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this is what [the illusion of] democracy looks like

October 16, 2012

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala were prevented from entering the grounds of tonight’s presidential debate and arrested for “obstructing traffic”:

Jill Stein, Cheri Honkala arrested, call tonight’s debate a “mockumentary”

The sad thing is, she (and candidates like her) could probably have a decent chance of winning if all the people claiming they like her and/or her platform actually supported her and her party financially and voted for her in November. Most of the people I know say they like her and wish she was ‘more electable’ or ‘had a chance,’ yet only a small handful are actively supporting her or planning on voting for her in November. I’m probably one of the few who will.

I understand the reasons why people are so reluctant to vote for her, especially the fact that her chances of winning are so slim. But that would obviously change if she had the support of all the people saying they like her, side with her, etc. It’s such a catch-22, and it drives me crazy, mainly because our outdated electoral system actively makes it so difficult for independents and third party candidates like Stein to compete with Democrats and Republicans, particularly in federal elections. And yet, if nobody is willing to help support these alternatives and make it easier for them to get on ballots, in debates, etc., how will they ever get a national platform?

The two dominate parties make this extremely difficult, and simply supporting these two parties in elections with votes and donations instead of independent and third party candidates like Stein only makes it that much harder for the latter to compete nationally. The way I see it, we’ll be stuck with a two-party system until we get off our collective asses, organize, and push for electoral changes while also supporting alternative parties/candidates. If we don’t support them now, they’ll never have a chance. Parties and candidates don’t just magically become nationally popular and electable, nor do they do so on their own. Their failure is in some respects our failure too.

As difficult as building a viable alternative to the status quo and changing election laws is, it’s not impossible. But it’ll only be possible when people like you and me put our time and effort into organizing it because it is such an uphill battle. I don’t see why this is so hard to understand. It’s not like electoral politics is a free market. The Democrats and the Republicans essentially have a monopoly, and they make it disproportionately difficult for independents and third parties to compete. To counter that, we need more citizen support, not less.


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