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July 19, 2004

Why Americans Don't Take Third Parties Seriously

By Byron LaMasters

This is who the Libertarian Party nominated for President this year:

The nomination process was over. LP delegates had chosen as their standard-bearer a man who had willfully refused to file his federal tax return for years, refused to get a driver's license but continued to drive his car despite having been ticketed so many times that he couldn't recall the exact number, proposed to blow up the United Nations building, wanted to force criminals in prisons to stay in bed until their muscles atrophied, and planned to force Congress to take a "special version" of his class on the Constitution. And the overwhelming majority of delegates didn't know any of this about their nominee.

Say what you want about Republicans or Democrats, but unless third parties nominate serious candidates (Nader and Michael Badnarik - 2004 LP nominee don't count), then no one will take them seriously.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at July 19, 2004 02:27 PM | TrackBack


Haven't you ever seen his show/appearances on Austin Cable Access TV (his current residence is in Buda)? It's chock-full of useful hints that will get your tax-evading ass thrown in prison for a spell.

Posted by: norbizness at July 19, 2004 02:38 PM

I read about Badnarik in another blog and chuckled at his actions.

The thing that I'm more concerned about is that 3rd party candidates don't get the scrutiny "real" parties get. Badnarik and Nader will not participate in a televised debate with Bush and Kerry so the world can truly judge their positions. The American media isn't questioning the issues, they're just content to mention these guys as quaint "also-rans".

Posted by: Mike in Austin at July 19, 2004 02:56 PM

Mike - Fine, but I only think that candidates with a serious chance of winning should be included in the debates. If not a serious chance of winning, at least a minimal threshhold (i.e. 15%) of viability. Otherwise, people like Nader and Badnarik waste the time of the American people interested in getting a serious look at the two people that could be their next president - Bush and Kerry.

Posted by: Byron L at July 19, 2004 03:05 PM

Byron - This year I agree with you (boy, do I agree with you). I'm not saying Nader and Badnarik should be in the debates, but I am saying I wish the so-called media in this country will recognize some of these parties for what they are. The media won't challenge them on the issues -- hell, they won't even report the issues unless one candidate advocates blowing something up. Then we can all shake our heads and laugh about those "crazy" third parties.

On the other hand, because of the "crazy" third parties, legitimate parties are seldom given any chance to succeed. It's for that reason that I don't think we'll ever get to the 15% threshhold (as some European countries have) with any party for a very long time. The 2 parties in power have written elections laws and constructed a framework to ensure that only 2 parties will be successful in American politics.

For the short term, let's hope that gets Bush out of office. For the long term, we'll be doomed to parties that are very close to each other on the political scale. Both parties are just right of center.

Posted by: Mike in Austin at July 19, 2004 08:29 PM

Except for the things about prisoners (which I consider a dumb idea) and the UN (be better to just withdraw entirely and leave it alone), I fail to see what in that paragraph makes Mr. Badnarik a non-serious candidate. He has set up a blog, he tireless campaigned around the nation to get nominated, and has a far more principled platform than his opponents.

Posted by: Charles Hueter at July 21, 2004 12:57 PM
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