I think this year may be the first election year in ages that’s been moderately interesting. No, Gore and Bush haven’t grown personalities or anything drastic like that, but have you seen the mess at the Reform Party convention the last few days?
Basically, there are two people vying for the Reform Party nomination: ultra-right wing former-GOPer Pat Buchanan and Iowa physicist and Natural Law Party founder John Hagelin. Both want the nomination to not only give their campaign higher recognition, but to get the $12.6 million in matching campaign funds that the party has qualified for.
However, the two “factions” haven’t played well together thusfar. Hagelin accuses Buchanan of illegally submitting names to get himself on the ballot and Buchanan says Hagelin and crew are sour grapes because they weren’t doing as well in the polls as of late. What resulted was an actual split in the Reform Party just a day before the convention was due to start. So, yesterday, the first day of the convention, there were two conventions. One for Buchanan’s group and across the street for Hagelin’s group (or the “Perot supporters” or the “Anti-Buchananites,” depending on which paper you’re reading).
While this could certainly be a setback for the Reform Party to have all this internal bickering, it’s also a hell of a lot more interesting to see actual competition and issues being tackled during a convention rather than simply using the airtime for a Hollywood production used not for tackling issues, but for molding an image.
The thing is, I think the American people are finally starting to get in the mindset for a third party president (as I’ve discussed before) — Ralph Nader has ten times the support he did eight years ago; his message hasn’t changed, but the people of America have. Now just imagine that the 115 million eligible voters that don’t go to the polls on election day actually had someone to vote for that they could support. Imagine the power of those voters being able to elect someone that hasn’t been bought by a corporation or special interest group.
In any event, the Reform Party convention may look to be a mess on the outside, but I’d have to say that it’s had me watching C-SPAN more than I ever have before. -ram
Posted in Politics