Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

An Independent Candidate or the Two-Party Duopoly: The Choice is Yours

Created: 28 October, 2016
Updated: 17 October, 2022
5 min read

Conventional wisdom states that only one of the major party candidates can win and you're not being realistic if you vote for some other candidate. This conventional wisdom is nothing more than consensus reality. A political duopoly controls the election and there are many examples.

The candidates of the two major parties would have you believe that whatever insults they hurl is what should sway your vote and whatever issues they support are the important factors in the election. In reality, they are nothing more than the candidates of a two-party duopoly that uses the government, not to serve the public, but to serve themselves and keep themselves in power.

Don't be fooled by their rhetoric: “Our candidate is the most rational and logical,” “Our candidate is a political outsider,” Our candidate represents what's best with America,” and “Our candidate wants what's best for the country.” Both candidates of the two major parties are two sides of the same coin and there is ample evidence of this.

Frequently you hear candidates decry the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court and call for publicly funded elections. Most people assume that repealing Citizens United will give us publicly funded elections, but they are wrong. Instead of publicly funded elections for all, we will return to federally funded elections with the Democrats and Republicans getting most of the funding.

The Campaign Finance law of 1971 (The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971) was set up to use public funds for use by all, but especially the political duopoly. This law was challenged by James Buckley (a conservative senator), Eugene McCarthy (a liberal former senator), The American Civil Liberties Union, and many other plaintiffs. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court.  Instead of upholding the law or striking it down, the court upheld some provisions and struck down others.

Among the provisions of the law that stayed was one that paid for the conventions of the Democrats and Republicans. This stayed in effect until 2012 when this part of the law was repealed. Why was this ever in place?

The Democrats and Republicans received government financing until 2008, when Barak Obama raised more money than the government would have given his campaign. Since that time, candidates don't ask for government financing during the general election.

One place that the law is still used is in the primaries. After raising $100,000 in the primaries, the government matches the funds.  (I don't know how a person's fundraising prowess translates into receiving federal government money, but it does). I think this part of the law will be struck down soon because third-party candidates have started to receive money via this way and the duopoly doesn't like that.

Until 2008, the Democrats and Republicans always received government money, but third-party candidates and independents only received money if they got more than 5 percent of the vote and only in the next election (if they ran). Getting money in four years doesn't help your campaign if you need the money now. Democrats and Republicans never had to worry about this.

Citizens United might have opened the doors to unlimited money in elections and influence of government, but I can't see federal government funding of two parties and not others as being much (if any) better. Campaign finance reform and government funding of a duopoly aren't the same thing.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) was set up by Democrats and Republicans, staffed by Democrats and Republicans, and oversees elections. The commission was set up in 1975, primarily to oversee the Campaign Finance Law provisions.  One can only wonder how the country was able to have elections for almost 200 years without the FEC.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is another government agency that is filled with Democrats and Republicans.  They are supposed to serve the public interest, but they serve the duopoly interest first. In the past, they have suspended equal time provisions to let duopoly candidates debate and not have anyone else on the stage. There is no need to do this anymore, since the FCC has ruled that the debates are news events.

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is made up of Democrats and Republicans with some media representatives. They stage a series of carefully scripted meetings between duopoly candidates. They call them 'debates' and concoct ways by which they can deny any other candidates an invitation.

The FCC has ruled that these debates are news events and allows them to appear on public airwaves during primetime every presidential election. How is this serving the public interest? The public had a right to know about all points of view and not just the duopoly viewpoint, but they no longer have to endure contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues since the FCC decision to repeal the Fairness Doctrine.

Time and again the duopoly has shown that they are not interested in government that serves the people, but government that benefits the duopoly. Gerrymandering is such a widespread partisan (and legal) practice that many lawmakers face either no opposition in congressional elections or the opposition has almost no chance of winning. This gerrymandering goes on in elections for state offices too. This practice must end! There are other practices that need to end, such as ballot access laws, but the duopoly isn't going to end them without pressure from the voters.

I think ending the duopoly stranglehold on government would be the best thing to happen to the U.S. in many years. There are more than two choices for president this November. Some of the choices are: Gloria La Riva, candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, also the Peace and Freedom Party candidate; Rocky De La Fuente, candidate of the Reform Party; and Darrell Castle, candidate of the Constitution Party. Evan McMullin and Laurence Kotlikoff are two independent candidates for president.

There are others, but only two third-party candidates are on enough state ballots to win the election without the House of Representatives deciding the winner. They are: Gary Johnson, candidate of the Libertarian Party (on the ballot in all 50 states) and Jill Stein, candidate of the Green Party (on the ballot in 45 states). The choice in this election isn't liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, sane (us) or crazy (them). The choice is any third-party or independent candidate, versus a candidate of the two-party duopoly.

My choice is Jill Stein!