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Gearing Up for 2010, Third Parties Swamped by D, R and None

Yesterday, the Federal Election Commission released its latest statistics on registered candidates for national public office. Here’s the official FEC breakdown of their party identification:

Democratic/DFL Party: 1031
Republican Party: 953
Independent/None: 132
Libertarian: 27
Other: 26
Unknown: 24
Green Party: 14
Constitutional Party: 3
Conservative Party: 2
Reform Party: 2
American Party: 1
Citizens Party: 1
Right to Life Party: 1
Socialist Party USA: 1

Methodological note and clarification: these reflect the official FEC tabulation, and I’ve included that for those who want the raw data (and those who might think I was otherwise cooking the books). But plumbing beyond these crosstabs into the raw data, these FEC stats include 330 registrants in 2010 that are not for future office but rather for a prior election cycle: 1 Conservative Party, 1 Constitutional Party member, 161 Democrats, 2 Greens, 2 Reform Party, 158 Republicans, and 1 Right to Life Party. Take those folks out (as I think you should) and the distribution looks like this:

Democratic/DFL Party: 970
Republican Party: 795
Independent/None: 132
Libertarian: 27
Other: 26
Unknown: 24
Green Party: 12
Constitutional Party: 2
Conservative Party: 1
American Party: 1
Citizens Party: 1
Socialist Party USA: 1

What’s the state of third party organizing in the United States? No matter which tabulation you follow, it’s pretty dismal. Democrats and Republicans are far and away the most highly represented parties in candidate registrations so far this year, with the only other category making it to the same order of magnitude being no coherent category at all: the set of individuals who are running under the banner of no party as political independents. Libertarians and Greens are at least in the double digits, but pale in comparison to the big two and to independent candidates. And Ross, oh, Ross, Texarkana weeps for you: the Reform Party has Deformed.

Sure, you might say, this is still pretty early in the 2010 national election season, and that’s true. But what you see here are the organized candidates, those who are on the ball and taking care of business. Those who come in later will be coming in late. So this is a good glimpse not only of the partisan identification of candidates but of the organizational efficacy of political parties.

If you don’t like the dominance of the two major parties and you aren’t satisfied with the existence of independent candidates as a solution to that, then why not do something about it yourself? Down East Magazine has a nifty article about the rise of the Green Party as a significant player in Portland, Maine and the party’s plan to spread throughout the rest of Maine. It’s an organizational story about organized people engaging with the electoral system. So few people are trying to organize alternative parties that the addition of just one dedicated person might make a significant, observable difference. Can you make the change happen where you are? Can you even be the person who gives another tick to the third party column for 2010? Yes You…

1 comment to Gearing Up for 2010, Third Parties Swamped by D, R and None

  • qs

    Well you have top stay registered as a republican so that you can vote in their primary election. You can always vote for the third parties in the general elections I normally do.

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