Third-party candidates can be viable

By By Luke Hinz

By Luke Hinz

Fall Break is looming over our heads (I’m sure some of you already ditched out early, and I wish I was with you) and that means it’s time for me to throw a party.

But it seems that I’m not the only one wanting to start my own party. Last weekend, the Council for National Policy held a meeting in our city by the Great Salt Lake. With a name like that, you’d think this might be Bush’s next attempt to start a war with Iran, or perhaps, ban abortion. Unfortunately, you’re not too far off.

This group of extremely influential Christian conservatives, composed of such outspoken Evangelicals as James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, met to discuss the proposal of a third-party nominee to disrupt Rudy Giuliani’s bid for president on account of his pro-abortion stance.

The group of proselytizing prophets stated, “If the Republican Party nominates a pro-abortion candidate, we will consider running a third-party candidate.” They are cautiously using the word “consider” because even these conservatives realize that a third presidential nominee could potentially split the Republican Party down the middle and ultimately result in a Democrat in the White House.

If you’ve read any of my rants in the past weeks, you know that I would most likely welcome a fractured Republican base. It is sad that the Democrats would need such a traumatic event in the Republican Party to guarantee victory after more than four years of war, but that is the world we live in.

As much as the notion of a candidate based solely on an anti-abortion platform frightens me, I must also applaud these conservative’s initiative. They saw a candidate they didn’t like and they decided to start their own party to contend for their own views.

In our two-party system, the Republican and Democratic lines are in a constant flux as they attempt to devour any new issue which arises under their platform, like two stars tugging at every new planet that floats into their solar system. In the muck and mud that is no-man’s land between the two parties, many of the issues are swallowed whole and never seen again as the parties take up their positions every two years in Congress.

So, the Christian conservatives might be on to something. Canada, Germany and France operate under multi-party systems effectively. The larger number of parties specialize their platforms and cater toward their specific block of voters, resulting in a much more representative assembly of the public, which in effect is the point of democracy.

In America, voters are forced to place all their belief into two candidates and ultimately choose the lesser evil in their eyes. Of course, one can point to other presidential candidates, such as Ross Perot, but when has a third candidate ever put up a fight?

“The Simpsons” nailed it best. When it was revealed that the two candidates for president were none other than Kang and Kodos, two aliens bent on enslaving the world. One voter said, “Well, I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.” The aliens responded, “Go ahead. Throw your vote away.” The aliens won.

Unfortunately, the best example of a third-party candidate is Jesse Ventura, the former governor of Minnesota. He was way behind the other candidates in the polls and didn’t stand a chance. As my brother said, he was sick of watching the other candidates and voted for Ventura. In hindsight, my brother acknowledges that it may not have been the best decision.

Yet, it showed that other candidates can stand a chance if given a chance. Also, more parties can lead to unexpected coalitions to create larger voting blocks within the government. Instead of the bickering and bipartisanship that plagues Washington, representatives in a multi-party system are sometimes forced to create compromises, or nothing gets done. With more parties, the compromises are more inclusive of the entire public.

Simply two parties in a system act to polarize the public even further. Not that the Christian conservatives are not polarizing. Their tolerance, or intolerance, of other religions in the United States can drive me up a tree. Yet, they’re investing in an alternative, something that far too many Americans are too afraid to do. Instead, we listen to the fanatic on the left or the fanatic on the right, shrug, and think that is our only option.

It is high time for someone to stroll down the desolate political no-man’s land and invite everyone out from either side of the trenches for some coffee and maybe an honest discussion or two. I’m not sure the Council for National Party will do that, but it is starting its own party. Seeing as it’s Fall Break, so am I. I’m out.

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