Last time, we looked at the historical impact of third parties, but let’s take a look at those candidates and organizations running in next year’s presidential election. It will be both illuminating and entertaining, the exact combination of adjectives we need in this country right now, and is certainly an improvement over the current prevailing adjectives, those being smug, incompetent, and female.
Libertarian Party: This party will most likely have one of its more successful years, thanks in part to the candidacy of one Ron Paul, current representative from Texas. He ran as a libertarian candidate for president nearly twenty years ago, garnering nearly dozens of votes and showing up in the footnotes of the Wikipedia in perpetuity. He has received a surprising amount of support from Republicans disaffected by the current leadership, libertarians who actually want to be able to win at least one election that is greater than 4th Ward City Council of Nampa, Idaho, and Democrats somewhat concerned with the certain nomination in their party of anyone who will immediately dispatch a three-prong invasion of West Point, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and Bentonville, Arkansas. On the other hand, Paul’s success is only remarkable in contrast to other third party successes; he still barely registers above five percent in polls for Republicans, somewhere in popularity between Larry Craig and an atheist Iranian editor of the New York Times. His most notable achievement within the GOP so far has been to embarrass John McCain and enrage Rudy Giuliani, neither of which is all that particularly difficult.
Green Party: The Green Party has always had a love-hate relationship with…well, hell, with everything. They love seeing hundreds of thousands of people show up at a rally, but they hate seeing hundreds of thousands of people exist. They love the creation of hybrid cars, but they hate the fact that it requires the existence of an actual corporation that makes money to produce it. They love the increasing popularity of hormone-free beef and free-range chicken, but hate the fact that actual cows and chickens are being eaten. They love Ralph Nader’s anti-corporate tirades and public popularity, but they also hate him since he obviously conspired with Sandra Day O’Conner, Diebold, and the Florida Department of State to single-handedly elect George W. Bush. Anyway, the chance of them being satisfied with, well, hell, anything is fairly remote, though one can say the same about the voters.
Constitutional Party: A ragtag collection of anti-tax crusaders and real crusaders have somehow propped up the Constitution Party for a few decades now. They generally sympathize with the same sort of anti-government sentiments as the libertarians, only with the added benefit of not having everyone in the room faint in an enveloping sense of self-importance if someone mentions God in passing, and the conventions tend to smell a lot less like pot and sex. Unfortunately, the Constitutional party expends most of their energy every four years trying to nominate the Almighty, a daunting task given the strict ballot requirements in California.
Natural Law Party: OK, strictly speaking they’re not a player in 2008 and has effectively dissolved from existence in the United States, but I just absolutely love the concept of basing an entire political party on a touchy-feely abstract concept based on equal parts transcendental meditation, holding hands and chanting te deums, and encouraging a positive energy flow to solve all of the world’s problems. I mean, besides the Democratic Party.
Independents: Plenty of candidates, distasteful of the two major parties, find it otherwise self-aggrandizing enough to run under no party affiliation at all. This has the benefit of not requiring to be chained to an unpopular platform or associated with Bible-thumping rich white oil executives or lesbian tree-hugging social workers, but also has the drawback of only being able to raise funds equivalent to a maximum of six junior bacon cheeseburgers and change. Because of this, the independent run is highly popular with self-made men and celebrities, neither of which need to sell their soul to the teachers’ union or Amalgamated Steel, since they long ago sold their soul, depending on their source of notoriety, to get venture capital or a glamorous tit job.
The most realistic independent candidate is Michael Bloomberg, a financier who spent most of his life as a Democrat, ran as a Republican, then filed as an independent, just the kind of rampant indecision we look for in a leader. Currently the mayor of New York, he did an outstanding job of holding George Pataki’s coat while George Pataki held Rudolph Giuliani’s coat in the aftermath of 9/11. Bloomberg had the misfortune of picking up pretty much when Giuliani left off mere months after the attacks, though to be fair Giuliani did his best to stick around. He’s done his best to not do anything at all; for instance, his tenure is notable in the fact that he has successfully prevented the police force from shoving a broomstick up any immigrant’s anus.
History is riddled with perpetual candidates, but one of the most notable (and crankiest) is Michael Moriarty. Not only does he have that cool sinister-sounding last name, but also he has a wonderful and curious combination of policy stances that are sure to be ballot-box gold. For instance he is against abortion and embryonic stem-cell research…but also against Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Catholics. He’s a modestly accomplished jazz pianist, former boozehound, self-proclaimed political exile to Canada and subsequent honorary mayor of Winnipeg, and most famously played lawyer Ben Stone on the television. This last fact may be his Achilles’ Heel, of course. The chance of a Law & Order actor running for the presidency is fairly low.
Great article. A strong third party candidate is what this country needs. If Al Gore would run on the Green Party or Independent ticket, he would definitely have a shot.