It is a quirk of American politics, kind of like the McDonald’s phenomenon. Few people admit to actually liking McDonald’s, but for some reason there is one on every other corner.
The political equivalent of that cognitive dissonance can be found when it comes to voting for independent or third-party candidates. Plenty of voters claim they are fed up with Democrats, or that Republicans give them hives, or that both parties are good for nothin’ and we need independent, centrist candidates — and they complain about the established parties right up until it’s time to fill out a ballot.
That can leave independent and third-party candidates out in the cold. No, we’re not talking about last week’s primary race for governor, which had 36 candidates, including ones who professed allegiance to the Fifth Republic Party and the StandUpAmerica Party and the Proprietarianist Party. We’re talking about serious candidates who try to stake out a position in the middle and then are ignored.
You know, like John Blom. The Clark County councilor was seeking reelection after serving admirably as a Republican. Following a falling out with the local party, which has leaped somewhere to the right of Barry Goldwater in recent years, he ran without stating a party preference this time around. The result: A Republican and a Democrat advanced in the top-two primary.
The same thing happened in 2018 to Marc Boldt, a perfectly reasonable man and former Republican who had been elected as county chair despite stating no party preference. That worked once, but when Boldt came up for reelection, voters in the primary opted for those with an R and a D next to their names.