Third-party Presidential votes were hammered yesterday by the closest Presidential race in U.S. history. Vote totals for the five major third-party candidates--Nader, Buchanan, Brown, Hagelin, and Phillips--were 60% less than the turnouts predicted just days before the election.
Ralph Nader, who had up to 6% in national polls the week before the election, received just 2.5% of the vote--far below his goal of 5% needed for federal funds in 2004.
Buchanan, who had a solid 1% showing in the polls, received just 0.4% of the vote.
Harry Browne, who had predicted 1 million votes based on polls last weekend, received less than 400,000--despite substantial growth of the Libertarian Party during the past four years.
Howard Phillips, who had 250,000 thousand votes in 1996, and who had predicted substantial gains, received just 100,000 in this election.
John Hagelin, who had received 110,000 votes in 1996, will end up with similar numbers in this race when absentee ballots are tallied--despite a significant increase in national support and exposure during the 2000 campaign. The lack of ballot access in the key states of Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Connecticut--resulting from legal battles with the Buchanan forces--impacted Hagelin's vote count.
"This is significantly below the 250,000 I had hoped for, but it's enough," said Hagelin. "It's enough to drive our legislative agenda in Congress for the next four years. And I am absolutely confident that, when all our Natural Law / Reform / Independence Party coalition candidates are included, we will see that millions of Americans cast votes for our Coalition candidates.
"We said, going into this election, that because of the dynamics of this close race, the vote totals would give little indication of the depth and breadth of support for our message among the American people. This message has gone deep, and our solutions have been co-opted. During the last weeks, Gore started to talk about racial profiling, about campaign finance reform. And even Ralph Nader started to say 'We must shift our disease care system towards a health care system.' People have been listening, and embracing our message.
"The real victors in the race are the American people, who will benefit from the ideas we have brought into the political debate," said Hagelin. "Our job didn't end on election day. We will continue to work to broaden our coalition, to bring crucial solutions to America's pressing problems, and to achieve unlimited possibilities for ourselves and for our nation. For all of our success, I sincerely thank everyone who worked so tirelessly over the past months and years. We have laid the foundation for far greater successes in the coming years."
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