cannabisnews.com: COLUMN: Reform Party Isn't Only Third Option 





COLUMN: Reform Party Isn't Only Third Option 
Posted by FoM on February 26, 2000 at 10:13:02 PT
By Adam White, The Daily Iowan, U. Iowa
Source: U-WIRE
Two weeks ago, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura left the Reform Party, declaring it to be "dysfunctional." Unfortunately, Ventura missed the essential point: The "Reform" Party wasn't dysfunctional -- it was nonfunctional. But while the Reform Party appears to be winding down its half-decade-long effort to strip all meaning from its name -- reform -- there are a multitude of alternative parties that are trying their best to promote their pet issues. 
This week, the Libertarian Party: http://www.lp.org/ met in California to kick off its 2000 effort. The libertarians push for small government, fiscally and socially. They advocate a drastic reduction in government spending on entitlement programs, welfare and subsidies, but they also oppose government restrictions on speech, drug use and "alternative lifestyles." The libertarians have an active organization in Johnson County. The Green Party: http://www.greens.org/ founded by consumer-rights advocate Ralph Nader, stands at odds with the Libertarian Party on a number of issues but with equal enthusiasm. The Green Party Web site proudly displays its "10 Key Values," which include social justice, nonviolence, feminism, ecological wisdom and community-based economics. The party's Iowa City representative is a UI staffer, Holly Hart. The Natural Law Party: http://www.natural-law.org/ also provides an interesting alternative to the two major parties. It promotes prevention-orientated health-care practices, including the curbing of unhealthy habits such as smoking. The party takes a hands-off approach to same-sex marriage, and it proposes to reduce drug use by reducing the demand for drugs, as opposed to the traditional supply-side drug war the country has waged in the past. John Hagelin, its presidential candidate, served as director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, a policy think tank based in Fairfield, Iowa, where he now resides. These are not the only alternative parties -- the political landscape is dotted with dozens of them. While none of them pose a serious threat to the Democratic and Republican candidates for president, a vote for a third party is not a vote thrown away. Much to the contrary, every vote for a minor candidate is an encouragement for that party to continue advocating its stance on the issues. When these parties push for reform on an issue, it can force that issue into the mainstream spotlight -- hardly a "wasted" voice. The Reform Party could very well be dead -- but then again, it was never really alive. For those who don't feel comfortable with the Big Two, there are many "third parties" available, and they will welcome any supporter with open arms. (U-WIRE) IOWA CITY, Iowa Published: February 24, 2000(C) 2000 The Daily Iowan via U-WIRE  Copyright  1995-2000 Excite Inc.
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on February 26, 2000 at 11:04:45 PT
Thrown-away votes?
While none of them pose a serious threat to the Democratic and Republican candidates for president, a vote for a third party is not a vote thrown away. Much to the contrary, every vote for a minor candidate is an encouragement for that party to continue advocating its stance on the issues. When these parties push for reform on an issue, it can force that issue into the mainstream spotlight -- hardly a "wasted" voice. Mr. White makes precisely the same claim I was ranting about in an earlier post: the idea that those who oppose voting for third parties do so because they (unthinkingly bleat or croak) a standard line - fed to them by the dominant parties, of course - that they would be wasting their vote doing so. But it is reform-minded voters for the major parties that have been wasting *their* votes.My contention was that a third party generally takes a stance that the Duopoly has retreated from and is unable to change its' position without seeming... sheepish. That the third party is then able to bring calls for reform of long dysfunctional policies to the forefront, and by challenging them publicly, is able to inititiate the effort for those reforms. It matters little if the 3rd party does not survive long after that; the effort to change is usually taken up by one wing or another of the Duopoly - after if feels safe in doing so. But the Duopoly never takes the first step until it is shamed into remembering its' conscience by those 3rd parties. As reformers, we do have a choice. 
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