None of the Above

There was no known origin of a political movement that was called one of the most important developments in the history of American democracy. It grew out of groups who were concerned about the future of democracy. They were Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who were turned off by the extremists in both political parties. Unfortunately the extremists were dominating the primaries. As a result, voters only had a choice between two extremes.

The None of the Above Campaign was a wakeup call for the country. Voters were encouraged to leave blank the parts of the ballot where they didn’t like either candidate. In two states, Senators were elected with less than 40% of the vote (32% and 27%). In five cases, House members were elected with less than 40% of the vote. And in the Presidential election, the eventual vote total for both candidates was only 62% of those voting. The winner had received only 36% of the votes cast. The actual winner of the election was none of the above with 38%.

Those elected with less than 40% of the votes had no mandate. In fact, they were humiliated whenever they were in public. The first question asked by the press was: “What does it feel like to be beaten by none of the above?”

Some of those beaten by none of the above worked to gain the public’s trust. There were the people who didn’t really believe in the extremist views they ran on. They worked to find responsible positions that would give the electorate a reason to vote for them.

Others found reason to lie about the election results and deny that the None of the Above Campaign had any impact. They continued to put forth extreme proposals, none of which were ever enacted. In subsequent primaries, they were still selected to represent their parties. But they were frequently unsuccessful in the general election.

As the extremist Senators and Representatives dwindled in number, Presidents who were more attuned to the middle were increasingly successful in getting their agenda passed.

The None of the Above Campaign gained in influence because they could concentrate their efforts in fewer states. There were only a few states where those with extreme positions had enough of a base to be successful.

While third-party candidates have rarely been successful in America in modern times, the None of the Above Campaign became a political force. It became known as the savior of American democracy.

Just imagine what it would take to start such a campaign? At some point the electorate will say enough is enough. Just imagine what the founders of our country would think about where we have come to? Just imagine what it will take for common sense action for the common citizen will again prevail?

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“I think the political process has degenerated into name calling and extremism, and I think that’s unfortunate.” – Bill Bradley (Rhodes Scholar, NBA star, and U.S. Senator)

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