Category Archives: Independents and third parties

A husband first, and then a candidate

Frank Gilbert
Frank Gilbert
By Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Frank Gilbert looked kind of sheepish last Friday when I asked for his new phone number and instead he gave me his old one. I told him that when I had tried to call that one earlier, the recording had said it had been disconnected.

“The truth is, I let it lapse for a few days,” he said to the best of my recollection. “Teresa always took care of the bills.”

Frank is the jovial Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate and the former mayor of Tull. Teresa, until Aug. 15, was his wife of 45 years.

The two were not exactly the classic political power couple. She registered to vote only once – in the 1990s in order to vote for him – and then de-registered after she was called for jury duty. As a Libertarian, Frank believes in as little government as possible. Teresa was socially conservative and not afraid of government enforcing traditional behavior. She called politics Frank’s “expensive hobby.”

One way to vote your conscience

Hand with ballot and boxBy Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

You know how you’re always told that if you vote for a third party, you’re taking a vote from the major party candidate you’d otherwise support? Sam Husseini, a D.C.-based writer and activist, has a simple solution for that conundrum, “Vote Pact,” but it’s going to require a civil conversation with someone with whom you disagree politically.

The idea, basically, is to swap votes. Say you lean Republican but don’t want to vote for Donald Trump. You’re considering voting for the Libertarian, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, or independent candidate Evan McMullin, but you’re afraid not voting for Trump helps Hillary Clinton. Using the Vote Pact strategy, you team up with someone who feels pressured to vote for Clinton but would rather vote for the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein. Then you can both vote your conscience. Instead of voting for someone you don’t support, your Vote Pact took a vote from someone you completely oppose.

One of us for president?

Elections aheadBy Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

What would happen if the president were an average person, not a member of the country’s political and wealthy elite? Matthew O’Connor would like to give Americans a chance to find out.

The Ohioan is trying to mount an independent presidential campaign and wrote me recently looking for someone in Arkansas to collect signatures. Prospective presidential candidates in this state must collect only 1,000, which is pretty doable, but the deadline is August 1.

What led a father of three with no real political experience, no support and no name recognition to run for president? His big issues are corruption, the national debt, and the failure of the country to produce the right kind of candidate. His website is

It’s OK to vote for someone else

Hand with ballot and boxBy Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Voters complain each presidential election about their choices, but that’s especially true this year. According to Real Clear Politics’ compilation of polls, Hillary Clinton is viewed unfavorably by 55.5 percent of voters and favorably by only 39.7 percent, while Donald Trump’s numbers are worse: 61.1 percent to 33.4 percent unfavorable to favorable.

These are historic numbers, and they could get worse. When candidates’ negatives are so hopelessly high, they respond by trying to drive up their opponents’ unfavorables and, if necessary, win by becoming the lesser of two evils. Both campaigns will unleash a torrent of negative ads. Both have plenty to work with.

If you’re like many Arkansas voters, you may have said you’ll just write in somebody else’s name. Unfortunately, there is no provision in the law for you to do that in the presidential race.