On November 8th of last year Americans cast their vote in what may have been arguably called one of the most embarrassing, stomach turning, as well as seemingly endless Presidential election cycles in recent memory. We were told as voters to shut up and take our medicine. To pick one of two force fed candidates and then are ridiculed for suggesting a level playing field for allowing third party candidates. The argument intensified in the 2016 election is that third parties disrupt the electoral process.
Both parties are being sold out by corporate lobbyists to do the work of corporate America’s war economy, fossil fuel industry, and Wall Street. It is time for a shift from status quo politics to one of including a third party candidates that will provides a viable voting option, holding Democrats and Republicans accountable, and more importantly to represent an agent of change to reform the system itself. Dr. Cornell West correctly stated in a recent DemocracyNow.org interview that voters are given a “neo-fascist like Trump” or a “neoliberal disaster in Hilary Clinton.” In the interview Dr. West correctly assessed the country’s political and societal landscape saying: “it’s a sad thing to see, because the country is having a nervous breakdown." democracynow.org/…/why_a_member_of_the_democratic
Moreover, the debate goes that since third party candidates cannot conceivably win a Presidential election people are throwing away their vote in backing a third party candidate. This belief, or argument, has become stale and is undemocratic in the extreme. We have forgotten that this country has a history of presidential elections offering more than two candidates. Since the first election first in 1836 there have been a total of fourteen Presidential races with three or more candidates, the 2000 election with George W. Bush, Al Gore and Ralph Nader being the last.
Third party Presidential candidates are not a new phenomenon. In 1920 Eugene Debs ran against Warren Harding (R) and James M. Cox (D). Debs received 915,000 votes- while in prison. Debs was in prison for violation of the Espionage Act (Debs dared to question U.S. involvement in WWI. He was later pardoned by President Harding). In the 1996 Presidential election four candidates ran (Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Ralph Nader, and Ross Perot) with Clinton winning the election.
The Democrat’s argument in 2000, which they falsely continued to use in the 2016 election, contends Green Party candidate Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the election and gave us George W. Bush. Democratic partisans do this all the while ignoring the fact that 11% of registered Democrats voted for Bush and Gore couldn’t even carry his home state of Tennessee. In addition, the Supreme Court literally handed Bush the election (Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98) concerning the ballot recount in Florida.
We are at an apex of what the Democratic or Republican parties can do to repair or even reform a broken system. Donald Trump came out of the GOP primary carnage as the Republican candidate which has led many to speculate on how far his nomination and election has sent the party back. His appeal, that he is a political outsider, has garnered much support though he has attracted white nationalists and far right wing extremist.
Trump has also displayed an uncanny ability to make unhinged statements: apprehend and deport all illegals, as well as building a wall to separate the U.S. from Mexico. His views on Muslims are just as repulsive calling for a ban on people entering the U.S. from Muslim majority countries. His views on race are filled with dog whistles such “law and order policing” and “stop and frisk.” He has no coherent foreign policy due to his constant flip flopping on his statements.
Voters were left with an “anti-Trump” Democratic candidate in former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Though being hailed as the first female Presidential nominee her war mongering, militarism, and support of tyrants and regime are change self-evident. Furthermore her support of the Iraq war, the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, and a failed policy in Syria provide even more examples of her failed and reckless strategies in the Middle East.
Clinton’s uncritical support of Israel’s brutal and murderous apartheid state and illegal occupation of Palestine is part of her role and the U.S. role in the destruction and destabilization in the Middle East. The issues were glazed over Democratic loyalists and the establishment media.
In addition the myth of the default support of the black vote for Clinton has been raised by Ohio University Law Professor and activist Michelle Alexander in her scathing indictment of Hilary Clinton, hillary-clinton-does-not-deserve-black-peoples-votes/ and the wrecked policies of her husband, that she supported.
The question now is not whether third party candidates are spoilers or “they never have a chance of ever winning” argument. Jill Stein of the Green Party was an example of a viable alternative to the narrow selection offered to voters. Though it is said being an outsider in D.C. politics and circles is a detriment it appears being a Presidential insider hasn’t been very advantageous over the last few decades either.
Stein’s views on cutting back on military spending and a huge reduction in military presence in the Middle East in particular are exactly what are needed. The country’s economy is being hollowed out to pay for unending wars we cannot win. Her focus on climate control is equally, actually more, important since the children of today may not have a planet to inhabit tomorrow. It is not only the fault of the ruling parties that people like Stein are essentially shut out of the political process. The establishment media bears a lot of responsibility since it also shuts out or gives meager coverage.
This year’s election had over 80 percent of voters saying they were disgusted with the political state of America. us/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-poll. Bernie Sanders proved widespread support could be gathered by a candidate with a platform that differed from a more well-known Hilary Clinton. That should send a spark to establish viable third party candidates because any change within the current two party systems is not going to happen. If anything else is true, we witnessed this country have 40 percent of its registered voters politics/popular-vote-turnout-2016/ sit out a historic election. The question now is, what are we waiting for?
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