What Should Minnesota’s Minor Parties Do Now?

By Mark Cardenas

Looking at the 2016 MN Election results, I am disappointed that the minor parties fared only slightly better than in prior elections. In an election cycle where the two major party candidates had both lost their respective primaries in Minnesota, and had some of the highest polling ‘negatives’ in recent history, one would think the electorate would be open to a minor party candidates message. If for no other reason than to say to the major parties “get me some real candidates”.

Why did this not occur in 2016?
Wrestling with this question, I am left with only one answer…the electorate is afraid.
Trump supporters are afraid of: cultural change, job loss, liberal media, a vilified Clinton in the White House. While Clinton supporters are afraid of: isolationism, sexism, racism, a vilified Trump in the White House.

Due to these fears, the electorate is more AGAINST the other major party candidate than they are are FOR their own major party candidate. Plus, (and this is the real issue for minor parties) the electorate feels that a major party candidate is the ONLY one that can defeat the other major party candidate. As such, the fear allows no room for a minor party messaging to get through. This is the scenario I believe John Adams was referring to when he wrote:

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.” (John Adams in a Letter to Jonathan Jackson (2 October 1780))

What are minor parties to do now?
The answer for minor parties is simply voting reform, specifically ranked choice voting (RCV) so that the electorate can vote for a candidate that they SUPPORT while alleviating the fears about a ‘vilified candidate’ winning. RCV is used currently in Minneapolis and St. Paul for municipal offices. Click HERE for some great info on RCV.

How do we get RCV throughout the state for all elections? I see three options available:
a) elect a minor party candidate to Governor whose priority is to establish statewide RCV
b) elect a minor party candidate to Secretary of State whose priority is to establish statewide RCV
c) elect enough minor party State Senators where they could impact legislation surrounding statewide RCV by siding with one of the major parties. Currently this number would be 2 as the senate is split GOP=34, DFL=33

These are challenging times. The major parties will without doubt run the same playbook in the 2018 cycle. Filling the election with negative messages about the ‘other’ major party candidate and pushing the falsehood that only ‘their’ candidate can succeed. But do not be dismayed….

It is time for an Independence Party Playbook to emerge:
–Continually declaring our message FOR statewide RCV and FOR no-nonsense governing
–Find like minded individuals and add them to the Party
–Find motivated and articulate candidates who can carry our MN IP message in their districts

We can succeed in our mission to provide choice and smart solutions to Minnesotans!

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