in North Carolina
We spend a lot of time griping about the sorry state of the NCGOP and the NC Dems. But those two organizations are looking great when compared to the state’s Libertarian and Constitution parties.
The Libertarian Party of North Carolina hasn’t come much further than the state it was in when co-founded in 1976 by Art Pope. (Yep, THAT Art Pope.)
State records show that, in 2019, there are 36,347 people registered Libertarian in North Carolina. (Wake and Mecklenburg have the largest concentrations of Libertarian Party members.) As a comparison, there are 35,122 total registered voters in Halifax County. And 35,609 total registered voters in Lenoir County. After 43 years in existence, it hasn’t become much of a player.
Small-L libertarianism has always been about opposing Big Government, government handouts, and that kind of thing. Conventional wisdom has always been that Libertarians steal votes from Republicans. But after listening to Libertarian Party candidate Sean Haugh, who ran against Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis in 2014, I’m convinced the LP has been taken over by hardcore leftists. Folks who think the Democrats are too moderate. A case can honestly be made that Haugh did more damage to Hagan than he did to Tillis in that close election.
Year after year, we get a smattering of LP candidates filing for a smattering of races. Basically, their campaign consists of little more than filing. Sometimes, they get into candidate debates. But there’s no serious sales pitch to the voters at large.
So, what’s the strategy here? (If there IS one.)
Why run if you’re not seriously trying to win?
And then there’s the Constitution Party. According to state records, they’ve only got 1,246 registered members statewide. Here’s a report from one of my moles who attended the Constitution Party state convention last year:
Only about a dozen people showed up. Only 8 stayed for the election of the Executive Committee after lunch. The only substantive business was the “ratification” of the hand-picked Executive Committee. Most of the time was spent listening to the candidates who lost last Tuesday.They vetoed any consideration of how to avoid siphoning off votes from Dan Forest. No interest at all in getting legislation that would allow two parties to nominate the same candidate.In my opinion this effort is doomed. They don’t have a clue how to organize and no clue what they are doing politically.Will watch from afar. Not worth driving hours to participate.
I’m very disappointed. I would have liked to have seen them succeed in becoming a viable third party. Ain’t gonna happen.
What a mess.
The platforms of these two parties aren’t being marketed. Most voters don’t know much about them. Their candidates are often protest place-holders. In a close race, they can siphon off a percentage point or two and throw it to one side or another.
The two major parties CAN offset some of that by upgrading their offerings to us, the voters.
If the objective is vandalism, these two third parties are succeeding. If the objective is selling a different message to voters tired of being bamboozled and scammed by the two major parties, they’ve got a LOOOOOOOOONG way to go.
3 thoughts on “The sad state of third parties in North Carolina”
I completely agree with your assessment of the two main third parties. The Constitution Party ought to have a future, but its leadership is clueless.
Ooooh kaaaayyyyy, mole without a name.
I was on the Constitution Party State Executive Committee and was actually at the state convention mentioned. Let me just say that the following is my opinion and mine alone, and I am not authorized or attempting to speak on behalf of the Constitution Party of NC itself:
“Only about a dozen people showed up.”
“Only 8 stayed for the election of the Executive Committee after lunch.”
– More bullshit.
“The only substantive business was the “ratification” of the hand-picked Executive Committee.”
– So we had ballot access for what, four months? And you’re expecting some major event? GTFO
You just have your panties in a bunch because you can’t join the party a month or three before the convention and stack the convention with your lackies to take it over. Yeah, many of us were in the Republican Party, and we know how that crap works. Which, coincidentally, is why we had the restrictions you’ve been whining about since last fall in place. Not bad for a group of clueless dimwits who don’t know what they’re doing, eh, cupcake?
“Most of the time was spent listening to the candidates who lost last Tuesday.”
– Yeah, they were competing against big money, on a barely known platform, in the aftermath of a major hurricane and flooding, in a party FOUR FRAKING MONTHS OLD! Sheesh.
“They vetoed any consideration of how to avoid siphoning off votes from Dan Forest. No interest at all in getting legislation that would allow two parties to nominate the same candidate.”
Absolute 100% bullshit. This issue was never discussed as a business item during the convention and I don’t recall it being presented to the executive committee to be deal with at the convention. I don’t know whether it was presented to the rules and bylaws Committee, but I’m going to find out. By the way, if we support legislation to do whatever the heck you think we should do, it wouldn’t matter.
– We have no representation in the general assembly.
– Dan Forest’s own campaign won’t even discuss the matter with us.
“In my opinion this effort is doomed.”
– Reeeally? We haven’t even been in the ring for one friggin year and you’re already calling it? Wow. Show us how it’s done, bitch-mittens.
“They don’t have a clue how to organize and no clue what they are doing politically.”
– We just don’t pander to self-absorbed narcissistic jerks who expect their asses to be kissed just for gracing us with their presence, as you’ve so eloquently demonstrated. Without a name. Like a bitch.
“Will watch from afar.”
– Yes, PLEASE do. You suck.
“Not worth driving hours to participate.”
– Awwwe, should we have it in your back yard next year? Would you feel special enough then, buttercup?
“I’m very disappointed.”
– At first I was afraid, I was petrified, at the thought of living life without you by my side…
“I would have liked to have seen them succeed in becoming a viable third party.”
– No, you would have liked to see YOU succeed in making the party stroke your ego.
“Ain’t gonna happen.”
– Damn right it ain’t.
“What a mess.”
– Bye, Felicia!
Whom ever is said mole is completely full of it. Our election process is open to people as long as they follow the rules such as having to be a member for a period of time, registered to vote with us, etc. if we allow just anyone to show up and be elected from the floor then we are no better then one of the other big tent parties. I can assure everyone no “hand-picking” was done. No where did we “veto” anything about Dan forest or anything like that at all and in fact we are working behind the scenes to accomplish some things soon that will come out that will accomplish alot. Guess what our first time on the ballot we elected a county commissioner, and other candidates polled 24% and almost out polled the democrat in a 3 way race had another candidate get 14% in a 3 way race and another close to 40% of the vote. FYI we are the fasted growing party in the state out numbering the greens now. Give us time, the things people don’t know that take place behind close doors and many hours of planing for certain races will pay off soon. Not to throw off on my libertarian friends but when was the Last time the Libertarians elected a county commissioner or anyone to any partisan office in NC?
Kevin Hayes Vice Chairman Constitution Party of NC
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