Three Reasons that Drive a Person to Run for Office, No Reason to Stay Clean
Many people get into politics for the most obvious reason — good old-fashioned power. The latter can bring authoritarianism in the worst of scenarios, but at times power can bring the best in people.
According to 2008 presidential nominee Tom Stevens (Objectivist Party, Boston Tea Party, Personal Freedom Party, Libertarian Party), there are three (3) reasons that drive a descent person to run for office — aside from the competitive nature to win and over all shameless recognition.
- It looks impressive on that person's resume — personal or professional growth, borderline vanity.
- It is simple vanity — in other words, shameless grandiosity. Some people enjoy being in the spotlight and the center of attention regardless of the cost.
- It is the only way to make a difference in a given neighborhood, village, town, city, county, state or the whole of America.
Of course, there are many descent people who fall in the first two reasons and should be weeded out early in the competition. Either their pride gets in the way of sanity or they have money to throw away. They cam affect an election taking votes away from someone who can really make a difference in the primaries, nomination or the general election — commonly referred to as splitting the vote.
Fortunately, in the past few months, I've met several people who cam possibly make some changes if they were to run — therefore rescuing their communities from the political cesspool. They simply want to make their communities a better place to live, work, go to school or simply have fun (bars, restaurants, etc.). These people are most likely not corrupted (money in exchange for favors) by interest groups and/or other politicians. Needless to say, there's no way to tell if these individuals will get dirty once in office.
[Running for office] looks impressive on that person's resume — personal or professional growth, borderline vanity.
Political positions most new people are interested in
When starting a brand new career, most people feel more comfortable getting their feet wet with entry-level positions. Politics is not different at all. Most new politicians start in local offices like city council, state representative or other government administrative position — especially when running on a third-party.
If my unofficial proposal for term limits (no more than three) were ever to go in effect, an entry-level politician could easily spend no more than six (6) to twelve (12) years in a specific office in the best case scenario (if not voted out). Then he/she could move to a higher office or retire back to civilian life. Climbing the political ladder might be too much for some allowing new blood to enter the political system.
Of course, there are some who aim high from the very beginning like Larry Sharpe who ran for governor of New York in 2018 (2%) and former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson who ran for president in 2012 (1%) and 2016 (3% of the popular vote) — both on the Libertarian Party line — and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who ran for U.S. Congress on the DNC line in 2018 (57.13%) defeating the incumbent Joe Crowley (42.5%).
There's a high risk of losing all the money (investment) and easily owing the party, political action committee (PAC) and/or special donors (sugar daddies or political pimps) several thousands.
Not easy to run, easy debt for life
For a specific office, a person must receive the nomination (blessing) from the party, contest the decision of the party (quasi-blessing) or get enough signatures for the Board of Elections to add him/her (no blessing from the party). Some states need that person to be registered in the party they're running on. Most parties would subject that person to some sort of extreme vetting (questionnaires, interviews, etc.) to determine if he/she represents the values of the party and also demand that person be a card-holding member of the party — first cost of a campaign. The latter can be anywhere from $20 to several thousands a year depending on the political party and/or bribes, favors and/or other related payments.
The second cost is the actual campaign (advertisement, transportation, presentations, formal clothing, public relations, paid staff or stipends for volunteers, pizza, soda, lots of coffee, etc.). It quickly adds up — most likely not less than $10,000. A common person doesn't have that amount at hand. There's a high risk of losing all the money (investment) and easily owing the party, political action committee (PAC) and/or special donors (sugar daddies or political pimps) several thousands. If the individual were smart during the candidacy process, he/she could accept loans to be paid back only if he/she is elected (no win, no refunds, no payback and hence no debt) — in other words, signing contracts with the proper legal clauses. It's a great excuse to have a notary public or cheap lawyer on call all the time for each contact.
Of course, winning an election usually means a high return over investment (ROI) after costs and original personal investment. In a city like New York, a full-time position pays an average of $125,000 not including benefits.
Think of it like applying for a job where the candidate has to pay in order to be hired by the populace without any guarantee of ROI. Once the individual has the job, he/she needs to pay back all monetary loans. Then any income is plain profit and/or savings for the next election cycle. Although it sounds cynical, the reality is that to enter the exclusive club called government is expensive, not only difficult to get voted in.
... for example, party-hopper Bill Weld (GOP to LP, back to GOP, maybe DNC in a year or two after losing the GOP primaries in early 2020).
A good, honest politician in the deep, murderous muck of the swamp
Honesty and politics hardly ever go hand in hand. Most politicians are dirty. At the same time, a good and honest politician is a rare find, an uncommon specimen in the DC swamp, the state swamp or worse yet the local swamp.
I want to think that most of the people I've met so far in the Libertarian Party of New York (right-leaning chapter, LPNY) and other counties across the United States are descent and trustworthy people. Most seem to have the charisma and drive to make it in short-term and/or local politics.
In this group of individuals, I can put Larry Sharpe. From what I've seen and heard from him in various media and especially meeting him once, Sharpe seems to be an honest business and family man.
At the same time, I've briefly interacted with others who give me a bad vibe. I've always trusted this instinct and, as such, I can't trust them — for example, party-hopper Bill Weld (GOP to LP, back to GOP, maybe DNC in a year or two after losing the GOP primaries in early 2020).
Although I haven't met Bill Weld, he's always given me a strange vibe since I saw him as Gary Johnson's running mate in 2016. I can tell that he can't be trusted. Weld seems to be hiding something (maybe the truth) whenever he speaks. Surprisingly (at least, for me) some party officials who supported him during his VP nomination in 2016 also distrust him nowadays. They see him as a liar and a traitor for changing party affiliation in order to run against Donald Trump for the GOP nomination. Weld could have easily sought the LP nomination, which the party might have granted.
Winning an election usually means a high return over investment (ROI) after costs and original personal investment.
The rank voting model allows a voter to choose as many candidates at time for the same position. If this model were adopted locally and/or nationwide, third party candidates can benefit significantly giving their parties high enough numbers that they need to show up in the coming ballots — depending on local or state regulations.
For example, a person can vote for the libertarian nominee in position one (1), a republican nominee in position two (2) and an independent nominee in position three (3) — please, no votes for leftists America.
If the libertarian candidate is dropped from the top contenders in round one (1), his vote for the republican candidate will count for round two (2). This process is repeated till only two (2) opposing candidates remain for that given position — all or nothing.
The latter means that there as many rounds as politicians for each office minus one (`SUM(contenders)-1`).
For example, imagine that we had five (5) contenders for president.
- In round one (1) the person with the least number of votes would be eliminated leaving four (4).
- Then ballots for the remaining group are used and the procedure is repeated in round two (2) to eliminate a second container leaving three (3).
- Then using all applicable ballots from the previous cycles, round three (3) would eliminate another contestant leaving two (2).
- Once again using all applicable ballots, the last two (2) contestants will continue to the final round as the current election process. The one with the most votes in final round wins.
If we had had rank voting during the 2016 presidential election, Gary Johnson (LP) could have received much more that 3% — maybe 5% or even 10% — if his name would have been selected in position one (1). Donald Trump (R) would have still won having his name on position two (2). As such, Johnson wouldn't have split the conservative vote in 2016. Of course, the latter doesn't take into consideration the Electoral College whose job might remain unchanged.
Needless to say, this model is not fool-proof. There could be numerous errors (counting errors, voided ballots, etc.) or anyone could also interfere in the ranking process (stolen ballots, hidden ballots, altering ballots or cheating in any other way to cause fraud).
If the LP (or other right-leaning party) nominates a candidate who appeals to GOP voters, the LP could split the vote. In other words, voters could choose the LP candidate rather than the GOP candidate. Of course, this would be favorable to the DNC.
Splitting the vote
The two major parties don't want rank voting for two reasons.
- The first and most important is splitting the vote. For example, if the LP (or other right-leaning party) nominates a candidate who appeals to GOP voters, the LP could split the vote. In other words, voters could choose the LP candidate rather than the GOP candidate. Of course, this would be favorable to the DNC, but the same is true if the GPUS (or other left-leaning party) nominates a candidate who appeals to DNC voters.
- Both the GOP and the DNC have shown concern that a minor party could become a major player in politics. For example, the GOP has continuously boycotted the LP.
Money for fame, fame for votes, votes for ROI
None of the above is relevant if the candidate can't market him/herself. As explained at the beginning of this article, lots of money is needed in a campaign. Unfortunately money itself is never enough if the populace doesn't buy or doesn't know whatever you have for sale. You need to be famous — a healthy mix of public relations and run-of-the-mill charisma.
Making yourself likable or simply interesting to get popular vote is an art, which we need to learn early in politics — for example, Ocasio-Cortez. The question is how to do it. Some people can connect with and attract followers who will hopefully turn into voters while many can't. I've seen many (career) politicians who can't connect with potential voters. Strangely enough, some of these politicians are currently in office — fraud, people voting blindly according to party lines, low number of voters coming to the polls or merely dumb luck.
As I mentioned before in this article, money (investment) and fame return votes, which if elected return money (ROI) for the politicians and/or those financing the run. Hence politics continues to be a game where a bet can return immense amounts of money or leave the hopeful broke for life.