Stateside: Convention watch
Stateside: Convention watch
In just four weeks’ time, the world’s media will be lining up in Denver, Colorado, to receive their press credentials to cover the Democratic national convention; a week later, ditto in St. Paul, Minnesota, for the Republican convention. But already, most of the minor parties have held their national conventions and selected their presidential candidates.
In Kansas City, Missouri, back in April, Florida pastor and radio host Chuck Baldwin was selected by Constitution Party delegates as their presidential candidate. There had been concern within the party—which goes by other names, such as the American Independent Party, in some states—that a selection had already been made at a behind-closed-doors meeting in Louisiana earlier in the month, and that the candidate would be Alan Keyes, who is also running to be the Republican nominee.
According to the party’s press release, “Baldwin received 383.8 votes to 125.7 garnered by Maryland’s Alan Keyes and a few given to minor candidates.” In an excellent interview by Missouri Viewpoints host Mike Ferguson just after his selection, Baldwin shows what it is that Republicans have to fear from a third party that appeals to the religious right, gun owners, and U.S. voters who feel that the decision to invade Iraq was a wrong one. The interview is posted on GodTube.
But wait! There’s more! After the Kansas City national convention, the California branch of the American Independent Party held two warring state conventions, and the CA Secretary of State had to step in and decide which candidate would appear on the California ballot in November. Lo! It will be Alan Keyes. This post at Ballot Access News, and its subsequent comments, gives the details. Also at Ballot Access News is the news that on August 8, a federal 9th Circuit court in Alaska will hear a case by the Alaskan Independence Party against that state that could have widespread implications. Essentially, the Alaskan Independence Party is arguing it has the right to exclude from its primary ballot anyone with hostile intentions toward the party.
(Ballot Access News is a must-RSS for anyone trying to understand why a nation founded on individual liberty, and which trumpets its championing of diversity and free speech, has ended up with a political system totally commandeered by two parties.)
Another thorn in the Republican Party’s side is the Libertarian Party, which held its national convention in Denver, Colorado, May 22-26. Just a few days earlier, former Republican Rep. Bob Barr announced that he would be seeking nomination as the Libertarian candidate, which sent a flurry of comments through the LP blogosphere.
As succinct as it gets, one commenter wrote: “Ron Paul: Republican who is a Libertarian. Bob Barr: Libertarian who is a Republican.” Another commenter wondered how anyone who repeatedly sought to pass legislation banning the practice of Wicca in the military could have the gall to seek the nomination of a party that decries any notion of government interference in people’s private business. Barr did not succeed in those legislative efforts back in 1999, but he did succeed in becoming the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate.
On Friday, July 25, Barr testified at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Bush Imperial Presidency” and a transcript of his remarks are on his campaign website.
Meanwhile, tickets for a Ron Paul supporters’ alternative event to the GOP convention went on sale this Friday and at time of writing (Sunday morning) more than half of the 15,000 available had been sold. The Rally for the Republic will be held in Minneapolis, the twin city of St. Paul, from August 31 to September 2. The mission statement of the rally is here and speaks of the launch of the Campaign for Liberty at the rally as “a clear call to the Republican Party to return to its roots of limited government, personal responsibility, and protection of our natural rights.”
“On July 12th, the Green Party nominated former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Hip-Hop activist and journalist Rosa Clemente as presidential and vice presidential contenders on the Green Party ballot line. By doing so the Green Party nominated the first all women-of-color slate to run a national ticket in U.S. history.” So reads the press release at the Green Party website.
McKinney, who served in the Georgia legislature alongside her father, then represented that state in the U.S. House of Representatives for six terms, often took a stance on issues that put her at odds with her Democratic colleagues in Congress. In 2007, she broke with the Democratic Party and is popular among the most liberal wing of that party. McKinney asserts that the Democratic Party has a “dysfunctional, one-sided relationship” with black voters. In areas that have a high percentage of Green voters—such as California’s 9th Congressional District, which includes Berkeley and Oakland—she is likely to do well in the presidential election. The transcript and CSPAN broadcast of her acceptance speech is available at http://www.runcynthiarun.org
Running as an independent candidate this year, Ralph Nader and his VP candidate Matt Gonzalez, are having to spend an inordinate amount of time (and money for legal challenges) to even get on the ballot in most states.
Nader’s appeal is very strong among voters dissatisfied with how the two major parties appear beholden not to the voters but to corporations.