Third Party Candidates Get Short Shift: Multi-Party System Needed

Forget the 2012 election: The path to it is already littered with debris, as third party candidates get ignored

The problem with our two party system is that it concentrates political power into two narrow, easily manipulated, easily controlled channels. And it pushes very worthy challengers from less powerful parties out of the picture. This has dramatically happened now in two of our most recent elections. Twice in past few years we have had first rate third party candidates who had sterling records and excellent qualities pushed aside and ignored in the primaries.

Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, third party candidates
Ron Paul and Ralph Nader.

Ron Paul, U.S. Representative for Texas, is the latest victim of the sidelining so prevalent in our present so-called democratic system. A man who has proved by his actions that he means what he says and who takes the time to not only study but to research concerns that reach his desk. He is now out in the cold politically having sacrificed his chances in Congress for a shot at the Presidency. He is an honest and forthright individual who would have made a dedicated and trustworthy President. One can argue with some of his ideas, but the core of his character is true blue.

To show how politics are manipulated from back stage these days, it should be noted that in the 2008 Presidential election the Nevada state nomination convention shut down early to sap Paul’s influence there. Also, after losing the primary to McCain, Paul could not run as a third party candidate because he had to sign agreements not to run outside the Republican umbrella if he lost. Paul had to halt campaigning in certain primary states due to not being able to compete financially with his well-PACed competitors. When asked in interviews how the candidates spent their free time in the evenings most answered watching TV, relaxing with friends, going out to dinner. Ron Paul answered that he would be reading up on the Congressional records. He is definitely a man who works for his tax supported income.

Ralph Nader is another candidate who had an incredible track record of actually doing things for the American people and was propelled upwards in the political world not by schmoozing the populace but by actual achievements. He was actually pushed into politics by his supporters. In the 2000 elections he was clearly marginalized by the media and the other candidates. They would not even debate him, a sign of cowardice on their parts because Nader probably would have talked any of them under the table. Recognizing the power grab at play in our electoral system, he ran again in 2004 saying “There is too much power and wealth in too few hands”, a statement that has become even more true now in 2012.

The 2004 campaign got ugly when well heeled Republicans sent Nader donations in the hopes that he would leech votes from Kerry, a similar situation to that which some say cost Al Gore the Presidential election in 2000. Democrat Terry McAuliffe allegedly offered Nader money not to run in certain states, an accusation confirmed by Nader.

As a sign of his lack of his modest lifestyle it can be noted that Nader does not own a car or real estate, lives on $25,000 a year and gives large donations to the non-profits that he has started. He clearly has a different set of priorities in life than those of his voracious, affluence seeking contemporaries.

Interestingly, after losing the primary in 2008, Paul was interviewed by Nader on television and stated that the two party system was a charade and urged voters to vote for third party candidates as a form of protest.

It looks as though if we want this country to continue as a truly free land we need to come up with a multi party system or continue to de-evolve into a two party circus.

Roger Freed