How they keep power
It’s not often that voters can see the major parties working with media to undermine democracy, but occasionally it’s there, like the wake left after a hand passes through cigar smoke.
This presidential election shows that hand. We live in Nevada, right? We’ve had a massive increase in non-partisan voter registration, right? You know why? Because we don’t like our choices from the two main parties.
Up until Tuesday morning when we pointed out the omission, the Washoe County Registrar of Voters wasn’t listing presidential candidates on its website. That’s forgivable—mainly a technological oversight. But staffmembers didn’t even know who was running; one even provided the false information that it was just Obama and Romney.
For the record, there are four presidential candidates running in Nevada, and each has a vice presidential running mate. For the Independent American Party, it’s Virgil Goode and Jim Clymer; for the Libertarians, it’s Gary Johnson and James P. Gray; for the Democrats, it’s Barack Obama and Joe Biden; and for the Republicans, it’s Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. No Green Party candidates in Nevada, but there is, for now at least, the choice of None of these Candidates.
The major parties would prefer you don’t know that there are other options. Can’t have a spoiler like Ross Perot or Ralph Nader. The Republicans are even suing to take None of these Candidates off the ballot. But curious people know there are other options, so they go looking.
Well, currently the best internet site to figure out who’s on the ballot for president in the state of Nevada, locally anyway, is the Reno Gazette-Journal’s, www.rgj.com/candidates. And it sucks. Inconsistent information across races. Huge holes. Very little context. For example, when a candidate for U.S. Senate from the third-largest party in Nevada says, “The only defense spending you should focus on is arming yourself against the federal government and the police. The feds will disarm you so they can rob you, rape your family, and kill you in the end,” all you can do is wonder what rabbit hole you’ve fallen into.
The Reno Gazette-Journal lists only two candidates for president. No mention of vice presidents. No mention of third parties.
So, aside from the local-focused rag you hold in your hand, where are we independents going to go for information? How about the presidential debates? We could actually get a feel for these people who’ve been frozen out of the mainstream coverage.
At this moment, there are only two candidates for president listed for the three scheduled debates. Those debates are controlled by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which in turn is controlled by the two major parties (chaired by former Nevada Republican chair Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and former Bill Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry). The commission imposes burdensome rules on other candidates instead of just letting in any candidate who is on enough ballots to get an electoral vote majority.
And the major news organizations have rolled over for this, instead of pressuring the commission to open up the process. If the major news organizations were truly fair, truly unbiased, they’d champion the right of other candidates to be heard.
But that just wouldn’t do. That wouldn’t do because there is no better way to keep voters uninformed and blindly following direction than just not informing them.