Third Party Spunk

by Sebastian Benthall

Doug Mayle sent me this article today about Libertarian candidate Bob Barr’s law suit to remove McCain and Obama from the party ballet.

Texas election code §192.031 requires that the “written certification” of the “party’s nominees” be delivered “before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before election day.” Because neither candidate had been nominated by the official filing deadline, the Barr campaign argues it was impossible for the candidates to file under state law.

This may seem like a petty move on the part of Barr, but it’s really a principled demand for better treatment of third parties. “Fair” treatment would be outlandish to ask for–the current legislation hardly gives them a chance. But letting the actual enforcement of the law be held to a double standard would just be a travesty.

“The facts of the case are not in dispute,” says Russell Verney, manager of the Barr campaign. “Republicans and Democrats missed the deadline, but were still allowed on the ballot. Third parties are not allowed on the ballot for missing deadlines, as was the case for our campaign in West Virginia, yet the Texas secretary of state’s office believes Republicans and Democrats to be above the law.”

It’s worth noting that since Texas is such a deeply red state, this move hurts Republicans far more than it hurts Democrats. I’d recommend that dedicated progressives get behind this law suit and support it, however unlikely the suit’s success, if only for that strategic reason (though I think the third party issue might actually be more worth fighting for).

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