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Trouble in New Jersey

October 21, 2009

The current Rasmussen poll highlights a problem for the GOP:  fading support for the Democrats does not automatically translate into support for the GOP.

If Corzine wins re-election because the electorate split their vote between Daggett & Christie, it will be a tragedy like the 1992 presidential election in which third-party candidate Perot allowed Clinton to get elected.

One has to wonder why a third-party candidate with 11% of the vote keeps running.  In a parliamentary system it makes sense: the elections are for seats in parliament and a third party can be a power-broker to make a majority.  Germany’s recent parliamentary elections shows how that works.  In our system, even if Daggett pulls 15% of the vote he gets nothing.

That’s because, in a parliamentary system, you’re not voting for an executive–you’re voting for a party which will subsequently pick an executive.  In the US presidential system–it’s the same at the state level–the voters vote directly for the executive.  I’ve outlined some of the differences in party systems in a previous post.

The fact that there is a third party candidate pulling a significant portion of the electorate highlights problems with the two major parties.  Sentiment against the radical-left Democrats is growing but it does not mean that voters will automatically switch to the Republicans.

The GOP must get back to core principles, listen to what the voters want, and put forward good candidates.

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