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February 7th, 2000

Speaking Out for Third Parties

I don’t care too much about politics, and when the Presidential campaigns start, I begin to realize why.

Not a single one of the two major parties’ candidates come anywhere close to standing for what I believe in, and I have a feeling that for most people in the United States, this is pretty true. Sure, I’ll agree with certain points of certain candidates of each party, but I disagree more than I agree with any of them. It seems clear to me that the United States should pretty much do away with the two-party system. It’s antequated and presents too extreme of a dichotomy to truly represent America.

I’m all about third parties. In 1996 I voted for Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin. I probably will in 2000 as well. You may have heard in passing of the Natural Law Party (though they continue to be America’s fastest-growing third party), even if it was just about their somewhat-odd stance on Transcendental Meditation as a cure for many societal ills. While I’m not exactly hot on using what some consider a cult movement as part of a political platform, I do wholeheartedly believe in what Dr. Hagelin’s done to help promote third party politics in America.

The fact that Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota on the Reform Party ticket wasn’t necessarily a big deal because it was Jesse Ventura: the former-pro-wrestler, but because a candidate was elected that wasn’t even considered a contender by his opponents or the media. I think that in the near future we’ll see that happen with the Presidency. But not yet.

I wouldn’t say the reason is that America’s not ready for a third party president (most polls I’ve seen indicate that the country, in general, is tired of bi-partisan politics), but rather I’d put the blame on the election process and media coverage. The two-party political system has made it apparent that they don’t want third parties to be a part of their elections. This is painfully clear when you look at some examples. And, hey, that makes sense, because in the end, most people running for the presidency are in it for themselves as much as they are for their country.

But the media should be the great equalizer. Unfortunately, most of the “Campaign 2000” web sites and news coverage are covering Gore, Bradley, Bush, and McCain, but I’d bet that you’d have to go to some obscure, never-watched channel like CSPAN-2 to find out that John Hagelin beat Pat Buchanan’s ass in recent Reform Party straw polls (Hagelin is trying to run for President on both the Natural Law and Reform Party tickets). Let’s get some of the top independents on TV debating with the Republicans and Democrats. I’d personally be amused at how much of a jackass Gore would look like against a nuclear physicist like John Hagelin.

So what’s my call to action for my few faithful Ping readers? How’s this:

  • Try the Select Smart quiz to see which candidate most closely fits your personal beliefs. I betcha’ that 9 times out of 10 it’s not a Democrat or a Republican.
  • Visit some third party web sites and read more about the candidates that are running. This page on Politics1 has a good overview of many political parties, including some on the way-outer-fringe.
  • Read A Reason to Vote, an enlightening look at the third-party system in America. Note that this book does have a pretty heavy Natural Law Party slant to it, but it should still be read by those interested in eliminating the two-party political dominance.
  • Lastly, let your vote speak for you on election day. As cheesy as it sounds, if you don’t vote, you might as well have voted for the winner since you didn’t make a statement against them. Let your vote be your voice.

Posted in Politics

FROM: Matt Wright
DATE: Monday February 7, 2000 -- 1:20:15AM
My candiate that best suits me came up to be Howard Phillips of the Constitution party. I wish that we could have a president that would support alot of the conservative values that I believe in and at the same time be pro-environment and be pro reforming the current criminal system that we have.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday February 7, 2000 -- 2:26:21PM
Matt -- you're a perfect example of what I meant in my article... you have conservative values, but chances are that the Republican candidates are too extreme for what you believe in.

I'd be interested in hearing what the SelectSmart quiz brought up for other readers. For me it was Ralph Nader (though John Hagelin was in the top 5).

... Ryan

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday August 6, 2000 -- 11:33:00PM
This made me happy, Paul. :)

I caught Nader on Free Speech TV today and liked what he had to say. As a consumer advocate and leader of the Green Party, he has a good, solid platform that is more broadbased than it was just four or eight years ago.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday August 7, 2000 -- 7:14:24AM
I'll bet it did, Ryan. What changed my opinion was catching Nader on Meet the Press yesterday morning. He really blew me away with what he had to say, and seeing how incredibly easy to understand his platform was helped, too.

Most importantly, he made me excited to vote. I haven't felt that in any election I've voted in (okay, only one due to age :) but he made me want to go out there and cast a vote.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday August 8, 2000 -- 4:56:21PM
There's a new candidate matcher you can use to find out who mose closely matches your political beliefs. It's worthless right now since it only has big name candidates -- after the primaries, though, they will supposedly have all the independent candidates, as well.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Tuesday August 8, 2000 -- 11:15:48PM
Apparently, I rate as a "moderate libertarian". I'm glad somebody had the guts to tell me!

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday August 24, 2000 -- 4:11:56PM
Ah... finally, a third party candidate we can ALL support. :)

FROM: Robert
DATE: Thursday August 24, 2000 -- 10:13:55PM
Ryan, I will volunteer for that campaign.

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