United States Presidential Election, 2008 -- Third Party Candidates

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Third Party Candidates for the 2008 Presidential Election

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Libertarian party

The Libertarian Party selected former Representative Bob Barr of Georgia as its 2008 presidential candidate on May 25, 2008.[1] Former Democratic candididate Mike Gravel sought the Libertarian nomination but lost to Barr.[2]

Barr has, on his campaign website, linked to a proposed Libertarian strategy laid out by a member of his campaign staff. Although Barr has not officially claimed this as his strategy, the link appears to be a tacit endorsement. The strategy is called the "gold states" strategy. Instead of waging a 50-state campaign with the aim of securing 270 electoral votes and an outright electoral college win, Barr would focus on about 18-20 states where neither Obama or McCain has strong support. Winning that number of states could net Barr from 180-200 electoral votes, and would exceed either Obama or McCain's number and prevent either of them from reaching 270. Under US Constitution Amendment 12, with no candidate having an electoral vote majority, the election would be thrown into the House of Representatives, which would have to choose the president from the top three electoral vote getters. At this stage, Barr could argue that as the top electoral vote recipient, he should become the President, and might draw support from conservative Democrats displeased with Obama's positions, and from Republicans who dislike McCain.

Although winning the largest number of electoral votes would assist Barr in making such an argument, it is not absolutely necessary. Given the close divide in the electoral vote in the 2000 and 2004 elections, Barr could throw the vote into the House by winning a handful of states to garner perhaps 15-20 electoral votes.

The House of Representatives currently has a Democratic majority, but it is important to note that under the US Constitution Amendment 12, the vote is not a straight vote of the members of the House. Instead, each State gets one single vote, and that vote is determined by the members from that State. Although many large states like California and New York have large Democratic majorities, these will be balanced by the many smaller Southern and Midwestern states with Republican majorities. A handful of states have an even number of House members, and are split down the middle for control.

Constitution Party

The Constitution Party held its convention in Kansas City, Kansas, on April 24 through April 27. The party nominated Pastor Chuck Baldwin over former U.N. Ambassador and Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes.[3]

Green Party

Cynthia McKinney, who was defeated in her bid for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives after voting against the Iraq War and being arrested on battery charges after striking a Capitol Hill police officer, won the environmentalist Green Party's nomination for president at the party convention July 12, 2008. Running for Vice President on the Green ticket is "Hip-Hop activist and journalist" Rosa Clemente.[4]

Independents

Ralph Nader announced his independent candidacy for president on February 24, 2008, to focus on "stem[ming] corporate crime and Pentagon waste and promot[ing] labor rights", issues he feels are ignored by the main parties.[5] His running mate is former President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Matt Gonzalez.[6]

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was frequently mentioned as a possible independent candidate for the 2008 presidential election and fueled that speculation when he left the Republican Party in June 2007. However, he declared in a February 28, 2008, op-ed article in The New York Times, "I am not—and will not be—a candidate for president," but added that "[i]f a candidate takes an independent, nonpartisan approach—and embraces practical solutions that challenge party orthodoxy—I’ll join others in helping that candidate win the White House."[7]

See Also


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