For a century and a half, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have maintained a stranglehold on American politics. They have used this position to make life very difficult for anyone who wishes to campaign for public office on a ballot line other than theirs. This has been accomplished by ballot access laws which require exorbitant numbers of signatures on petitions for ballot access, court challenges to such petitions, “sore loser” laws which prevent Republicans and Democrats who lose in primary elections from becoming third party candidates in general elections, campaign finance laws that make it harder for third party candidates to get funding compared to Republicans and Democrats, “top two” primaries which keep third party candidates off of general election ballots, and polling requirements for debate access that limit the ability of third party candidates to bring their message to voters. Several strategies have been proposed to combat this, none of which have been very successful thus far. Here, I propose a new strategy for breaking the duopoly. I call this the Ohio Strategy for reasons which will soon be made clear.

Due to the aforementioned rigging of the American political system, it is nearly impossible for a third party candidate to compete in presidential politics. For most such candidates, the resources to contend with the war chests of Republican and Democratic presidential nominees on a nationwide basis are simply nonexistent. Michael Cloud writes in Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion that “should” presupposes “can,” and it follows that “cannot” implies “must not.” In other words, that which cannot be done should not be attempted. As such, a third party candidacy would be better served by using its smaller amount of resources in a more concentrated manner than by attempting to compete against the two major parties in all 50 states. The most effective way to do this would be to put a majority of a campaign’s money and activists into a single state in an effort to win a plurality of the popular vote in that state, and thereby its electors. (Note that in a three-way race, one can win with as little as 33 percent plus 1, whereas 50 percent plus 1 is needed in a two-way race. In practice, it will be slightly less in each case due to minor candidates getting a small share of the vote.) But which state to choose? The ideal place for this strategy would be a state which has a large number of electoral votes, is a swing state, and is historically necessary for one or both of the major parties to win.


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