Evan McMullin Gratuitously Denied Ballot Access in Florida, Because That's What the Duopoly Does

Gary Johnson is hardly the only third-party candidate to get democracy'd good and hard


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As we have seen today, there are three main ways that third parties and their supporters get swatted around by the Republican-Democrat system: 1) Through attempted social shaming that they are preventing the worst candidate from losing; 2) through the excessive caution and social-tribe muscle memory of people who otherwise totally agree with the candidates in question; and 3) through blunt, we're-not-even-masking-it force applied by the Democrats and Republicans who write their own rules of competition. That's what happened to Gary Johnson (and Jill Stein) today with the presidential debates, and it's what happened this month to #NeverTrump candidate Evan McMullin with ballot access in Florida.

Politico has a good new accounting of the complicated scandal. Basically, McMullin was nominated by the Independent Party of Florida, but the Sunshine State's Division of Elections ruled that the party was ineligible because it is not one of 13 "national parties" officially recognized by the Federal Election Commission for purposes of enforcing campaign finance rules. Alert readers at this point may note that campaign finance is not ballot access, and that the federal government is not the state of Florida. Now, what if I told you that the Divisions of Elections reports to Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who runs a pro-Donald Trump SuperPAC?

This power move is all the more blatant given that Florida as recently as 2011 issued a ruling saying that minor parties should qualify for the state ballot if they simply get their paperwork straight, regardless of what the feds thought. "So Florida and other states were very respectful of Americans Elects and went out of their way to ease ballot access," Ballot Access News super-specialist Richard Winger told Politico Florida. "Now that the parties are suffering in Florida and are less powerful, the state feels it can change the rule with impunity."

More outrage:

"I do not think in any way that this reflects a compelling state interest that justifies exclusion from the ballot," said David Schoen, a New York-based attorney who has worked to help get ballot access for minor party candidates ballot access. […]

"At the last minute, they [the state] change, creating havoc and really hurting folks who spent a lot of time and effort pursuing ballot access," Schoen said. "Very unfair." […]

"The good ol' boy network is alive and well it seems," said Jonathan Hansen, a Nevada attorney whose practice area includes ballot access. "The 'major' parties will do anything to retain power by limiting access to minor parties."

Regardless of what you think of Evan McMullin, this kind of power-abuse is just gross. And it's the status quo. Republicans and Democrats kick third-party candidates in the face for the same reason dogs lick their nether-bits: because they can. Getting onto state ballots as a third-party candidate in this context is downright heroic, which is one of many reasons why the criteria for at least the initial presidential debate should be jumping through enough of the duopoly's hoops to at least be a mathematical possibility in getting 270 Electoral College votes.

Debate Commission Board Member Mitch Daniels is right: "This is awfully important," particularly for those still clinging to the old structures. At some point, power-leaking duopolies who definitionally hate their customers wake up to see what happens when the little people finally control their own destinies. It rarely ends well.

NEXT: Mexico Needs Independence From the Cronies Who Hold Its Economy Back

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  1. Now, what if I told you that the Divisions of Elections reports to Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who runs a pro-Donald Trump SuperPAC?

    Uh, why do you think anyone cares at all which party has the governor's mansion in any given state? Every four years it becomes handy. Duh-doy.

    1. Yes, that's why parties want to get their guys elected to key positions. It has been known to happen in the past and will continue until the Cherubim and Seraphim descend to earth and start running the place.

      By the way, how many more kooks do we need on the "debate" stage, anyway?

      1. By the way, how many more kooks do we need on the "debate" stage, anyway?
        1 more.

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  2. I thought Floridians voted to liberalize ballot access in 1998 - giving 3rd parties equal status with Dems and Reps.

    This was actually blamed for the election results of 2000 (not true but a useful claim for some).

    What's up with that?

  3. Evan McMullin Gratuitously Denied Ballot Access in Florida, Because That's What the Duopoly Does

    Why did Evan Mcmullin deny ballot access, and how did he get that power?

    1. Evan McMullin, "Gratuitously Denied Ballot Access?" In Florida because that. What the Duopoly? Does!!

      /Lionel Hutz

  4. Trump told us the system was rigged. Now we know how he knew!

  5. "You don't need that many parties!"

  6. Don't know what they are complaining about. There was a process here that was followed. That makes it legitimate.

  7. Every time I see that losers name I pronounce it to myself Evan McMuffin.

    1. Does everybody do that and not make the joke cuz its too obvious? He's kinda asking for it.

  8. So, Is like the back story on why the debates are no longer ran by the League of Mysterious Gentlemen Women Voters.

    1. I'd, not Is. Stoopit phone

    2. Now it's an overnight thread, DJ's here.

      1. *Does little bow, does NOT fall over because still mostly sober

    3. From Wikipedia:

      In 1987, the LWV withdrew from debate sponsorship, in protest of the major party candidates attempting to dictate nearly every aspect of how the debates were conducted. On October 2, 1988, the LWV's 14 trustees voted unanimously to pull out of the debates, and on October 3 they issued a press release:[13]

      "The League of Women Voters is withdrawing sponsorship of the presidential debates...because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates' organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public."

      1. So, they withdrew in protest to the fraud so that the fraud could be perpetrated more easily.

        1. Yes, but their name is not associated with the fraud. I do wish they were still something the debates: at least they would push back.

  9. OT: Disclaimers, unfortunately, are necessary. I DO NOT support Trump. His Machiavellian tactics are a thing to behold, however. People hate the press and by reducing them to whimpering, "That's not fair!" is something I enjoy immensely.

    1. I liked "Muffbomber" better.

      1. *Dons goggles*

    2. Don't support TRUMP all you like. Just be a good ex-pat and haul your ass down to the consulate and vote for him absentee. You don't have to tell a soul, or just lie and say you voted for the L.P. nominee.

      1. I haven't voted in 20 plus years. This is not the election where I'm gonna start.

        1. I haven't voted in a presidential, general election in 16 years (Harry Browne in 2000). I'm just encouraging other people to vote for Trump (who I did vote for in Georgia's presidential preference primary).

  10. Matt,

    Full stop, ok? We don't care about whether a politician who advocates for peace, an end to the drug war, and abortion on demands gets on the debate stage. This election is all about the colossal battle between HRC and Trump. It's time to take sides and the clear libertarian option is {guffaw}, excuse me, Donald Trump.

    1. Shut up, baby; I know it.

    2. This thread is about the colossal struggle you seem to have with logic or sense.

    3. Hi AMSOC. =) I'm an anarchist, and I'm voting for Hillary, just like you. She is the candidate that will burn down the rule of law, and the economy faster than Trump will.
      It will be so much easier under her rule to burn your house down, and watch you, and your family starve in the streets.
      Have a nice weekend. =)

      1. I'm not an anarchist nor will I be voting for HRC. The difference between you and me and 80% of the other garden variety right-wingers on this message board is that you and me won't be voting for Donald Trump. Have you read the "ABCs of Communist Anarchism?" I recommend it to all budding anarchists.

        1. So, you do understand that socialism and anarchy are polar opposites of each other, right? God, you're such a dumbass.

          1. They are? Someone should have informed George Orwell, who caught for an anarchist militia in the Spanish Civil War and later became a staunch socialist in the British Labor party. Someone also should have told Rosa Luxemburgh, who used the terms socialist, libertarian and Marxist interchangeably.

            Libertarianism didn't begin with the first page of Atlas Shrugged. Sorry.

            1. It actually started around page 583.

  11. So dope-addled Sunshine State Millennials who can actually find their polling place won't be voting for NATHAN JOHNSON by mistake. This seems like a win for GayJay and the L.P.

  12. "It rarely ends well."
    Usually a bloody revolution, where the people typically get tromped by dictators who promise them all the gold they can eat.

  13. You guys are still whining about the 15% standard for the debates? Jesus Christ people.

    Free market solution: start your own debate organization that has whatever standards you want for inclusion. Invite Gary Johnson. Invite Jill Stein. Invite the Constitution Party. Invite the dead gorilla. Find somebody willing to broadcast it and an audience willing to watch it, and wala, the CPD's standards would be irrelevant because the market has spoken.

    You know, how the free market you supposedly support for everything else?

    But here we see you complaining that you can't force the major party candidates to debate your guy and can't force the networks to broadcast it. How libertarian!

    1. "wala" is spelled voila, because French.

      1. "Wala" is like a millenial idiot signal.

    2. Sadly, Reason hasn't been a champion of free markets for some time now.

    3. Yep. I've clicked on all the debate articles because I enjoy the horse-race aspect of it. But I would definitely agree that the lawsuit against the CPD was unlibertarian, and continuing to harp on how mean the parties are for protecting their own interests is silly.

      You know who's really to blame? The people who wouldn't dream of tuning into a debate unless it was hosted by one of three channels or was missing a major candidate. That is to say, basically everyone.

  14. The hilarious part of course is that the ballot access system is far more arbitrary and rigged than opinion polls, but Reason still wants to use it as the basis of inclusion in the debates. Because it helps their guy.

    Is this not the definition of partisanship?

    1. The hilarious part of course is that the ballot access system is far more arbitrary and rigged than opinion polls,

      citation needed, or, in the vernacular: WTF are you talking about?

      Is this not the definition of partisanship?

      Yes. Republicans support the Republican candidate, Democrats support the Democratic candidate, and Libertarians (OMG!) support the Libertarian candidate.

      1. Ah, my mistake, you were talking about candidates gaining access to the ballot; i withdraw my criticism. Buzz must be getting here 🙂

      2. Supporting your party is one thing, making dishonest and self-contradictory arguments in favor of your party is another.

        And of course, Reason is a tax-exempt nonprofit just like the CPD, so their complaining about the CPD favoring their favorite parties is a little on the ironic side.

        1. Ah. Ok. Valid critique on their hypocrisy.

      3. Yes they all do. It is just Libertarians pretend that everyone but them are partisans.

    2. Sorry dude, I can't take anything you say seriously, because you said "wala." Unless, of course, you are an Aborigine . At least then the Playboy centerfold would talk to you.

      1. Your Playboy link is N/A for me. BTW, has an Aborigine ever appeared nekid in Playboy?

        1. It was a link to a Too Much Joy song. Don't know about Playboy, but try this.

          1. I don't think I'm going to click that. Just have a feeling...

            1. Ok, so of course I clicked it. I was wrong, that is very beautiful. It's not even pornographic, it's just very pretty.

              1. I like the archer chick with the full bush.This kind of beauty is what Eddie should use to argue for God.

          2. Can I have that on my coffee table.

      2. So what you're saying is that you don't have an argument against what I said, so you hide behind a semantic nitpick to protect your beliefs.

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  19. So if Hillary continues to tank in the polls, at some point I think reason is going to have to check Suderman and Dalmia into some kind of inpatient facility so they can't harm themselves.

  20. What is uniquely reprehensible about Trump's views o immigration? I get it that you don't agree and that is fine. But at this point you seem to have no argument why that is true. You are not convinced anyone Matt, if that is even the point for you anymore.

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