A famous statesman once wrote in his manifesto of the importance in keeping the people divided. “As a whole, and at all times” he writes, “the efficency of the truly national leader consists primarily in preventing the division of the attention of the people, and always concentrating it on a single enemy.” According to this author, “[i]t is part of the genius of a great leader to make adversaries of different fields appear as always belonging to only one category” because ” [a]s soon as the wavering masses find themselves confronted with too many enemies, objectivity at once steps in, and the question is raised whether actually all the others are wrong and their own nations or their own movement alone is right”. We can see a similar strategy being used in America today. With the presence of two major parties, and only two major parties, each party can maintain power over their base by making all problems appear as though they are the fault of the opposing party. Democrats point at Republicans for destroying the economy, and Republicans point at Democrats for the same thing. The presence of each party gives the other party a form of scapegoat to blame, and with this scapegoat comes their ability to unite their followers against a common enemy, and that enemy is the “other party”.
It is probably for this reason that the major parties do everything they can to keep the other parties off the ballot. If there are too many messages, the attention of the people is too divided, and as it says above, objectivity steps in and people begin to think. This infringement on what could be considered free speech (if term limits on Congress are a free speech issue then surely ballot access is a free speech issue as well) is alive and well in the 86th Texas Legislature. Currently our own Congressmen are working diligently to remove third parties from the ballot, and this is all thanks to Republican Mayes Middleton. In the 2018 Midterm Elections the Republicans did not do too well (at least not in Texas), and are desperate to get their votes back. However, rather than changing their messaging to be more inline with what the people of Texas are looking for, they are opting to remove the competition from the ballot.
As stated, Republicans know that they are having trouble. In the 2018 Midterm Elections the Republicans lost ground in every single state-wide race. Over all the state-wide races the Republican support decreased by approximately 6.69%, and Democrat support increased by approximately 8.55%. So, as previously mentioned, rather than changing their messaging to reach the people they’re opting for legislation to keep other parties off the ballot. And, again, a big special thanks to Republican Representative Middleton for authoring HB4416.
What is HB4416? Glad you asked. HB4416, “a bill to be entitled an act relating to the qualifications necessary for a political party to have the names of its nominees placed on the ballot.” In this legislation, Representative Middleton proposes that “a political party is entitled to have the names of its nominees placed on the ballot, without qualifying under Subsection (a), in each subsequent general election following a general election in which the party had a nominee for a statewide office who received a number of votes equal to 10 percent of the total number of votes received by all candidates in office”. This is double the current set expectation of 5%. This bill was introduced on March 8, 2019 by Representative Middleton, and testimony was heard on it today, April 8, 2019. A number of Libertarian representatives were present to speak against the bill. As of right now, this bill has been left in committee.
What Does This Mean for Third Party Candidates?
If this bill passes, then it will be even harder for third party candidates to get on the ticket. As a result, candidates will need access to qualified campaign consultants to help them double their support in order to, at a minimum, maintain ballot access for the party. The consultants at Lone Star Campaigns are ready and waiting to help you with your exploratory committees, and campaign planning. Contact us with your questions or to schedule a consultation.
CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES!
If you are interested in contacting your representatives and speaking out against this bill, but are unsure of who your representatives are, click here.