Sunday, June 26, 2016

Serious interest in third parties is taking root

For the past few days, I have been thinking about what happened in Nevada and sort of debating someone on Twitter about the Sanders Campaign. I can see it in their words, this sort of smugness. "Look, he knew the rules going in." As if somehow, Clinton supporters are playing fair. But as this article by John Larits so carefully documents, they are not.

What happened in Nevada is that decisions were made without a quorum, without discussion and rules were adopted without a proper vote. They changed the rules without authority at the Nevada Democratic Convention to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning there. I got started thinking about this issue because of another article I read that seems to be making the rounds.

That article is a very personal account about how one delegate in Iowa shared her own story after reading about the 64 delegates who were de-certified at the Nevada Democratic Convention. That same woman was de-certified prior to entry for an Iowa Democratic Convention based on the fact that she's a registered Republican. She is a lifelong Democrat who, while signing in to the convention, finds that she's registered as a Republican. This issue was never brought up at any other party events she attended, but at the state convention, she's nailed? She is certain that someone has messed with her registration just prior to the convention in Iowa. And she's not the only one. I've read other stories like that from people in other states, too.

Contrast this with the GOP. We never heard any stories about people having to correct their registration records after being denied entry to their state convention. Where there were closed primaries, we heard zero, and I mean absolutely no stories of people finding out that they were registered as Democrat at the polling place. GOP voters simply did not have to vote by provisional ballots due to their registration status. Curiously, it hardly even dawns on Clinton supporters that although these conditions worked great to stymie the Sanders campaign, those same conditions can do wonders for GOP candidates for president and Congress.

This may be evidence of election fraud, but it's evidence of something far worse. It's evidence of a political party that has become disconnected from the base. Delegates are people who pay close attention to the motions of their party. They show up an important party functions and participate in votes on the direction of the party in the future. These are people who are loyal to the party, and yet they are being turned away for supporting Bernie Sanders. What happened in Nevada, and probably a few other states, is an attempt to manufacture consent for Clinton as the nominee.

From the national perspective, I see that both major parties are selecting awful candidates for the nominees, often over intense protests. Even if Trump didn't win the nomination, and there's still a chance he won't, the GOP is looking at someone like Cruz, Kasich or Rubio as the nominee. For the Democrats, we have a choice between Hillary Clinton, someone who is under active criminal investigation and Bernie Sanders, someone with no evidence of scandal. Yet the party bosses would dearly love for the rest of rest to get in line and vote for her.

But there is now clear evidence in the polls of a disconnect between the two dominant parties and the people. 43% of Americans identify as independent voters. In a recent Gallup poll, 26% of voters identified as GOP, while 30% identified as Democrat. That is a yawning disconnect between the majority of the people and the two major parties.

What we see happening in each major party is one act of desperation after another to cling to the power they have now. But now we see that Real Clear Politics is maintaining averages of 4-way polls between Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Jill Stein from the Green Party and Gary Johnson from the Libertarian Party. Johnson is averaging 7%. Stein is at 4.9%.

We could be seeing third party candidates rise to the national debates for president. According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, in order for a candidate to be considered eligible for that debate, he or she "must have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recently publicly-reported results at the time of the determination." Both Stein and Johnson have been rising rapidly in the polls. It is entirely probable that one or both of them will get on the stage for a debate with Trump and Clinton.

The first debate isn't going to happen until September, so there is time for a great deal of movement between now and then. The FBI could finally get their act together and refer Hillary Clinton for indictment for violations of the Espionage Act or even on corruption charges for her pay-to-play family foundation. Then Bernie could be the nominee. Bernie could run as an independent and walk away with a good chunk of votes that Hillary needs to beat Trump. Trump could be replaced by someone else at the GOP convention. Bernie could run on the Green Party ticket.

The point is, the two dominant parties are running out of gas. They have reached the last chance Texaco and they're losing the confidence of the voters, so much so, that third parties are gaining traction. This election season could very well spell the eventual demise of both the GOP and the Democratic Party as the power brokers in American politics. For many Americans, that might be how they spell relief.

The mood in social media is undeniable. The people know when they've been played. I've had enough interactions with Clinton supporters to see their smugness, and am only quietly outraged when I see it. How does anyone even justify a vote for someone who is under criminal investigation? How does someone justify a vote for Clinton out of fear for Donald Trump, a man who is starting to look more and more like controlled opposition?

The mainstream media is feeding us a reason every day to vote for Hillary because Trump is so dangerous. If Trump is so dangerous, could someone please explain to me why the wheels are falling off of his campaign? Does he even have a campaign?

Americans can see this for what it is. Bread and circuses. But through it all, I see Bernie still standing at the end. Even if he doesn't win, he got the ball rolling. Now its up to us to roll it over the Democrats and Republicans to remind them they still work for the rest of us. It doesn't matter to me how Bernie eventually runs. I will still vote for him however he appears on the ballot.
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