The media has offered extensive coverage to presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. Every day reveals something new about the two mavericks. However, to be fair and balanced, there are other presidential candidates. There may be virtually dozens running for President, but only ten worthy of honorable mention.
The first candidate is Ron Paul, who is still running as a Republican. He is an angry libertarian congressman from Texas. Paul’s politics tend to be retroactive, aiming to bring government back to the level of 1800. His supporters have lately made noise in Minnesota, planning a convention in sync with the upcoming Republican convention. What does Paul stand for? Paul believes in a gold-backed dollar; he wishes to abolish the Federal Reserve; he wants to get our troops out of Iraq now regardless of the consequences; he blames the federal government on the housing bubble and rising gas prices; he wants to abolish the IRS and all income taxes; he wants America to get out of NATO and the United Nations; and he is vehemently pro-life.
Next is left-of-center Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party presidential candidate. Her party is the quintessential party to combat global warming, climate change, and pollution of our air and water. She and her VP candidate, Rosa Clemente, were nominated July 12 in Chicago. Rosa is a community organizer and a Hip-Hop activist. McKinney, a former congresswoman from Georgia, is for nationalizing the Federal Reserve; nationalizing the oil companies; eschewing globalization, repealing NAFTA and CAFTA; the immediate withdrawal of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; ending the Bush tax cuts and the Patriot Act; and she seriously entertains offbeat conspiracy theories over 9-11 and the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.
Bob Barr is running on the Libertarian ticket. A former Georgia congressman, Barr testified July 25 before the House Judiciary Committee, which is holdings hearings on whether George Bush misused his executive powers. During his testimony, he emphasized the importance of limited government and individual liberty. Like most of the other alternative candidates, Barr wants US troops out of Iraq fast. He is for free trade and free markets; cutting taxes and shrinking government; lifting all barriers for oil drilling in the US; removing all overseas US military bases and installations; privatizing all entitlement programs; mandating governmental watch guarding of the Federal Reserve; and enforcing all gun rights.
Ralph Nader, America’s longtime consumer advocate, is running as an independent. Defending consumers since the 1960’s, Ralph was on a campaign three years ago to legalize the growing of industrial hemp. He is aiming to be on the ballots of 45 states by November. Ralph Nader seems quite a ways left from center. He wants to negotiate with Hamas for peace; slash the military budget; get our troops out of Iraq in 6 months; crack down on corporate excess; strengthen unions; incorporate the fair tax law, which is a complete overhaul of the tax system; legalize workers’ rights; put a two-state solution together for Israel; and legislate a single-payer health care plan.
The Constitution Party’s Chuck Baldwin adheres to the Bible and the U.S. Constitution. He is attempting in vain to seek the support of ultra-conservative Dr. James Dobson. Baldwin was nominated at his party’s convention last April in Kansas City. He recently spoke out against the United Nations at the 9th Annual Freedom 21 Conference in Dallas. Baldwin is pro-life; wants to secure our borders; will not allow gay marriage; leans towards isolationism; plans a quick exit for our troops out of Iraq; plans to drill for oil in the US; wants to build nuclear plants throughout America; does not believe in global warming; wishes to fight against globalism and the New World Order; and wants to abolish the Federal Reserve and return our dollar to the gold standard.
The farthest left of center may well be Brian Moore, running on the Socialist Party ticket. In a recent interview, he said America does not have the economic rights of Cuba and that the US borders on fascism. Moore has been out stumping and raising money since his nomination last October. Moore wants to replace capitalism with socialism, He would like a government styled along the lines of Cuba, except without the authoritarianism and militarism. Moore wants national health care, guaranteed family wage, elimination of nuclear plants, withdrawal of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the immediate halving of our military budget, the abolishment of all intelligence agencies, and the nationalization of much of America’s vital industries.
There are four candidates that I would almost describe as near-clones: Alan Keyes of the American Independent Party; Frank McEnulty of the New American Independent Party; Ted Weill of the Reform Party; and Diane Templin of the American Party. They are ultra-conservative, possibly farther right than even Ron Paul. They are Bible-thumping Constitutional originalists who wish to reverse our government back to 1776. The trouble with this political philosophy is that when the Constitution was written, America was a thinly-populated agrarian society where the citizens were former Brits and slavery was legal. All that has changed. Today, the US is heavily-populated, an industrial/technological society, and a melting pot where slavery is outlawed. Times change and our government, to avoid becoming obsolete, must change also.
Receiving bizarre mention, but not serious consideration, is Seth Tyrssen of the American Fascist Party. Tyrssen, a former actor, claims his party accepts followers of all races, nationalities, colors, and creeds. Much of his political agenda may be found in Adolph Hitler’s bestseller Mein Kampf.
There is a better strategy for voting this November. Assuming that you have an agenda, say getting out of Iraq or fixing global warming, vote for a candidate that has a good chance of getting in office. This narrows it down to John McCain or Barack Obama.
Then, start a grassroots movement of like-minded voters. Get politically motivated and involved, making speeches, phone calls, fund drives, whatever it takes. Lobby your representatives and contact them in person or by phone or by letter. Do not e-mail, as the message may become conveniently deleted.
This process works. Recall the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007? After news of it got out, conservative radio talk show hosts riled up their audiences. They instigated a massive phone call protest to their congressmen, and the calls blocked the DC Capital switchboard for days. The message was received, and the congressmen “got it.” The bill was dropped.
Grassroots movements can be effective. But voting for someone like Ralph Nader is likely to be a waste of vote and time.
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This story was published on August 4, 2008.