26 September 2004

presidential debates = sham

due to the centralizing of political power in the two-party system, all dissenting voices are effectively silenced. the worst parts of the conspiracy? the deliberate bypassing of legitimate candidates in debates; and the exceedingly high hurdles placed on third party candidates to gain ballot access in some states. the part of me that likes to say "gubmint" just knows it's an obvious part of a grand conspiracy to limit power to the powerful. our nation is no longer ruled by the people (if it ever was), but rather an oligarchy of CEOs and politicians sharing at our trough.

it seems pretty simple to me that there is a perfectly legitimate means of selecting participants for the presidential debates: one that is fair to the last drop. i think we should demand that the "non-partisan" [bi-partisan] debate crew invite every candidate that is on enough ballots to win enough electoral votes, should that candidate win in each state, to secure the presidency. if Ralph Nader is on enough ballots, he obviously has enough popular support that his ideas aren't quackery (in an impartial sense). the Libertarian candidate is always on enough ballots, but he is never invited. i posit that the ideas expressed by third party candidates are on the fringe merely because people haven't heard their message. the media, acting as puppets, refuse even to mention third parties except as humorous, check-this-shit-out anecdotes.

the biggest thorn in my side, and the side of republicanism in general, is the deliberate shackling of third parties in ballot access. my home state of North Carolina requires a staggering number of signatures be accepted in order to gain access: equal to 2% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. that ends up costing third parties many thousands of dollars just to get names on the paper, money that would be better spent on campaign ads, etc.

so why do the Ds and Rs hamper ballot access? i'm sure it's as simple as controlling which messages are important to the public. it's also about making sure that no spoilers can get their own messages out, someone like Nader in 2000 or Perot in 1992. what we've seen is that other candidates speak to issues that are important to some subset of the voting public, drawing them away from the republicrats.

in fact, the only way for a third party to get a message heard is to have a wealthy/famous backer in a single person: the actual candidate (a la Nader or Perot). the McCain Feingold act saw to that by eliminating the possibility of a few wealthy contributors. better that the powerful stay in power.