Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Two-Party Monopoly

It's Election Day! While some have accused Democrats or Republicans of illegally manipulating the vote, a more troubling issue is the massive and unchecked power these two parties collectively wield in American politics. While the ruling parties primarily rely on the two-party psychology they have successfully engrained in the public mind, they have this year demonstrated a willingness even to violate election laws if necessary to supress political competition. An editorial by Radley Balko at Fox News illustrates this monopoly's power to control elections:

"Those of you voting in Louisiana or Connecticut this week won't have the option of voting for Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr for president. In both states, Barr's campaign insists it had more than enough signatures to put his name on the ballot. But in Louisiana, the courts determined that Barr's campaign missed the filing deadline. That was in part because state offices were closed the week of the deadline, due to Hurricane Gustav. No matter. A federal court determined it would be too expensive to reprint the state ballots to include Barr's name.

In Connecticut, state officials initially said the Barr campaign came up about 500 names short of the 7,500 signatures required to put Barr's name on the ballot. They later acknowledged that they had made an addition error. Barr was only 321 names shy of the minimum. The state then admitted that state officials had actually lost 119 pages of signatures—almost certainly enough to put Barr over the top. Nevertheless, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Barr would not be on the ballot, citing testimony from Connecticut officials that it would be "nearly impossible" to reprint the ballots to include him.

Meanwhile, in Texas, the tables were turned. Both the Republican and Democratic parties somehow missed that state's deadline to include Barack Obama and John McCain on the Texas ballot. Barr's campaign sued, noting the equal protection problems with allowing the two major parties to skirt campaign rules while holding third party candidates to the letter of the law. Barr was right — Obama and McCain should have been kept off the Texas ballot. But Barr's suit was dismissed by the Texas Supreme Court without comment. Apparently, the Democratic and Republican parties are, to borrow a now-tired phrase, "too big to fail." They're allowed to break the rules."

1 comment:

Philip said...

Clearly the most shocking issue of the day! *Gasp*