Monday, August 29, 2005Fusion voting is the use of 3rd parties to endorse major-party nominees, the idea being to force the big guys to "stick to their guns" in favor of liberal causes. Scott Shields at MyDD has suggested that they have had a positive influence on New York politics, and that it might behoove us to implement this system elsewhere.
My opinion is that fusion voting is a bad idea whose time has come and gone. While theoretically they might serve a purpose, in practice they have had a baneful effect on New York politics. They have been the tail wagging the political dog, with factions of the liberal coalition holding the major candidates hostage. The principal result has been to fracture the organizational structure of the Democratic party, which is our biggest problem as it is. Each group can claim "hey, if you don't pick our candidate & our issue, we'll put him on the ballot anyway." While this may not be much of a threat in a region as politically lopsided as NYC, it could be disastrous in more competitive regions.
Besides, minor third parties are obsolete. It's not like the major parties select their nominees in smoke-filled rooms. The reality is that these groups get a chance to fight it out in political primaries. So general election 3rd party ballots are really just a case of sore losers.
So, to repeat (yet again) - third parties are BAD.