Illinois Green AJ Segneri has this piece up at Dissident Voice: “No Third Party?”
Towards the end of 2010, I listened to radio shows and TV shows where hosts have asked where is the next third party? When are we going to see another party go against the Republicans and Democrats? I do not understand these questions because there are many “third” parties in our nation. From the Green Party to the Constitution Party and from the Socialist Party to the Libertarian Party, plus everything in between. These organizations have been in existence; however, the major media outlets have failed to expose them. None of the media sources have brought the rank-and-file of these organizations into their respective studios to talk about the issues. Day in and day out, nothing but the same two major party voices are shown speaking in monopoly media about how to solve the issues at hand. Why not bring in someone on TV like Rich Whitney of the Green Party, who in 2006 received 10.7% of the general election vote in the Illinois Gubernatorial race? That was the first time a third party has done so well in Illinois for over 40 years.
The Daily Cape Cod, a blog site for those living in Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, wrote: “We need a third party. We already have a progressive party that is up and running, but something new is needed on the progressive side. We need a progressive party that will move forward at a pace both acceptable to conservatives and liberals.”
Hello, we do: it is called the Green Party. The Greens are liberal on the social issues, and conservative on the fiscal issues. For example, the Green Party wants to repeal No Child Left Behind, and want single-payer universal health care. On fiscal issues the Greens want to cut spending line-by-line in order to eliminate wasteful spending.
No, I am not going to just mention just the Greens. Another example is the Libertarians back in 2004. When George W. Bush was seeking re-election for the presidency their were rumors that the Libertarians could cost him his job. Don Devine, Vice-Chairman of the American Conservative Union and GOP insider, said: “I think [the Bush campaign] should be concerned. I don’t know how concerned… They need to work on it and I think they know they need to work on it.”
The Libertarian Party is an example that appeals to other conservative supporters. So why are third parties not prevailing like they should be?
Not only media, but several organizations in communities do not allow third parties to participate in events; such as candidate forums, endorsement interviews, debates, and the like.
On the federal campaign level many third party candidates get left out from the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debates. Most of the time third party candidates have their own debate, which is not televised. At the state level, many third party campaigns get left out of forums, endorsement interviews, and get left out from the press.
The common response to all of this would be: “A third party can never succeed in a election.” How we lose track of our American Political History. A respected lawyer, well known in his community, got elected to office at the state level. He was then approach by a third party which asked him to run for president. The man never thought about higher office, but after talking with his advisers and family he took up the challenge and began campaigning across the country. Wherever he went, the two major parties would just criticize him and the party he was with. After much campaigning in 1860, Abraham Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States as a Republican. Yes, the Republican Party was the third party during that time period when Whigs and the Democrats were the two major parties.
Another example is the Socialist Party from 1920-1940. The Socialist Party held a strong base in Milwaukee, WI. Frank Zeidler was the longest serving Socialist Mayor Milwaukee had. Thank to Mayor Zeidler he brought in mass transit, better sanitation for the city of Milwaukee, annexed the city of Milwaukee for tax purposes, to offer services, and much more.
There are many Greens and Libertarians that are elected into office. 130 Greens and 149 Libertarians
So for all of those out in the media who ask — Where is the next third party? — do some research and search the web for major third parties like the Green Party, Libertarian Party, and the Constitution Party. Plus look up the other parties that are out there trying to get heard. There are third parties out there, you just need to do more searching.
A.J. Segneri is a long-time activist. He is currently the Executive Director for the Foundation for a United Front based in Springfield, IL. A.J. can be reach at: AJ@buildingsolidarity.org.