Surrogate Speakers and Third Party Candidates

This week, for political communication, we were required to read about surrogate speakers on the campaign trail and third party candidates. First, I would like to discuss surrogate speakers. Surrogate speakers are those that give speeches for a candidate when the candidate is not able to make it. They can speak on behalf of the candidate, or present controversial ideas that the candidate may be too afraid to endorse. They can even speak badly about the opposition, while leaving the candidate seeming presidential and professional and not one that downgrades the competition. This is a very useful tactic in speech making and campaigning to make the president more well known.

Also, another topic this week was third party candidates. Until I read  “Addressing the “Spoiler” Charge: Presidential Apologia for Third Party Candidates”, I considered voting for a third-party candidate as a “wasted vote”. I have said that to people in the past in reference to voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson. However, after reading this position piece, I am now aware of just how big of a catalyst for social change an independent can be.  They are able to address topics that major party candidates are afraid to address because of their touchiness, and bring those topics to life and into everyday conversation.

In 1948, Strom Thurmond defended his third party campaign by speaking about what his supporters and himself had done in the campaign process: “But even if we should fail to cause the election to be thrown into the House, we shall have accomplished our most important objective – to rebuild the Democratic Party, to prevent passage of the un-American force bills, and to restore the Southern states to a position of respect from every political party.”

A third party candidate has never won a presidential election to date, but their support grows every election. They are important as they bring out a side of the major party candidates that they may be reluctant to disclose at the beginning of their campaign.


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