Many people think that when they go to the polls on election day that they have a choice of who they can vote for. But do they? As it stands today, we have Republican and Democrats protecting their position of power in the political landscape by snuffing out the voice of third party candidates. This is the one thing in America that is truly a bi-partisan effort. For the most part both major parties work hard to keep any third party from rising to prominence and steal away votes that would cause them to lose an election.
The major parties pass laws that put huge burdens on any third party candidate that wants to get on the ballot. For instance, in Pennsylvania a third party candidate would have to collect 67,070 signatures to get on the ballot. Remember, that is just to earn the right to be on the ballot. There are similar laws in place all around this country. That’s why outside of billionaire Ross Perot and Jesse Ventura, we have not seen any third party candidate as a viable contender.
Now what do you think happens if a third party candidate happens to meet this unrealistic requirement for ballot access? Do you think that they are just added to the ballot? Not a chance. The powers that be will file lawsuits to try and disqualify as many signatures as it takes to effectively prevent the third party candidate from being added to the ballot. But it doesn’t end there. In a state like Connecticut where a candidate only needs about 7500 signatures to gain ballot access, they just see to it that you don’t get invited to the debates. That way the voting public never gets to even hear about the third party candidate. This has happened in the current election cycle to the Concerned Citizens Party candidate for Governor Joe Zdonczyk. In 2004 Michael Badnarik, Presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party and Green Party candidate David Cobb were arrested while trying to enter the St.Louis presidential debates between President Bush and Sen. Kerry. Although it was a news worthy event, it was virtually ignored by the media. After the arrest Badnarik was quoted as saying that the debates were a “massive campaign contribution to two of the candidates, illegal under the very campaign-finance laws those two candidates have passed and signed as senator and president.” Its hard to disagree.
Third parties don’t have the luxury of big money war chest’s to fund their campaign and local media rarely give third parties any mention because they don’t think that they have any chance of winning. They are right in one respect, If the media never does any reporting on them, they will never have a chance to win. People won’t vote for someone they have never heard of. Ironically the two major parties who have giant sums of money to fund their campaigns get all the free media coverage they can handle and usually some that they could do with out.
I’m sure you remember all the hoopla over Ralph Nader. To this day Democrats believe that he cost Al Gore the 2000 election. Neither the Democrats or Republicans want to give any third party candidate a chance to take away any votes from their candidate. They are going to fight tooth and nail to ensure that you never hear the voice of any third party candidate. The question is are you going to let them get away with doing just that?
The Democrats and Republicans want to be your only choice this election season. But I would like to encourage anyone who reads this article to consider voting for a third party candidate of your choice during this election cycle and the next. Do some investigating into third parties such as the Constitution Party, Libertarian Party or one closer to your political persuasion. We need some new voices with fresh ideas in politics today. Lets not help the two major parties keep us from hearing them.
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