I hear a lot of vaguely conspiratorial grumbling about why third party candidates don’t do well. Especially from my libertarian friends but it honestly doesn’t surprise me. If you follow politics closely and I mean really closely or maybe volunteer with a campaign for a while it isn’t surprising and it certainly isn’t the result of dark shadowy forces. We don’t live in a world were wearing a few buttons and handing out bumper stickers will get you elected. It requires a fairly sophisticated level of organization especially if your trying for high office. This is a good thing. The world is complicated enough that if you can’t organize a sophisticated campaign your not sophisticated enough to run for office.
Consider the so-called media bias for Obama and against Palin. There’s not a deep personal-political agenda on behalf of “the media”. Sure there are some networks that have an ax to grind but they’re largely balanced by ideological opposites. But Obama’s rise to stardom wasn’t because of accident or media bias. It was skill. He rarely got off message, he was never unprepared, he treated the journalists like professionals, his aides and staff were also on message. Maybe it sounds easy to you. It doesn’t to me. I tend to be ascerbic and sarcastic much of the time. If I had people following me everywhere I went recording everything I said at some point I’m going to say something to offend someone, or be stupid in some way. Very much like that clip of Biden berating that one dude for asking about his record as a law student. It’s absolutely no surprise that he ended up as #2. You contrast that with all the absurd and ridiculous things Palin said. You can’t blame the media for the buffoonery that Palin brought for the media on an almost daily basis and just in case you think it’s all those “liberals” with all their “gotcha” questions (that Palin thinks there are such a thing as Gotcha questions is part of the problems) if you watched her own reality show she was still running her own little loony toons. Try as she might she cant blame the “lamestream” media for her own screw ups. For example, she was given the softest of softball questions in the Curic interview and she completely missed it. Lie! Tell the truth! Say anything, pull a random newspaper out of the air. If your really clever pick something cute or local. Any newspaper would have done. New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Post Intelligencier, WSJ, Boston Globe, Forbes, one of those new fangled news aggregators, the New York Post (eeww) the Wasilla Gazette or something anything and then Katie would have looked foolish for asking such a silly question. (Me, I’d have gone with the National Geographic or Nature. I would have lost the election but Nerds would be mine forever)
You can go far whining about how awful you think the other guys is but your still a loser. You still lack a plan for the future or a way to connect with America. Obama had soaring lofty ideals about how to make the world a better place. Republicans had “drill baby drill”. Of course they lost the election. Romney had “I’m a wealthy elitist whose exactly like Obama but I’m going to be completely opposite as President” and he lost the election. Going into 2014 GOPs will be on the message “we hate Obama”. It’ll probably work too if the GOP candidates can run a professional campaign and keep from fatally sabotaging each other. But they still lack a message and their still whiny losers whose best electoral qualities are nothing more than to tap into petty dissatisfaction. The blame game has been around forever let’s see how well the GOP can play it this year
And where will third party candidates be? Spouting vague conspiracies and a confused message. Struggling to be heard above the din and handing out bumper stickers.