The 2004 presidential election is now history. The Republican incumbent won re-election by carrying the popular vote (59.1 million vs. 55.5 million for the Democrat challenger) and winning the Electoral College by capturing 30 states worth 286 electoral votes. It was portrayed as a close race by the mainstream media, a scenario partially created by the media in order to stimulate viewer interest and create a wider audience.
One unfortunate byproduct of a close presidential race is that voters who would otherwise choose a third party candidate that more closely suits their political philosophy are often convinced by the mainstream media that it would be a wasted vote that could spoil the contest between the two major political parties.
Fortunately, this country still has a few people who have a mind of their own and aren't afraid to use it.
Votes cast for third party presidential candidates nationally were: Ralph Nader (Reform Party) -- 395,000 Michael Badnarik (Libertarian) -- 377,000 Michael Peroutka (Constitution -- 130,000 David Cobb (Green Party) -- 105,000
Votes cast for third party presidential candidates in the state of Arkansas were: Ralph Nader (Reform Party) -- 6,031 Michael Badnarik (Libertarian) -- 2,330 Michael Peroutka (Constitution) -- 2,108 David Cobb (Green Party) -- 1,486
Votes cast for third party candidates in Fulton, Izard and Sharp counties were: Ralph Nader (Reform Party) -- 138 Michael Badnarik (Libertarian Party) -- 34 Michael Peroutka (Constitution Party) -- 37 David Cobb (Green Party) -- 37
Ralph Nader, a controversial figure in the national spotlight, received some national media coverage but faired poorly. His support was only a shadow of what it was in the previous presidential election. Nationally, he received about 0.3 percent of the vote, not enough to even make a dent.
In spite of receiving almost no media coverage, Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian candidate, almost topped Nader. Badnarik received more votes than the Constitution Party and Green Party candidates combined.
The Libertarian Party, on ballots in 48 states in this election, is the nation's largest and most successful third party. Over 600 Libertarians currently hold local offices nationwide. Libertarians believe in fiscal conservatism (reducing the scope of government) and individual freedom (protecting society from government intrusion).
To all of those who voted for Bush, congratulations. Don't let it go to your head. This is not a mandate.
To all of those who voted for Kerry, get over it. When your ultra-liberal candidate is the owner of five multi-million dollar homes, professes to represent the middle-class and flip-flops on every issue, you deserve to lose.
To all of those who voted for a third party candidate, I salute you. It's better to stick with your convictions than follow the lemmings off the cliff.
To all of those who didn't vote, I feel your pain. You didn't want a leader but got one anyway.
On the positive side, we won't have to endure another national election until 2008 when those who want to be led can choose another leader and those who don't want to be led will have one chosen for them.