Why vote third party?

Nov 042002
Authors: Suzanne Gillespie

The Collegian merits applause for including third parties in its coverage of tomorrow’s election. However, some of the coverage is rife with misconceptions that mislead voters and perpetuate the monopolistic domination of the corrupt two-party system in the United States.

CSU Political Science Professor Robert Lawrence said, “American voters are traditionally oriented to the major parties.” But this “traditional orientation” stems from a deliberate and systematic effort to keep American voters in the dark about their political options. Mainstream media, such as newspapers and television news, regularly exclude coverage of third party issues and candidates. Third party candidates are rarely allowed to participate in debates regardless of their qualifications. This censorship results in the suppression of third parties by denying them a public voice.

But public awareness of the third party option is growing exponentially. Third parties offer a viable alternative for those who are tired of choosing between “the lesser of two evils.” And as public interest grows, so do third parties. While the number of voters registered as Democrat or Republican has reached a plateau in the last two years, registration with both Green and Libertarian Parties has almost doubled. This election season, third parties have received more media coverage and have been included in more debates than ever before.

Another misconception is the concept of “stealing votes.” This type of accusation is another form of suppression employed by those in power in an effort to stay in power. Votes for both Libertarian and Green Parties come, in fact, from registrants of both major parties as well as from independent voters. And if major-party politicians are unable to gain the confidence of voters, it is not because of a third party it is because of their failure to represent the people they serve.

Votes cast for third parties make a strong political statement. Even when third parties don’t win, they force major parties to reform their practices to act on behalf of their constituencies. In the late 1800’s, the Prohibition and Socialist Parties were crucial in the realization of women’s right to vote. And the efforts of third parties for worker’s rights led to the prohibition of child labor in 1904 and the establishment of the 40-hour workweek in 1938.

By refusing to allow the participation of third parties in our government, the current establishment is denying you a voice. This is not democracy. We have a constitutional right to make our voices heard by choosing the candidate we feel best represents us as citizens, not the candidate we are least afraid of.

For more information on third parties, check out:

www.thirdpartyadvocate.org, www.greenpartyus.org, www.lp.org,

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