The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing -- Edmund Burke

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The Liberal Assault on Our Federal Republic

Part V: “Easier Ballot/Media/Debate Access For Candidates”

Michael A. Wallace

mwallace@americasvoices.org      
biography
archives


September 10, 2001

Introduction

According to Pro-Democracy Campaign literature, this plank is described as follows.1

"In our two-party system, third or fourth parties face a host of institutional barriers, from getting on the ballot to being included in debates to broadcasting their views.  This discourages people from voting because alternative voices help enliven the political debate that is at the heart of any healthy democracy.  Prohibitive ballot access requirements should be altered, debates should be open to all ballot-qualified candidates, and all such candidates should receive free air time."

Let's address this plank section by section…

Introduction
Section 2
 Section 3



Part V: "Easier Ballot/Media/Debate Access For Candidates"

  "In our two-party system…"

The two-party system in the United States emerged from the earliest days of our Republic.  They were naturally emerged creations of opposing political philosophies where each shared, at their core, common concerns.  The two-party system has yielded relative stability in our political processes compared to other nations, despite the ravings of some liberals.  We should not allow their emotional reactions to recent events to endanger our Republic.

"…third or fourth parties…"

Third parties2 come into being because the major Democratic and Republican parties are perceived as ignoring their constituents' needs or concerns.  Third parties hope more to influence the platforms of the major parties than they hope to actually assume power themselves.  In the majority of cases they have been identified, rightly or wrongly, as single-issue parties or otherwise narrowly focused.

Third parties act as magnets for what some people derisively call the lunatic fringe, often undeserved simply because their narrow focus makes them appear out of touch with mainstream America.  Candidacies such as Pat Buchanan's or Ralph Nader's (and they are very mild examples from our history) have caused the defection of voices that the major parties would have otherwise had to contend with or accommodate in their own platforms.  In other words, "good riddance!"

In some instances third parties are weakened or die completely because parts of their agenda are eventually co-opted by one of the major parties.  It has also been the case where major sections of both the Republican and Democratic parties have been splintered because the major party temporarily strayed from its political base.  This has had the effect of delivering the presidency to the opposition, even though weakened and without claim to a clear mandate.  It is this ability that yields power and influence to third parties in indirect proportion to their numbers of supporters.  Third parties are useful creations because they are barometers offering a window to the public mood.

Third parties have manifested themselves throughout our history, and in presidential elections have certainly influenced outcomes.  Ross Perot's 1992 bid netted more than 19 million votes, essentially delivering the presidency to Bill Clinton because Perot pulled predominantly conservative votes from President George Bush.  In the 2000 election there were several presidential candidates; between them almost 4 million votes were garnered.  Remember however, in our Republic, the popular vote nationally does not matter; it is the popular vote within individual States that determines which candidate gets electoral votes.  Third party influence is such that they can swing electoral votes between the major parties within the States, if not to themselves.

What are most interesting are the approximate popular vote tallies represented by third party candidacies since 1972.3  The following table reveals a degree of popular discontent with a major party or both major parties, particularly since 1988.  This is a barometer that should influence major party behavior, but is not necessarily a reason to scrap our two-party system.

For each election year, signature reasons can be cited to explain defections (or lack of them) to third parties.  In 1980, for example, there was extreme dissatisfaction with the Carter presidency.  1984-1988 numbers can be accounted for with a conjecture that the majority of Americans accepted Ronald Reagan's prescription for economic recovery and defense of freedom. (His electoral counts for 1980 and 1984 were overwhelming.)  1992 was a watershed for third parties.  The large defection can be explained by extreme dissatisfaction with President Bush's about-face on taxes, combined with distrust of and disgust with Bill Clinton.  If 1996 and 2000 defections were increasing numbers, the major parties would be in extreme danger.  However, as they have before, in order to defend against third party incursions, they must eventually adjust their policies without losing the essence of their philosophy.

Introduction
Section 2
Section 3



Part V: "Easier Ballot/Media/Debate Access For Candidates"

 

 

 

 

1  The Institute for Policy Studies, Action Agenda for Electoral Reform.

2  I will use the term "third party" or "third parties", implying any number of additional parties.

3  All figures except 1996 and 2000 are from http://www.sddt.com/features/convention/elections.  1996 and 2000 are from http://www.presidentelect.org.


[http://www.americasvoices.org/archives/WallaceM/LiberalAssaultLinks.htm]

Copyright © Copyright © 2020, 2003, 2004 by Michael A. Wallace & America's Voices, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Michael A. Wallace is a registered Republican, a former Eagle Scout, a Lifetime Member of the National Rifle Association, a strong believer in Second Amendment rights, a retired Marine officer, and a pro-life advocate –- all things liberals seem to dislike.  In addition to his affiliation with America's Voices, Mike is a founding member of ConservaVets, a conservative veteran's organization (which has since become Rally4America).  Mike uses thorough constitutional and historical research to analyze and explain key moral and political issues of the day.  He particularly enjoys debunking the myths and lies perpetrated by the many liberal groups who claim to speak for most Americans and by those who misrepresent Constitutional principles to further their own agendas.  E-mail Mike at mwallace@americasvoices.org.

 [http://www.americasvoices.org/archives/WallaceM/WallaceLinks.htm]
 

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