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No, You Don’t Have To Vote for Trump or Biden. Here Are a Few Third-Party Candidates and How They’ve Been Censored

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 03/11/2020 - 6:54am in

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News, Green Party

With just hours to go before polls open and with 92 million Americans already having cast their vote, this year’s election will decide who will assume the office of the most powerful person in the world: Joe Biden or Donald Trump. Yet individuals’ votes do not have to come down to that. The United States is an outlier among Western nations in the dominance of its two-party system, something barely plausible in many democracies. Unbeknownst to many, however, there are a number of other candidates on the presidential ballot offering a distinctly different future for America than the established duopoly.

The two-party system is clearly failing Americans, with both candidates for the United States’ top job largely disliked by the public. The latest survey from the Pew Research Center finds that Biden only has a 46% favorability rating, with Trump trailing at 42%. This is, in fact, an improvement from 2016, which pitted the two least popular major candidates of all time against each other in a historic race which left Americans far from enthusiastic about their electoral process. Only one-third of Democrat voters claim they are voting for Biden, with two-thirds telling pollsters that they feel compelled to vote against Trump. Meanwhile, around a quarter of Republicans are doing the same, voting not for Trump, but against Biden and his agenda.

And while Trump and Biden spend fortunes attacking each other in the media, it is often difficult to establish meaningful differences between their platforms on a number of issues. Today, the president again accused the 77-year-old Delaware native of supporting a ban on fracking, something Biden has vehemently and repeatedly denied, despite pressure from his base to do so. A number of polls have shown that the public clearly supports a complete ban on the practice. Likewise, on foreign policy, healthcare, and defense, the two parties display many more similarities than differences. Luckily, there are other options.

 

The Green Party

The Green Party is hoping to build on winning 1.5 million votes in 2016. Their presidential ticket consists of Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker as his running mate. A self-described democratic socialist, Hawkins worked in clean energy and has been organizing against war and environmental destruction for almost 50 years. The Green platform calls for the move to a “socialist economy,” including the public ownership of big banks and other large industries such as transport, energy, and manufacturing, a great expansion of worker cooperatives, and democratic economic planning.

On foreign policy, Hawkins is running on the promise to cut the military budget by 75% and use the savings to fund a worldwide shift to renewable energy, unilateral disarmament and to never use nuclear weapons aggressively. The Greens also call for a democratization of the media system, including antitrust regulations to break up powerful monopolies.

 

The Libertarian Party

Founded in 1971, the Libertarian Party achieved by far their greatest vote total in the 2016 presidential election, where former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson received 4.5 million votes nationwide. This year, Jo Jorgensen, a former IBM representative, and a software business owner is hoping to go further.

Jorgensen’s platform opposes COVID-19 lockdowns and calls for cuts to public spending and allowing businesses, big and small, to operate with even more freedom. “As president, I will work tirelessly to slash federal spending, make government much, much smaller, and eliminate the federal income tax, so you can keep what you earn,” she promises on her campaign’s website.

She also proposes a huge shift towards nuclear power, while opposing Medicare-For-All, preferring free-market solutions to the healthcare crisis. “Government anti-poverty programs don’t work,” she states.

 

Party for Socialism and Liberation

A lifelong activist based in San Francisco, Gloria La Riva is the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s presidential candidate in 2020. La Riva is calling for a complete rethink of how society is structured, arguing that all essentials for human survival, including food, water, housing, education, healthcare, and jobs should be considered guaranteed human rights for all rather than distributed on a for-profit basis.

“For the Earth to live, capitalism must be replaced with a socialist system,” she claims, noting that incessant growth and overproduction is threatening the future of the planet. La Riva is also advocating closing all foreign U.S. military bases, taking over giant Wall Street banks, and jailing those responsible for the financial crisis.

There are also a number of other candidates on the ballot in many states, including Rocky De La Fuente of the Alliance Party, Don Blankenship of the Constitution Party, Brian Carrol of the American Solidarity Party, Jade Simmons from Becoming One Nation, and independent Brock Pierce. Rapper Kanye West’s name will also appear on ballots in 12 states.

 

Establishment hostility

However, simply appearing on the ballot has proven to be an extremely difficult hurdle for many, with only Jorgensen’s Libertarian Party even able to qualify in all 50 states. Much of the attack on third parties is being led by Democrats, who wish to keep them off the ballot to stop any spoiler effect they could have.

Earlier this year, Green Party vice-president Walker was alleged to have filled out a change of address form slightly incorrectly for her South Carolina residence. As a result, Democrats used this to lead a campaign to remove her name from ballot papers in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Third parties have also been undermined by a lack of media publicity, their actions barely reported on. As such, they have been forced to rely on social media for outreach. However, that has not been plain sailing. Hawkins was even (temporarily) kicked off Twitter for alleged impersonation. “How do I impersonate myself? Twitter’s explanation for its censorship makes no sense,” he responded.

 

Pros and cons of third-party voting

Of course, barring an act of God or a disaster, either Trump or Biden will become the next president, meaning that the principal choice is between these two men. Does it, therefore, follow that voting third party is a wasted vote?

Certainly, there are differences between the two main candidates, particularly on climate change, that could have profound effects on both the United States and the world going forward. While Trump charges forward, claiming that global warming is a Chinese “hoax,” Biden at least acknowledges there is an existential problem that must be met, and has been forced into adopting a more radical platform on the issue. This alone, for many, is enough to pick Biden.

“A vote for the Green Party is a vote for fascism,” claim some Democrats, arguing that by picking a third party, they are enabling Trump.

However, the reality of the democratic system is that most people’s presidential votes count for very little. Politico calculated that the election will be decided by voters in just eight battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Because of the electoral college system, most Americans live in states where the outcome has been largely predetermined.

Others see the choice as a philosophical one, preferring to vote for something they want and lose than for something they don’t want and win. “The two-party system only provides an illusion of choice. The Democratic Party and Republican Party are two variations of a single, war-driven, Wall Street-funded political party,” wrote MintPress’ Mnar Muhawesh in 2016, endorsing Jill Stein of the Green Party for president. Stein herself also noted that constantly picking the lesser of two evils gets you nowhere. “The lesser evil paves the way to the greater evil. It’s not in opposition to it. It makes way for it,” she said, “I feel most horrible about a voting system that says: Here are two deadly choices, now pick your weapon of self-destruction.”

Proponents of third parties argue that it keeps the two major parties in check and scared voters could desert them. Historically, the arrival of powerful third parties has shaken up the political system and led to progressive change. Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans, after all, were a third party campaigning against the institution of slavery. Since at least 2008, when Barack Obama campaigned on it, Americans have been crying out for hope and change, but have received very little of it.

Others claim that they artificially swing the election towards one candidate. The Green’s Ralph Nader is often accused of handing the 2000 election to George W. Bush, his 2.9 million votes undermining Al Gore’s shot at the White House (this theory is hotly disputed). Eight years before that, billionaire Ross Perot received 19% of the total vote.

 

Undermining election integrity

However, the bigger threat to election integrity this year is surely voter suppression shenanigans. Earlier this year, Trump let slip that he believed no Republican would ever be elected if turnout was high. Since then, he appears to have been on a campaign to decrease participation.

Hundreds of mail sorting machines have been removed from post offices and sorting houses. Since 2013, almost 1,700 polling stations across the South have also been closed down, primarily in poorer, darker neighborhoods. As a result, millions will have to stand in line for hours in the middle of a pandemic. Trump and the Republicans have also attacked the process of postal voting and ballot collection, with the president encouraging his supporters to “protect” polling stations. As a result, only two-thirds of Americans are confident that Election Day will proceed democratically.

Across the country, organizations and businesses are preparing for violence. In New York City, hotels and stores are boarding up their windows, as if they expect a riot. Meanwhile, officials have ordered the immediate construction of a non-scaleable fence around the White House.

Regardless of whether you will opt for one of the major parties or choose an alternative one, there will likely be a good number of down ballot races and initiatives that will be worth deciding between. The great anarchist activist Emma Goldman is thought to have said that if voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal. The lengths the establishment goes to dissuade the public from doing so suggest that it does indeed still matter.

Feature photo | Green Party Candidate Howie Hawkins is pictured speaking to voters. Photo | Hawkins Campaign

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post No, You Don’t Have To Vote for Trump or Biden. Here Are a Few Third-Party Candidates and How They’ve Been Censored appeared first on MintPress News.

Democrats Campaigning to Keep Green Party off the Ballot in Key Swing States

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 15/09/2020 - 1:52am in

The 2020 presidential election is already underway — or, at least, it should be. Because of an ongoing legal battle, none of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties will be sending out mail-in ballots today like they were originally scheduled to. Democrats are attempting to remove Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins from the ballot because of an alleged procedural mistake his running mate Angela Walker made when informing election authorities about a change in her South Carolina address. A similar battle is raging between the two parties in Wisconsin, another key battleground state.

That such a minor procedural error could, in effect, disbar an entire political party from running might be news to many Americans. It is also a charge the Green Party strenuously denies. “I filed my address change properly to the Wisconsin Elections Commission as they instructed me to when our campaign informed them of my address change,” Walker said in a press release this morning,

The Democrat chairing the hearing concerning Democratic objections to my filing prevented that documentation from being presented. They had that information in hand. The Democratic commissioners could have resolved the problem last month at the hearing. Instead, they are playing politics with Wisconsin voters. They could end this now by withdrawing their phony objections. The Democratic commissioners are as guilty as the Republican justices in this hold-up of absentee ballots.”

“The court should have made a decision by now. We want a decision today to put us on the ballot. We want the absentee ballot process to proceed without further delay,” Hawkins added.

Why the Democrats might benefit from the removal of the Greens is clear. With many predicting a close election, third party votes could prove crucial in preventing one of the two major parties from getting over the line. One Emerson poll found that 51 percent of Bernie Sanders primary voters were at least considering opting for a third party come November. Hawkins and Walker have been pitching hard to disenchanted leftists, reminding voters that they embrace a Green New Deal, while Biden has rejected it.

Democrats have been clear in their opposition to Hawkins. “The ‘Green Party’ has done incalculable damage to the environment by helping to elect Republican Presidents twice. Don’t fall for it again,” advised Obama advisor and MSNBC contributor Ben Rhodes. Democratic strategist Tom Watson was even blunter, tweeting, “A vote for the ‘Green Party’ is a vote for fascism.”

The attack on Hawkins comes amid an open letter signed by over 170 prominent environmental leaders condemning the Green Party and telling the nation to vote for Biden, claiming he is a “progressive Democrat,” who, in “his 36-year Senate career” was “an enlightened voice on nearly every issue.” “Twenty years ago, the Green Party snatched the White House from a climate change leader and handed it to George W. Bush,” they questionably claim, not mentioning the Republican Party’s legal shenanigans. “Pious gestures [like voting Green] will produce catastrophic results,” they conclude.

On the Green ticket, Ralph Nader won 2.9 million votes in the 2000 election, no doubt hindering Al Gore’s chances. However, the Florida election was blatantly stolen by Bush, a fact glossed over in the letter. In 2016, the Green Party received 1.5 million votes nationwide, triple what they got in 2012. “Whatever you think of the Green Party, throwing them off the ballot because they listed two addresses for the VP is complete bullshit and voter disenfranchisement,” said Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project think tank.

Republicans have also been involved in their own voter suppression tactics, closing around 1,700 polling stations across the South since 2013, primarily in poorer and majority non-white neighborhoods (some counties losing nearly 90 percent of their voting places). President Trump, who recently said that if more people voted, Republicans would never again be elected, has attacked the postal ballot system as well, claiming it would produce a fraudulent result, instructing his followers to vote twice, once by mail and in person on Election Day. Across the United States, some 671 mail sorting machines have been removed ahead of the election, leading many to accuse the Republicans of blatant election rigging.

While the merits of voting for a third party in a two-horse race can be debated, voter shaming did not work for the Democrats in 2016 has historically not been a productive strategy. With this latest attempt to bar the Green Party from even standing, the Democrats are choosing a high-risk strategy that could potentially backfire come Election Day.

Feature photo | Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins reads a newspaper in a holding room before a television interview. Mike Groll | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Democrats Campaigning to Keep Green Party off the Ballot in Key Swing States appeared first on MintPress News.

History Debunked on Anglo-Saxon Slavery in Bristol

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 07/09/2020 - 6:48pm in

Yesterday there was another Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol. The demonstrators walked through Cabot Circus, and there was a speech by one of the Green party councillors for the city calling for Bristol to apologise for its part in the slave trade. She told the news teams that it was about reparations and would send an inspiring message to the community in Britain and around the world.

In fact, as this video from History Debunked shows, the slave trade in Bristol dates from long before the transatlantic slave trade which began in Britain from the 16th century onwards. Bristol was a major centre of the slave trade in the 11th century, exporting White English slaves to Dublin, from which they were exported further abroad. He states that about 10 per cent of the population of Bristol during this period were slaves. He also goes on to say that Dublin, Waterford and other Irish towns were founded by the Vikings as slaving centres and tells the old story of how Pope Gregory came to send missionaries to evangelise the English. The Venerable Bede recounts in his History of the English Church and People how the pope was passing through the slave market in Rome. He saw two beautiful, blond children for sale. When he asked the slave dealer who they were, he was told, ‘Angles’. The Angles, along with the Saxons and Jutes, were one of the Germanic tribes that came to form Anglo-Saxon England. It’s from the Anglo-Saxon form of their name that the world ‘English’ is derived. Gregory then replied with a pun in Latin: ‘Non Angli, sed angeli’ – ‘Not Angles, but angels’. He also makes the point that St. Patrick was also a slave. He was English, and was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave by pirates. This is also correct, though I don’t think Patrick was English. He would have been British, coming from part of the British Isles that hadn’t yet been conquered by the advancing Anglo-Saxons, and may well have spoken a form of early Welsh. Certainly one of the places which claims him is in Wales.

This is all fact. Bristol was a centre of the slave trade in Anglo-Saxon England. In the 11th century the Anglo-Saxon bishop Wulfstan visited the city to preach against it. He was so successful that the citizens turned on the slavers, beat them and threw them out. However a hundred years later it was still dangerous to visit the Irish ships in the harbour alone at night. In the 12th century a team of French clergy went on a tour of England to raise funds for rebuilding one of their cathedrals after it fell down in a disaster. One of the places they visited was Bristol, where one of them had dinner one evening with an Irish ship’s captain aboard his vessel. When the visiting clergyman told his host, he was warned that it was very dangerous. The ship’s captains would invited the unwary aboard to have dinner, but then kidnap them, slip anchor and sail off. The cleric wisely didn’t go back for a second visit the next night.

History Debunked seems to be a man of the right, and many of his videos are arguments against some of the fake history that is being told as part of the anti-racist campaign. In one video, for example, he refutes the claim that the Black inventor Benjamin Banneker built the first clock in America. He didn’t. Banneker did make a wooden clock, but these were also being made in the US long before him. While this is obviously going to be controversial, as far as I can make out the history is absolutely sound.

I’m putting the video up here because I really honestly don’t believe that Black Lives Matter in Bristol and its marchers are aware that slavery and the slave trade in Bristol predated that of Black Africans. I think they want a simplistic narrative in which slavery is just something that racist Whites did to Blacks. But slavery existed all over the world, and while Black African slavery is a crime and holocaust, White slavery existed in Europe, and White Europeans were enslaved by north Africans from the Middle Ages right up to the French conquest of Algeria in the early 19th century. This is also part of the history of slavery, and needs to be included and remembered in any discussion.

The Only Wasted Vote Is a Vote Not for a Third Party

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 8:13am in

What would be the totem animal for a third-party?

Jesus, Ted. All you ever do, some people tell me, is complain. We get it—you hate both the Republicans and the Democrats. We don’t like them either. But those are the only two parties that have a chance of winning an election. Stop telling us what not to do. Tell us what you think we should do instead.

That criticism is fair. If you don’t like something, it stands to reason you think something else is better and you ought to say what it is.

In my defense, people will never build a new political system until the old one is dead to them. Che Guevara said that the masses would not risk the violent upheaval of revolution as long as they still believed the old regime capable of addressing their needs and grievances to any significant degree. Although the elimination of the two-party duopoly in U.S. electoral politics does not necessitate violence, the same inertial principle applies: as long as progressives and other leftists continue to think that they can express their political will through the Democratic Party, they won’t create the space for what comes next.

So job one is to drive a stake through the corpse of the Democratic Party. Much of my work these days is dedicated to my belief that the Democratic Party is where progressivism and liberalism go to die. I am out to convince as many people as possible to get real, dump the Dems and move on. Articulating the platform of a new third-party or revolutionary movement before enough progressives and leftists have given up on the Democrats would put the cart before the horse.

It would also be arrogantly undemocratic. No one person, certainly not a 57-year-old cis white male political cartoonist, can or should write a programme for the future of an entire society. We all have to do that together.

If you’ve been reading my work for a while, you know that I think that nothing short of revolution is adequate to address the radical problems faced by Americans and by humanity, beginning with the climate crisis. The profit imperative of capitalism is inherently corrupting; it hobbles all efforts to move toward a sustainable relationship with the planet. But no one can make revolution. It happens or it doesn’t. What to do in the meantime? Specifically, for us now, what if anything should we do with our vote this November?

The most compelling argument for electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is harm mitigation, with a view toward preventing a second Donald Trump administration, cleaning up the mess from the last four years and governing better than Trump would have.

I don’t find this argument compelling. History shows that presidents rarely accomplish anything of substance during their second terms. Trump would probably be the same.

Not only did Barack Obama fail to clean up the mess he inherited from George W. Bush, he codified and expanded it: he told CIA torturers not to worry about being prosecuted, he expanded the assassination drone program, he sent more troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, and he continued Bush’s policy of austerity for distressed homeowners and the unemployed with giant cash giveaways to the big banks. Likewise, Bill Clinton didn’t do anything to reverse the Reagan revolution; he went further right than the Republicans dared with “welfare reform,” Joe Biden’s devastating crime bill targeted at minority communities, NAFTA and the WTO. Given Biden’s half-century record of neoliberalism and his refusal to apologize for any of his crimes, it would be ridiculous to assume he would govern as anything other than a Republican.

After you accept the reality that a Biden administration would probably be even worse than keeping Trump, the question becomeas, should one vote and if so for whom?

There is a long and honorable tradition of voter boycotts throughout the world. This is especially true in countries without vibrant functioning democracies, like the United States. (In a European-style parliamentary democracy, most voters can find a party close to their personal ideological alignment. A two-party monopoly cannot possibly serve 330 million people.)

However, there is a relative dearth of data studying the motivations for people who stay home on Election Day. There is a cultural assumption in the U.S. that non-voters are lazy, apathetic or both. So it’s hard to ask intelligent progressives and other people disgusted with the two major parties to sit it out on November 3rd, knowing that they will be shamed.

Which leaves the third-party option.

There are two relatively notable third-party candidates this year. Clemson University professor Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party nominee for president. On the left, the Green Party standard-bearer is unionist and environmentalist Howie Hawkins.

Given that neither candidate is likely to be elected, the main reasons to cast a vote for Jorgensen, Hawkins or another minor party candidate are to register a protest—I’m not apathetic, look, I vote—and to build an organization for the future. You can’t keep saying every two or four years, I would love to vote for a party other than the Democrats or the Republicans but the other parties are too small unless you actually do something to make one of those other parties bigger. That means voting for them. That means contributing money. Not two years from now, not four years from now, but now.

I have not yet decided whether to vote for Hawkins or someone else. I do know that I won’t be voting Democratic or Republican. I’m against both parties. Both parties kill innocent foreigners with abandon. Both parties neglect the poor. Neither party cares about the planet.

Why should I vote for a party I disagree with on almost every fundamental issue?

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Political Suicide: The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)