Break the monopoly

ON NOV. 7, AL GORE OR GEORGE W. BUSH WILL BE elected president. Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan and Harry Brown (along with a host of other alternative candidates) will not be elected president. These are facts that we can all be certain of. Why then, you might ask, would anyone vote for a third-party candidate?

Many polls have shown that a majority of Americans are unhappy with the state of politics and want serious reforms put in place. Many would like to have third-party candidates included in debates and to have more choices in the voting booth. Do any of us really believe the Democrats and Republicans are going to make those changes—the kind of changes that would weaken their power?

Large numbers of voters want this kind of change, but few are willing to cast their votes for it. They either give up and don’t vote at all, or they go ahead and vote for the big-money candidate they hate the least.

People are fed up with the two-party monopoly, but it won’t change until we have the guts to vote for something else.

When you vote for Democratic or Republican candidates, it tells those parties that you are in full support of not only their platform and candidate, but their stranglehold over the American political system. Your vote tells them you don’t mind their lies, propaganda, deceptive advertising and sound-bite speeches. It is a vote of approval for corporate-sponsored campaigns and exclusionary debates wholly lacking in substantive content.

Voting for a third-party candidate, on the other hand, tells the major parties that you won’t support this broken two-party system any longer. A Bush or Gore vote only strengthens the two major parties and empowers their big-money contributors. However, voting for a third-party candidate, especially Nader (Green), Buchanan (Reform) or Brown (Libertarian), helps to build for the future. It will strengthen the position and viability of the alternative parties, making it possible to win major elections eight, 12 or 16 years from now. It is a statement made in the hopes that when our children can vote, they’ll have more and better choices.

If we continue to vote out of fear, those fears will dominate us. Change like this will take years, so it requires serious commitment and faith—it’s a lot harder to vote for a certain loser over of a 50-50 shot. But it’s worth it. Voting third-party is a vote for the future of the democratic system.