The people’s ability to influence power has been neutralized by corporate and special interest money. It has been neutralized by bureaucracies whose existence in government is more important than the damage they do to liberty and justice in society. And it has been neutralized by two parties that give Americans the illusion of choice; they each cite the other party’s most frightening and upsetting features repeatedly to induce citizens into perpetuating and reinforcing the worst aspects of the system.
An increasing number of people favor an alternative to the two parties. A recent Suffolk University poll conducted in cooperation with the USA Today found fifty-three percent of “unlikely voters said a “third party or multiple parties are necessary.” Only about a third of the “unlikely voters” found “the Democratic and Republican parties do a good job of representing Americans’ political views.” Twenty-three percent of unregistered Americans said they would choose a third party candidate. Eighteen percent of registered voters said they would vote for a third party candidate.
These numbers reflect growing discontent toward the two most prominent parties. More and more Americans are choosing not to vote, because they do not think the system represents them. The decision, as it demobilizes people, only strengthens the plutocrats or owners of America.
The Occupy movement that sprouted close to a year ago was symptomatic of a government that is increasingly regarded as illegitimate by its citizens. The movement did not appear simply because of economic inequality and injustice. It appeared because there is great political injustice perpetuated by a system, a winner-take-all political system that plays a significant role in the loss of equality, justice and liberty in the country.
Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney do not touch issues that are third rail and should be discussed. Typically off-limits in discussions are Wall Street fraud, widespread government surveillance, war crimes, state secrets privilege, indefinite detention, the PATRIOT Act, Guantanamo Bay prison, significantly reducing fossil fuel consumption, the military industrial-complex, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, “free” trade agreements, restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, breaking up too-big-to-fail banks, single-payer healthcare, capital punishment, the Israeli-Palestinian issue, empire-building, etc.
The news media aid and abet the two parties by ensuring taboo topics are not addressed in coverage of the election or debates. Lawrence O’Donnell, who is now the host of the MSNBC show, “The Last Word,” has said,”News media tries to suppress the third party vote and the fourth party vote and the fifth party vote. Media actively want you voting only for the two parties.”
The Dissenter is going to consciously violate this accepted rule. There are third party candidates running for president who deserve to be covered. They are boldly challenging a system that is more rigid and undemocratic than ever, as they take on prohibitive ballot access laws. They demand to be allowed into the presidential debates and travel the country speaking to the experiences and real issues in communities, which candidates of the two parties find to be too politically inexpedient to address.
Over the next few days, in the run-up to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, I’ll have interviews from two third-party presidential candidates. There will be additional content highlighting the need for a multi-party system and obstacles that stand in the way. What the two-party system means for civil liberties issues will be highlighted. ”Election madness,” as the late great people’s historian Howard Zinn put it, will get a full examination. I’ll start a conversation that should continue into the month of November and after as an alternative to the trivial, identity-based, mind-numbing and unsubstantial word pollution that so-called professional commentators or journalists feel they must peddle for popular consumption because we are in the throes of an election.
To begin, here is an interview with Justice Party presidential candidate Rocky Anderson. In the interview, the importance of having a candidate with a commitment to the rule of law is discussed, along with why prosecutions of people who commit financial or war crimes are necessary. The war on whistleblowing, including the prosecution of Pfc. Bradley Manning, is explored. We also get into some of the struggles one faces as a third party presidential candidate.