It's still a little green, but it's getting riper!
 by James Higdon

I must say that I don't often peruse the "Opposing Views" link on  And I'm sorry I don't.  I will do so more often.  What caught my attention, and prompted me to write, was a response to one of my own columns, "Yes, I know; It's not easy being Green," from Eric Blomstrom in Chicago.  I refer specifically to the paragraph below:

"My real concern: Are we going to be having this argument every four years? There'll be pressure on the strong 3rd party candidates to drop out so the big boys (i.e., the Dem candidate) can duke it out? When will the Naders of the world be "allowed" to run? When it doesn't matter? You can argue that Nader cost Gore the election (though I would insist that all factors are listed, including the efforts of the Pubs to shut down the counting, and the outrageous ruling of the US SC), but I would then ask (in a very frustrated tone): how are we EVER going to break free of the two-party system?"

The essence of the question, as I understand Mr. Blomstrom, is when will a challenge by a third party be acceptable to the majority of those who identify themselves as liberals or progressives.  The answer is fairly simple.  Always!  Now!

I think that very few liberals are pleased with a two party system.  The fact is that our founding fathers hated the idea of any kind of a party system.  Among other things, that's one reason that they devised the electoral system that would incorporate both the winner and the looser in the same administration.  It is only because we have become so entrenched in a party system that we cannot imagine the looser of a national election serving as the VP in the administration of the winner.  Even though there would appear to be some kind of moral justice in having Al Gore around as a constant reminder of Bush's exploits in Florida.  It would be entertainment of it's highest form to know that Al Gore had that tie breaking vote in the senate.

What I think many liberals, if not most, have come to grips with is, a two party system is vastly superior to a one party system.  Despite the claims of Nader and Moore, a two party system is still what we have.  But that is in ever present danger of changing.  The Republicans have been trying for the last twenty-five years to eliminate the Democratic party, and the Democrats over the last twenty have become complacent enough to let them.

There is no time in our history where a political party has as much right to be angry about an election as the Democrats, after the election looser has stolen the election from the winner.  Loud protests should be coming from representatives (especially in the People's House, the House of Representatives) against this affront to every principle we hold regarding democracy.  And yet the Democrats in congress seem intent on ratifying the Florida electors, and exposing their soft underbellies to fascist extremes of the opposing party.  The Democrats who so vote (the last check in a near divinely inspired system of checks and balances) are ignoring their constitutional responsibilities in much the same way as the Fourth Estate's tossing away their ethics for corporate controlled dollars.

Tamara Baker pointed out in a recent column that in her conversations with the offices of Democratic senators there appears to be the opinion that if something (in this case the election fraud throughout the US) is not being reported by corporate media, it simply didn't happen.  These senators have lost focus on whom they represent.  They do not hold their jobs to ratify the assertions of the corporate media, but to listen to the voice of their constituency; the voice that gave 70% support to Bill Clinton while corporate media screamed that Monica Lewinski was an impeachable offense; the voice that said, "we want Al Gore to be president," in spite of constant character defamation against him by the corporate giants.  But how to remove these representatives who have lost focus without simply turning their seats over to Republicans?

The problem of introducing a non-politician (i.e., one who has never been elected to public office) as a 3rd party candidate in a national election for president, presents a lame horse at the start of the race and, even in victory, presents an impotent one when it come time to turn this horse out to stud.  Political capital is everything when running for the White House.  The current emperor-select could not have even obtained Nader status without the political capital created by his father's years in the oval office and in the CIA.  A political pauper becomes a political pawn to be used by one of the major parties to club the other; exactly as the Republicans used Ralf Nader against Al Gore.

My point is that 3rd party political capital must be created before any attempt at the White House.  With that said, our current batch of Democratic representatives to congress should realize that they are not the per se beneficiaries of our anger at the present situation.  The beneficiaries are all those who choose to fight for our democracy.  If any Democratic senator or representative chooses to dignify the naked emperor by acquiescing to every demand to turn back the clock to Reaganomics, 3rd party candidates will be found to defeat them in local elections.

It is far easier to promote and elect candidates while fighting against the local press, and it is far easier to earn political capital on the local level.  Grass roots movements are created by local politics.  And once enough congressional leaders have been elected through 3rd party candidacies, so that neither Republicans nor Democrats can obtain a majority without coalition support, political capital begins oozing from national pores.

For my part, and I state this clearly, that if my Democratic representatives in congress (Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) and Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (Ds-CA)) play any role in bowing to the political pressure of the corporate media at the expense of their constituency's political voice, I will use every resource at my disposal (money, talent, and time) to ensure that they are defeated by a responsible 3rd party candidate.

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