Annihilating Third Parties

Following in the footsteps of Arizona, the government of Ohio is taking measure to eliminate the threat of third parties:

It’s in this environment that the Ohio State Senate has passed this bill which would essentially eliminate all third party candidates from ballots. In the bill, only candidates from parties which earned 3% or more of the vote in a presidential election would be placed on the ballot; all other candidates would be write-in options. Newly qualifying parties must also submit petitions with at least 55,809 valid signatures.

The bill would, in many ways, solidify the placement of the Democrat and Republican parties at the center of American politics. Voters must look up and remember the names – something which should be simple but many people simply vote party line, and this will create a discrepancy amongst parties – and write-in candidates must apply to be counted. Write-in votes are also counted much more slowly than others, if at all, meaning they will not be discussed in the initial analysis of election results.

Welcome to the reason third parties will never be allowed to gain prominence in American politics. The two ruling parties (which, for all intents and purposes, are one ruling party) already hold power. Because they already hold power they get to make the rules. When you get to make the rules you get to eliminate potential competition by erecting barriers to entry into your marketplace. If a third party in Ohio ever gets close to 3% of a presidential vote the required percentage will be raised to 5% or 10%. The percentage goal post will continue to be moved to ensure third parties remain in their place.

You can’t fix the political system through the political system.