Damon Eris at Poli-Tea:
There are a variety of means by which the Democratic and Republican parties ensure the reproduction of their joint misrule despite the fact that dwindling numbers of Americans are willing to support them in their efforts. Double standards governing access to the ballot for Democrats and Republicans, on the one hand, and everyone else on the other, are aimed at limiting voter choice in local, state and federal elections. Petition challenges and ballot purges are a matter of course when those double standards are overcome. But third party and independent candidates who successfully navigate even that ordeal then face the challenge of breaking through the establishmentarian filters of the corporate media, polling organizations and debate organizers.
Absurdly, debate organizers will justify the exclusion of third party and independent candidates on the basis of the assertion that they have not demonstrated significant support in public opinion surveys. But polling organizations often exclude those candidates from their surveys on the basis of the claim that they are not covered in the mainstream media, while the mainstream media who ignore those candidates justify their exclusion by arguing that they have no support in the polls. Though some have achieved major successes in forcing inclusive debates this year, many third party and independent candidates for office are resorting to increasingly drastic measures in their fight to be included in forums and debates:
• In April an Independent candidate for governor of Vermont was arrested for disorderly conduct for disrupting a debate from which he had been excluded.
• In June, Libertarian candidate for US Senate in Florida, Alex Snitker, crashed an event from which he had been excluded by the Florida Press Association.
• Earlier this month, supporters of Arkansas Senate candidates John Gray of the Green Party and Independent Trevor Drown protested outside an event organized by a taxpayer funded organization which refused to allow them to participate.
• This week, the Socialist and Constitution Party candidates for US Senate in Ohio launched a petition drive to ensure that debates and forums will be open and inclusive.
• Finally, the Democratic and Libertarian candidates for US House in CA-52 recently ended a hunger strike aiming to pressure the incumbent Republican to agree to debate his rivals face to face.
It is not difficult to discern the reasons why Democrats and Republicans, with the help of their allies in the corporate media and polling organizations, would seek to avoid defending their positions in a public debate with their third party and independent rivals. It would be all too clear that there are superior alternatives to the reproduction of Democratic-Republican misrule.