Viewpoint: Third-Party Candidates Aren’t the Only Alternative
Viewpoint: Rebecca Gorman
In June 2012, Pew Research Center conducted a study on voters. The results were that 38% of voters described themselves as independent, 32% described themselves as Democrat, and 24% described themselves as Republican. This was nationwide.
Of those who identified as Republican or Democrat, only a minority reported being very happy with their candidate. Only three quarters of each had any level of support for their candidate.
Pew Research reported only last week that a full third of Americans now consider themselves “lower class.”
The economy has improved in the last couple years. But statistics show that almost all of that gain has gone to the nations’ richest. Hardly any of it has gone to the poor, thereby widening the division between the rich and poor in our nation.
The secret that nobody with money and power wants us to know is that there is not significant electoral support behind either Romney or Obama. And I can’t wait another 4 years for change. Can you?
Today we have a lack of support behind the major party candidates, and a populace that is ready to mobilize (a la Occupy). Four years from now, will we be too demoralized, or too controlled, to take action? I wouldn’t want to risk it. The problem is that independent voters are too fractionalized between the different third party candidates for any of them to be elected.
I’ve been thinking about this — and there is a solution.
This year I noticed how the Fourth of July brings our country together. The uniting banner is “Freedom.” And the meaning of freedom that unites everyone, from Tea Partiers to Occupiers, is freedom from exploitation. So I posted on my Facebook wall, “Happy Refusal-To-Be-Exploited Day, everybody. Let’s show we mean it by not voting for a corporate-sponsored candidate next election day.” When I got a response from someone on the far right saying, “Who would that be?”, I realized that I had hit upon the voting issue that has the potential to unify the nation and get an independent candidate elected — as early as this election cycle.
The other principle that unites the people is “For the people, by the people.” Together with the refusal to be exploited, this puts together the candidate platform.
Here is how I see it working:
• We run a write-in candidate. Some states require that write-in candidates be registered a month before the election, which gives us more than a couple weeks to identify the right person. This is enough time in this Internet age of Facebook and the Arab Spring.
• There will be no fundraising or advertising for this candidate. The word can be spread by word of mouth (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc.). The candidate will not campaign — the people will campaign for the candidate. This way we will know, come election, that the candidate has enough electoral support on account of the support the people have expressed running up to the election.
• The candidate’s platform needs to be: limiting the power of the executive (to the point where it was in the first century of the nation). The candidate will commit to not advocating policy positions or using the veto, nor initiating “peacekeeping missions” or any other military actions without Congress first declaring war. In other words, the major decisions for our country will be made by Congress.
• Nobody need vote against this candidate based on policy positions (abortion, foreign policy, economic policy, etc). Therefore, both the left and right can vote for this candidate.
• Whether a person is liberal, conservative, libertarian, green, or something else entirely, we can agree that we will never agree 100% with a single candidate running the country. We can also agree that a group of Senators and Congresspeople representing the collective will of the people will be much more able to follow the will of the people, and anyway very likely to be less extreme in a direction that makes us uncomfortable.
• With no fundraising, the candidate will be indebted to the people for their vote, not to donors. There is precedent for this: George Washington was elected President against his will and without his running for the position.
All that is needed for this to happen is for the people to mobilize.
All that is needed for the people to mobilize, is for the people to realise this route is possible.
We have the internet — which gave us the Arab Spring. We have a system that gives us a peaceful revolution every 4 years. We have a population that overwhelmingly does not wholeheartedly support either candidate the parties have put forward. We have a population that is disgruntled and knows that something needs to be done to create a better life.
I believe that we can do something to turn the country around – not four years from now, not eight years from now, but this year.
About this week’s guest viewpoint contributor:
Rebecca Gorman studied Marketing at Santa Clara University and Philosophy and Theology at Oxford University. Currently working as a real estate agent, she is interested in the issues of sustainability, youth rights, and economic inequality.