The Boston Globe reports: “They campaign in near anonymity, these third-party contenders who stand no shot at the presidency. Their supporters are castigated for wasting their votes. But don’t write them off just yet. In hotly contested swing states, their presence on the ballot may alter the course of the election.
“In Virginia, where Mitt Romney and President Obama are running neck and neck, former Republican congressman Virgil Goode’s crusade for the Oval Office could draw conservatives and tip the state away from Romney. …
“Also running are Green Party nominee Jill Stein, a physician from Lexington who had run against Romney for Massachusetts governor in 2002, and Rocky Anderson, of the newly formed Justice Party and a former Democratic mayor of Salt Lake City.”
Some political activists are advocating a “safe state/swing state” voting strategy — to signal displeasure with establishment candidates while avoiding in effect helping elect their less-preferred candidate:
JEFF COHEN [email]
Cohen is among a number of well-known progressives — including Daniel Ellsberg, Cornel West, Frances Fox Piven, Barbara Ehrenreich, Marjorie Cohn, Jim Hightower and Norman Solomon — backing a RootsAction.org proposal aimed at progressive voters: “If you live in a close state, defeat Romney and his right-wing policies by voting Obama/Biden. If you live in a state where the outcome will be lopsided, you’re in a position to send a loud and clear vote of protest against Obama policies you oppose.”
The group states they have “consistently challenged Obama policies (on civil liberties, war and bloated military spending, environment, potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare, to name a few)” — but adds: “we know that the policies of a Romney/Ryan administration would be worse on many issues and better on none. Consider Romney’s recent vow to ‘change course’ toward even more war-mongering in the Middle East. Or their profound differences on abortion rights and Supreme Court picks.
“We also know that whether Obama or Romney wins on November 6th will be decided in a dozen states known as ‘swing’ or ‘battleground’ states because they’re so close they could go either way. Those states now include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
“But due to our 18th century system of presidential elections, your vote in nearly 40 non-swing states (e.g. West Coast, most of Northeast, deep South) will not be decisive because one side or the other will easily win those states. Progressives can take strategic advantage of this archaic voting system that’s winner-take-all in each state.”