Major Parties Playing the Same Tune

A recent campaign event was held at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. It featured the two Democratic and Republican candidates for president. However, those in charge of the event barred (no pun intended) Libertarian candidate Bob Barr from participation. Here’s the explanation by U.S. District Court Judge David Carter:

“Plaintiffs will lose out on a fair amount of exposure and the opportunity to express their views in a popular forum. On the other hand, halting this event would deny the other candidates the opportunity to be heard and would deprive the public of an opportunity to see the candidates and hear their views.

“Forcing Saddleback to include another candidate at the last moment could cause serious logistical problems and take away from the presentations of other candidate. This might well disrupt the planned presentation.”

How bureaucratic an answer. Russell Verney, campaign manager for Bob Barr’s campaign, noted that this expulsion of third parties is nothing new:

I’ve been through this before with the Perot campaign. In 1992, my candidate was included in all three presidential debates. In 1996, the opposite occurred.

What was the difference between the two runs?

After our success in ‘92, the powers that be decided that it would never happen again.

Since Ross Perot’s inclusion in the debates, no third-party or independent candidate has even come close to taking a place behind the debate podium.

And for the past 16 years, the two-major parties have been on a wildly-successful streak of keeping out competition by holding the debate stage all to themselves.

In Canada, a country with a population about one tenth that of the United States, there are four different parties with federal representation. Aside from one or two independents, the United States has only two parties with federal representation.

We need a change. We need political candidates and parties that better represent a population as ideologically diverse as ours.

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