Politics & Government


Third-party and Ron Paul voters impact Election Day

As the day following Election Day 2012, ends across the United States, Florida has earned the distinction of being the only state in the nation where the winning presidential candidate failed to secure a majority of the votes. With 100% of the votes now counted in the state, Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama has defeated Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney by a vote total of 4,145,549 (49.86%) to 4,098,072 (49.29%). This gives Obama a 47,477 (0.57%) vote margin of victory over Romney in Florida.

The third-place finisher in Florida, Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson, has received 43,721 votes, or about 0.53% of the total votes cast. While the state GOP will likely try to place the blame for Romney’s loss on Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party, the evidence provided by final vote totals in Florida cannot substantiate this accusation. Gary Johnson’s actual vote total is 3,726 (0.04%) less than the margin of Obama’s victory over Romney. Therefore, Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party can neither be directly credited nor blamed for Romney’s loss to Obama in Florida. For further details about the vote totals in Florida, please click here.

Brief overview of ‘Conservative’ and ‘Liberal’

While the labels of “Conservative” and “Liberal” are outdated and proven to be inadequate and inaccurate to describe all political candidates, the large majority of journalists on mainstream media news networks still try to convince both themselves and their viewers to assume all politicians must be placed in one of these two categories. For this purpose only, this article assigns all twelve of the 2012 Presidential Candidates in Florida as either Conservative or Liberal.

Third-party ‘Conservative’ voters

There were a total of five “Conservative” third-party candidates on the ballot in the state of Florida. These included the previously mentioned Libertarian Party Candidate Gary Johnson as well as Objectivist Party Candidate Tom Stevens, Constitution Party Candidate Virgil Goode, American Independent Party Candidate Tom Hoeffing, and Reform Party Candidate Andre Barnett.

All five of these candidates together earned 51,788 votes or 0.63%. This is 4,355 votes (0.06%)greater than Obama’s margin of victory over Mitt Romney. However, it is impossible to conclude all of these voters would have selected Romney. Most of these voters would have likely chosen not to vote if the selection had been limited to Obama and Romney. Nevertheless, the majority of Republican officials in Florida will attempt to exploit this inaccurate assumption to their advantage in 2014 and 2016.

For example, Libertarian Candidate Gary Johnson, who placed third in Florida and first among the third-party Conservative candidates, also received support of a number of anti-war Democrats. In addition to his crossover popularity among voters, the Libertarian Party of Florida insists the majority of Gary Johnson supporters would have chosen to stay home rather than being forced to select either Obama or Romney for president. This conclusion is likely accurate, given the ideology associated with most of Gary Johnson’s campaign volunteers and the voters he attracted to the polls.

Therefore, it is virtually impossible to conclude all 51,768 third-party Conservative votes could ever be applied directly to Romney’s total. It is worth noting that the Libertarian Party of Florida website is currently receiving an unprecedented volume of visitors to its website, which indicates a heightened interest in the Libertarian Party of Florida after Tuesday’s elections. For more information on the Libertarian Party of Florida, please visit its website.

Third-party ‘Liberal’ voters

On the other side of the political spectrum, there were also five “Liberal” minor party candidates on the ballot in Florida. The candidate receiving the highest number of these votes was Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, with 8,725 votes (0.10%). When her votes are added to Peace and Freedom Party Candidate Roseanne Barr, Justice Party Candidate Rocky Anderson, Socialist Party Candidate Stewart Alexander, and Party for Socialism and Liberator Candidate Pete Lindsey, the total comes to 19,560 votes (0.235%).

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Brian Cole

About Brian Cole

Brought up among family members with strong political opinions, Brian C. Cole soon arrived at this disheartening conclusion: Neither of the two major political parties represented his personal ideologies. In the 1990s, Brian discovered the Libertarian Party and its commitment to free markets, free trade, social tolerance and non-intervention abroad. Brian is a member of the Libertarian Party of Florida, and he has belonged to the Libertarian National Committee since 2004.

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