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This year, more than ever, voters need a realistic third choice

By DOUG THOMPSON
A Capitol Hill Blue Commentary
May 7, 2012

If you take a close look at the two candidates who will be the only choices on the Presidential ballots in most states in November you will find more and more reasons to say: “Is this all there is?”

Sadly, in most cases, we get just two choices.  In a system controlled by two political parties, a third choice is all but impossible.

In some states, other choices may be possible:  A Libertarian candidate in some, another minor party in others.  Write-ins are either discouraged or difficult in an era of computerized voting machines.

In the vast majority of states, however, the choice will be incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Not much of a choice.  A good analysis by Associated Press reporter Donna Cass notes:

Will voters prefer the man waving with his left hand or his right?

Blame it on two cautious candidates with more traits in common than their disparate early biographies would suggest.

No Drama Obama is panned as professorial and aloof. Romney is deemed boring when he’s not being awkward.

Distrusted as too moderate within his own party, each is demonized as a radical by the other side. They don’t get specific about the tough stuff, like budget cuts or taxes, that would invite more precisely calibrated negative ads.

Which showcases the problem many voters face when they go into the voting booth in November.  While their philosophies may be different, there really isn’t much difference between the two men offered up as a choice to lead the nation for the next four years.

Here at Capitol Hill Blue, we don’t see much difference between the two political parties.  Both serve hidden agendas that have little to do with what they say in public.  Both pander entirely too much to the special interests that control those agendas.  Both offer pabulum as candidates.  Leadership is a lost art, honesty an archaic concept and individualism a missing ingredient.

A lot of dissatisfied voters out there are unhappy as well.  Some flock to the maverick candidacy of Ron Paul, who offers some salvation with a theme of less government and stricter adherence to the Constitution but while Paul continues to soldier on and captured majorities of delegates over the weekend in Maine and Nevada, it is mathematically impossible for the Libertarian Texas Congressman to capture the nomination.

The 2012 election probably highlights the need for a viable third party candidate for president more than at any other time in American history.  Third party candidates have come and gone over the years:  John Anderson, Ralph Nader, Ross Perot.  Each had small but loyal groups of hard-core supporters but none had the organization or enough widespread voter appeal to have a realistic chance at election.

Is there a need for a real third party movement in America?  Yes.  Can one succeed?  Not under the rules of the current system.  Some hoped the Tea Party would provide the core of a viable third party but that effort fizzled – torn apart by extremism and a lack of coherent leadership.

So what do we do?  Can we reform the system from inside, as Ron Paul has tried to do by running inside the GOP political system?  In today’s political reality, probably not.  The system is too controlled by special interests and establishment leaders.

Perhaps the answer lies in scrapping the present system and trying something else.

Sounds like a good idea but it also could be too simplistic to work in a complex political system where good ideas get lost in a bureaucratic maze.

The answer is out there…somewhere.  We just have to find it.

Copyright 2012 Capitol Hill Blue

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15 Responses to This year, more than ever, voters need a realistic third choice

  1. BrooklynChick

    May 7, 2012 at 7:13 am

    “”A lot of dissatisfied voters out there are unhappy as well. Some flock to the maverick candidacy of Ron Paul, who offers some salvation with a theme of less government and stricter adherence to the Constitution but while Paul continues to soldier on and captured majorities of delegates over the weekend in Maine and Nevada, it is mathematically impossible for the Libertarian Texas Congressman to capture the nomination.”””

    Care to share your math with the rest of us? Or are you just another lamestream media taliking head trying to pass yourself off as independant?

  2. Doug Thompson

    May 7, 2012 at 8:27 am

    The latest delegate count by the RNC and the Associated Press shows Romney with 847 delegates and Paul with 80. There are 962 delegates remaining to be chosen. Paul could win all 962 remaining delegates — which won’t happen — and he would still be short of the 1,144 delegates needed for the nomination.

    Romney needs to capture just 30 percent of the remaining delegates to win. He will be halfway there in the primaries over the next two weeks and — without really trying — will have the delegates he needs sometime in June.

    Sleight of hand and voodoo math doesn’t come into play here because the RNC controls the process and they have already served noticed that the strategy of “hijacking” delegates won’t work under their rules. Any realistic count shows the math is on Romney’s side.

    I wish it were otherwise. I don’t like Romney but the numbers go to him.

  3. woody188

    May 7, 2012 at 10:03 am

    We can track every financial transaction made via computer, but when it comes to counting votes, it’s common for hundreds of thousands of votes to be thrown out. Did your vote really count? Can they prove it? Does it even matter when the vote for either major party candidate results in the same anti-American globalist agenda?

  4. David

    May 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    There can be no viable third party candidate when ballot access laws greatly restrict third parties. While third parties have to collect signatures and waste time and money getting on the ballot…Democrats and Republicans don’t have to spend a dime, as they are on it automatically.

    If it is one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on, it is that only Democrats and Republicans should be running for office.

  5. Jon

    May 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I’d suggest there is one major difference between the two candidates, and that is that if Governor Romney wins, he’ll spend the next four years angling to get re-elected, and if President Obama wins, he’ll have four years to play absolute hardball without any regard for re-election.

    Is that significant? I don’t know…

    J.

    • Jim B.

      May 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      Jon!…Interesting perspective!…You might be on to something here…..If Obama wins a second round as President, he might be less wavering on certain issues that currently have some of his supporters frustrated.

    • griff

      May 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      And no doubt blaming his ineffectiveness on his predecesor, and begging for a second term in order to make things right.

      Sound familiar?

      Ultimately the blame lies squarely on the American People.

      If you voted Republican or Democrat in the last fifty years, stop complaining! Immediltely. You got what you asked for. You got what you voted for.

  6. Issodhos

    May 7, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    [quote] While their philosophies may be different, there really isn’t much difference between the two men offered up as a choice to lead the nation for the next four years.

    Here at Capitol Hill Blue, we don’t see much difference between the two political parties. Both serve hidden agendas that have little to do with what they say in public. Both pander entirely too much to the special interests that control those agendas. Both offer pabulum as candidates. Leadership is a lost art, honesty an archaic concept and individualism a missing ingredient. [/quote]
    Wow. If I was to go on about that stuff at Readers Rant I think I might get banned. Wait a minute! I did. And I was!:-))

    But, actually, I think Donna Cass’s claim that we should blame it on the two cautious candidates is quite simplistic, at best. No candidate that is not simply a replacement cog is going to easily get past the guardians of the established order. The system is just not rigged that way. We have two utterly corrupt parties (wings of a single party, for all practical purposes) whose function it is to use government to serve the interests of the state. In exchange the pols get to enjoy the trappings of power while tossing social bones to their base of special interest groups.

    As Nock observed, and I agree, state and government are not the say thing. Government is used to support those for whom the state is structured to benefit. In out history the state has been a monarchal, then, with the Revolution, a merchant state which has evolved into a corporate state (actually, to be more specific, a financial state). I think the financial state began its ascendancy in the late 19th to early 20th century and now reigns supreme as the state. Kind of a bummer, but it is what it is.

    I have come to think that as long as we have a party system in which “winner takes all” is the default, we are stuck with a system in which regardless of which worthless cog gets put into the White House by hoi polloi (us), the one winner will be those for whom the state is structured to benefit.

    As you point out, possibly a change that is not feasible from within and too destructive to do from without — unless times get really, really bad. As Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”.:-)
    Yours,
    Issodhos

    It may be that a constitutional amendment to establish

  7. Almandine

    May 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    A most measured analysis, Doug… I’m tempted to ask if the meds have kicked in. (All in fun.)

    As for any third “choice” effort, it is almost impossible to have anyone taken seriously when the pundits of every stripe take their charge to do mortal damage seriously. I’m certain the Roman media didn’t do the Christians as much damage as we see today.

    Regarding the “state” argument Issodhos, it seems that the govt has long been outrun by those who wield its power for themselves. They no longer need its support, just its inattention.

    Even the political parties are becoming aware that they have been had… have become impotent… the confluence of money with ruthless ideology and gamesmanship now the chosen modus operandi. Parties are mere pawns.

    The globalization of this phenomenon is sweeping “statism” into the dustbin of history, just as the rise of state power enucleated individuals from estimations of sociopolitical value.

    Thus, it’s no wonder that someone who preaches liberty and individual rights, in opposition to socialist and statist solutions, is regarded as an extremist. Ditto for groups of such individuals, who must be seriously deranged… don’t you know.

    Anyone with half a brain knows clearly that the same thing was said of the founders, who persevered anyway. And thank God they did.

    Can we save ourselves again?

  8. Jim B.

    May 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I was talking politics with a friend, and we touched on the issue of a third national party. She suggested that a viable one should name itself, the “Normal party”.

  9. Almandine

    May 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Actually, anyone with American values, i.e., anyone other than the Manchurian, will do.

  10. Pondering_It_All

    May 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    I strongly urge all Conservatives to write in Ron Paul. Let your voices be heard!

    After Obama wins, Romney will be a nobody. But Ron Paul with 25% of the vote will be more influential than ever. With any luck, he should be able to keep Republicans out of the White House for several more election cycles and then his son can take over that role when Ron retires.

  11. Issodhos

    May 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    I’m not sure what you mean, Almadine, and I don’t think you understand what I meant. I consider the state and the government to be two different entities. Bit much to discuss in a “letters to the editor” colume and there is no place else available, so I’ll leave it at that.
    Yours,
    Issodhos

    • Almandine

      May 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      Fine with me… I agree on the duopoly of it, I just meant that those who can bend govt function to their will have figured out how to go global with their scheme, far beyond manipulating the statist view. Ergo, neither the sovereign state nor the individual mean much anymore. Cheers.

  12. Issodhos

    May 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    The individual has never meant much to those for whom a state is designed — nor to those who would give false hommage to the concept of ‘rights’ and individualism while using the state’s monopoly of legitimized force to deny the individual the ability to exercise the rights inherent to the individual – but, I do agree that the “state” in modern countries has metastasized to a transnational level (quite some time ago, actually) and, in our case, no longer even pretends to serve our interests. bummer.:-)
    Yours,
    Issodhos