George F. Will: Virginia's third-party choice: Poll says Americans would support third party candidates
William Buckley won only 13.4 percent of the 1965 mayoralty vote but he energized a growing constituency and legitimized the practice of voting outside the confines of traditional political choices. Five years later, the New York Conservative Party's U.S. Senate candidate — Buckley's brother Jim — was elected with 38.8 percent of the vote in a three-way race.
Third-party candidacies are said to be like wasps — they sting, then die. Still, Sarvis is enabling voters to register dissatisfaction with the prevailing political duopoly. Markets are information-generating mechanisms, and Virginia's political market is sending, through Sarvis, signals to the two durable parties.
"The saddest life," said the dyspeptic H.L. Mencken, "is that of a political aspirant under democracy. His failure is ignominious and his success is disgraceful." Sarvis will escape both fates.
George Will's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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