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October 2nd, 2009
06:56 AM ET

Are Americans ready to elect a third party?

Rick Nagin. Candidate for Cleveland City Council. Registered Democrat. And member of the Communist Party.  “I believe in socialism,” Nagin says.  “I believe that corporate greed is the source of the problems in this country and we'd all be a lot better off if working people and their organizations were running things instead of big business.”  Nagin, long considered a "fringe candidate" in Ohio, is hot this year. He survived the primary, and may win the November election.  And while much of the country may be aghast - voters are seriously considering someone who espouses Communist beliefs.

Some say it's a sign of the times.  “Voters are getting more and more frustrated with politics as usual,” according to independent political analyst John Avlon.  “They want some alternatives.”  Former presidential candidate Bob Barr thinks so.  “I think the time is really ripe for that.”  Barr ran on the Libertarian ticket in 2008. He lost. But, says today interest in the Libertarian party is at an all-time high. “There's a sense of unease among people in this country that the two major parties simply are no longer listening to them and responding to the people of the country.”

According to Politico.com, independent candidates are poised to "run serious campaigns for governor " in half a dozen states.Among them: New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.   Avlon says they have strong support.  “The vast majority of Americans are independent and centrist. So that's where the sweet spot is for an independent candidate.”  Back in Cleveland’s Ward 14, council hopeful, Nagin says he's offering voters who are suffering economically something different. And yet, something very much the same.  “I consider myself to be a very patriotic American. I love this country.”

Just sayin’ – Are Americans ready to elect a third party?


Filed under: Just Sayin'
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Jones

    "It's a sad state of affairs that what once was the most powerful nation in the world built on the backs of working people, has now sunk to levels from which there may be no recovery. The scams and the rhetoric continue with no visible or measurable improvements. Like previous Empires in history, are we now seeing the beginning of the decline of the US Empire?"

    You can see this play out in everyday life. Human nature itself is self-destructive. That is why when I see really crazy things happening in our country like Scalar weather control, I realize that there are some very selfish human beings behind all that. Power should never be given over mother nature herself, and that my friend is what is now occuring in the united states today. If you look carefully, you can see the scalar waves taking form in the air against the backdrop of your walls. Someone controls the very airmass you breathe and live in. Good luck.

    November 19, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  2. Steve

    Amazing; we gripe and complain, then blame the other party. Vote that party out and surprise, no change. How about the American people, pull their heads out and vote all these phonies out. 2010 VOTE OUT ALL INCUMBENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  3. Bryan

    You'll never have more than 2 parties until the constitution is amended to allow for proportional representation. Plus, the one thing the Republicans and Democrats can agree on is that no other party is allowed to compete fairly.

    October 6, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  4. Carlo (Toronto)

    When you follow politics in Canada, Italy, Israel, etc., you can see how multiple party systems have their disadvantage. When you want to get a lot accomplished, a polarized system like that in the USA gets results. When you want to keep the status quo, go multi-party.

    Take Canada for example. The PM is doing a great job however the other parties have ganged up on him and now he can't get anything done so an unnecessary election is immanent.

    The US has too much to do to fragment the vote so that clear democratic decisions can be made instead of all those compromises it takes to get multiple parties to make a consensus.

    October 5, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  5. Richard

    Won't happen – if the 2 parties have nothing else in common, they have rigged the system to make it nearly impossible for a 3rd party to arise.

    October 5, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  6. Kelly Chang

    When you only have two major parties, every election is basically choosing the best of the worst, as we've seen over and over again. I say bring back Ross Perot! Yes we need at least 3 or 4 parties, because right now we are not a functioning democracy. And take away the president's right to veto bills. Yes he was elected president but if the majority of the people (senate and congress) approve a bill, the president should not question it, no matter what his personal views are.

    October 5, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  7. Carl Blue

    I was a republican until the warmonger George W Bush showed me the light, and I left the party to be Independent. But like many states, you can't vote in primaries or caucus unless you're in one of the two parties, so I choose to move to the Democrats to caucus for Obama, because he was the most interesting of all candidates. I have considered moving back to the Independents, but it seems full of a "Lou Dobbs" and "Glenn Becks" and I can't see how a party built on hate and racism can be appealing except to other haters and racists. I'll just wait until they implode or die off.

    October 5, 2009 at 7:58 am |
  8. Cliff

    Carol: Great timing. I believe the public is more than ready. It is clear the Democrats and Republicans would rather play politics than do what's best for the country. However, you in the media need to help. Historically the media pays too little attention to new parties and they get lost in the democrat and republican news flurry. Having the media provide equal time to these candidates would be a great test of the status quo and probably send a strong message that the American people want solutions not politics.

    October 3, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  9. David Ellison

    It's definitely time for candidates and office holders who are apart from the Democrats and Republicans. In this case, the other candidate, Brian Cummins, and the one who received a bigger percentage of the votes than the communist, is a leading member of the Green Party of Ohio – so ready-or-not, our choice is between centralized authoritarian Marxism and an ecological consciousness like that of Petra Kelly or Ralph Nader. At least this race gives us Clevelanders some relief from the corruption and FBI investigation currently underway of the Democratic Party-dominated Cuyahoga County government.

    October 2, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  10. Mary Ferko

    The major parties fail the majority of Americans. In Cleveland the race this story is about actually is a race between and Communist and a Green. Nagin came in 2nd in the primary behind the front runner, Councilman Brian Cummins who is running in a new district in Cleveland because he's gone against the Democratic party bosses in that city.

    The Green Party is much more practical and mainstream as compared to the Communist Party USA. I agree with previous posts that by and large the major news media has ignored the historical significance of third parties.

    Look what happened to Nader in 2000 and 2004 relative to the debates – not being able to participate.

    Back in Cleveland I hope the current progressive Green Party candidate can maintain his seat.

    Here is some more information on Nagina and Cummins and the race in Cleveland.

    http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/09/cleveland_council_candidate_ri.html
    http://www.naginforcouncil.com
    http://briancummins.us/getinformed

    October 2, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  11. lee wilson

    i am ready for the change to a third party, i cannoth continue to vote for those presently in office. any new candidate will get my vote.

    October 2, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  12. George S

    I cannot ascribe to a so-called "democracy" that only has two political parties that are to all intents and purposes the same. In parts of the world they call this an Oligarchy. In the USA we're more like a Plutocracy.

    The way the general populace is manipulated, brainwashed, lied to and otherwise indoctrinated, I doubt that there will ever be more than a two party system. Worse, we also have a 50 country (States) system. Each to his own.

    I have a deep-rooted mistrust of politicians of any political party. I've often thought of writing a book, but struggle with the title..... I change it almost every day. Today's title is "In Spite of Ourselves".

    One wonders about a system where elected officials are for the most part more concerned about their re-election and what they can get from lobbyists than they are about anything else.

    It's a sad state of affairs that what once was the most powerful nation in the world built on the backs of working people, has now sunk to levels from which there may be no recovery. The scams and the rhetoric continue with no visible or measurable improvements. Like previous Empires in history, are we now seeing the beginning of the decline of the US Empire?

    October 2, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  13. Steven

    We desperately need a progressive party to counter the unity of centrist republicans with these horrible right wing radicals that want corporate domination. This nation was not founded to serve only the super wealthy and the multinational corporations. If it there is no viable option for us soon, this nation will dissolve into about 5 little angry Balkanized states constantly at war with each other and continually ethnically , politically , religiouslly cleansing their internal populations. Of course, me being disabled, I sure as hell don't want to end up where ever this guy RJ is. That type of 19th century, neanderthal, be a successful hunter or starve mentality is the root cause of so much of the suffering in this nation. RJ, you want a nation where there is a very low or non-existant tax rate? little or no state interference in any aspect of daily life? and a very strong dominating religion that has the responsibility of almost all education????? This surrounded by lots of open territory waiting to be dominated and developed???????? That what you want Bucky????? Fine,......I will buy you a ticket to Somalia. Enjoy... OH... you will have to convert to Islam but other than that it should be your dream come true, Wagons Ho man.

    October 2, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  14. Felix

    I beleave it is over do, the four fathers of this country did not plan for us to have a two party system. These people don't understand that they took an oath to protect and service the American people. I'm an Independent and I wish there was more of them to balance out Congress. We do to much fighting among ourselves, which is never good for any party or Americans. At the end of the day the people will have to stand an have the last word by voting.

    October 2, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  15. ronvan

    It always tickles me that WE the American people scream, accuse, argue, condemn both political parties. For me I think the addition of another party would be great, however, the only thing we would wind up with is another party to scream, accuse, argue & condemn!

    October 2, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  16. GBJ

    Do we need a third party? Yes. That would be great to have someone else besides fat old white guys who spend 110% of their time catering to the lobbyist, ignoring the voters and campaigning for reelection.

    I would also support concurrent term limits for ALL federal offices. This would be a great way to kick start the boneheads in Washington, and allow a third (or fourth or fifth) party some toe hold into the process. Why do we think it is a good thing that we have kept the same people in the office for multiple decades, AND then we, the voters, complain about the job they are doing?

    The Voter doth complain too much me thinks!

    October 2, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  17. Heath( still free and independent )

    Absolutely, YES, a third party would a good option. But there is a problem with this theory, it could further fragment the country. Example: election count for president 25% republican/ 25% democrat/ 50% third party. Even though the third party has the majority, the remaining 50% that did not vote for that candidate is large percentage that no one should not bend over backwards to make them happy without upsetting the ones that voted him or her into office. Not to mention that the congress would not cooperate with a third party president. So then what, elect a majority third party congress . That would give that party a landslide, a complete control to run its own agenda. Hopefully not a party that would follow in the tracks of Venezuela or Honduras and try and change the law. Make laws that keep them in power and puts down the opposition. Don't put to much stock into a zebra can change its stripes, why, because a crocodile can shed tears!

    October 2, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  18. Andy Walston

    Third party? How about NO party?? I'd like to see a law that prohibits the listing of a party label on the ballot and prohibits the use of a party name in advertising - TV, newspapers, radio, internet, lawn signs. Maybe - just MAYBE - Americans would then vote for the best candidate instead of just mindlessly pulling a party lever. (For one thing, they'd have to pay attention to the candidate's honesty, integrity, intelligence, record of accomplishment and proposals for political progress.)

    October 2, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  19. Marty Hoots

    Take it from someone who has been "beat-up" over this issue for years and years. Now, finally Americans are starting to see what has been going on for 20 years now. WE HAVE NO LEADERSHIP! We deffinately need a 3rd and 4th party. The democrats and republicans are really a 1 party system, they only benefit themselves. Ridding this country of the fascist 2 party system will benefit not only America, but the world. So yes, we definately need real change...Marty

    October 2, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  20. Howard Steinberg

    The 2 party system has become degenerated into a corrupt enterprise where each party seeks interest group contributions from lobbyists, corporations and wedge groups. the goal is party survival instead of what is good for the country. this in turn has prevented the major parties from really solving problems like health, care, gun control, and a long term fix for the economy. The center of each party is held hostage by the ideological purity of the both the right and left, and compromise which is needed is looked upon with scorn form the fringes. We need to have moderate Republican and Democrats form a new party and then have right wing and left wing form parties of their own. this way the public can really see the platforms of these fringe elements and not have it blurred by the center of moderation. We need to bring back a sense of reason, and it will not happen until we realign

    October 2, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  21. SK

    The media is complicit in propagation of the two-party system. Why don’t CNN and other media outlets give airtime to more than just Republicans and Democrats? Because it would require work, no more easy reporting. Why hasn't the Green Party ever been featured? Most people don't even know there are alternatives because the other party's are unfairly ignored or referred to as fringe groups.
    Stop being cheap and lazy CNN!!

    October 2, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  22. Bernadette Loesch

    No, in that the Republicans would NEVER let that happen.

    October 2, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  23. Michael Hardy

    If third party energies are confined to the left or right fringes of either party they won't have much actual impact. The interesting opportunity for a true leader would be a third party initiative that would capture the moderates of both parties. That could have potential.

    October 2, 2009 at 8:05 am |
  24. Barbara

    YES YES YES. It needs to be neutral and centrist. Let's make it right here and right now: Let's poll what is the best of the GOP and the best of the Dems. Let's call it the "American" party.
    Who's up for it?

    October 2, 2009 at 8:01 am |
  25. paul huylebroeck

    i would like to announce for US presidency as the leading candidate and as of now the only member of the new NOBODY'S BOY PARTY. my platform would eliminate PACS, LOBBYING AND SPECIAL INTEREST DONATIONS, READ BRIBES. all campaigning would be limited to taxpayer paid tv and newspaper ads. i would make it a crime to be IN THE POCKETS OF BIG BUSINESS AND SPECIAL INTERESTS. if gauranteed this new fair playing field i would return from my 40 year self imposed exile from CANADA where i walk the streets at night unarmed and have never paid a dime for fantastik health care and currently receive $1000 a month to augment my low retirement income. my platform would be to make THE US MORE LIKE CANADA where nobody falls throuh the cracks

    October 2, 2009 at 7:49 am |
  26. RJ

    What we really need is insurance and drug reform, then everyone in this country could afford insurance! Lets not achieve universal health care at the expense of the middle class tax payer!

    October 2, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  27. RJ

    Hey John what you fail to realize is all of these countries which you claim has universal health care are also socalist type governments and theres no incentive to innovate and no American dream to achieve! You want universal health care so you dont have to pay and expect the other guy will pick up the tab, sorry the American way doesnt work that way! You must work hard and work some more if you want the things you think you should be entitled to!

    October 2, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  28. ken

    No. We had the opportunity in the last election but the media laughs them off the stage. The real joke is on us.

    October 2, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  29. RJ

    YES,Yes,yes, I`m tired of living in Obamaland and working just for Obama to give it too someone else! I`m tired of the highly hypocrytical GOP as well, as while they set high standards none of them can actually follow! The only problem there too many ignorant people in this country to ever let that happen! Majority of people in this country believe they are either a democrat or a republican and if not then theres the independent party, but there has never been any organization in that party so the other count on it as the third party in which its really not!

    October 2, 2009 at 7:41 am |
  30. Bob Yorczyk

    The country was ready for a third party in 1992 when Perot got 18% of the vote and a centrist third party formed out of the campaign organization. Initially called the Patriot Party then becoming the Reform Party, it got a governor elected and ran a number of congressional candidates through 1998. The problems it ran into were getting a national leadership figure, individual state ballot access laws, campaign funding and the popular perception that a vote for a third party was a wasted vote.

    I ran for congress as a third party candidate and got about 3,700 votes. Later I ran as a Democrat and got over 80,000 votes. Same person, same platform, same office, same district.

    Is America ready for a third party? – Yes
    Will America support a third party? – No

    October 2, 2009 at 7:35 am |
  31. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Carol, I don't know if a third party is the answer – more likely a "no-party" candidate would do better. As for as Communist VS. Libertarian, I'd vote for the Communist, because at least with a Communist we would have someone who thinks that government has a place in running the country. Libertarians seem to think that government has no place – in which case why run for office.

    October 2, 2009 at 7:31 am |
  32. Luke

    I hope that Americans are ready to look outside the current, two party dominated system. George Washington warned us about the perils of political parties and the corruption that they bring. I am not sure that most Americans feel that way as they are so afraid of "wasting a vote". No longer will I vote for the lesser of two evils. I will not hold my nose and vote for a candidate simply because I do not want his/her major opponent to win. I will vote for the best candidate no matter how slim the chances of success. That is the only moral way to cast a vote.

    The USA was, for many years, unique among the nations of the world because of our Constitution and the freedoms that the document guarantees. The reining two parties have been doing their best to increase the control of the Federal government and ignore the restraints that our Constitution places upon the bureaucrats in Washington DC. Freedom, not socialism, is our answer and our law. We must uphold it.

    October 2, 2009 at 7:30 am |
  33. JoesLovelyMother

    Yes, but want it to be more of the Progressive MindSet

    October 2, 2009 at 7:10 am |
  34. John

    Most countries have several parties. Canada has four major parties. The US is a minority in so many ways:

    The only industrialized nation without univesal health care.
    The only industrialized nation whose GDP is not growing.
    The only industrialized nation with only two parties.

    October 2, 2009 at 7:06 am |