Could we See an Independent Run in 2008?

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

It's Junkie Day around here again, and of course the political news is... Iowa. We'll preview tomorrow's caucuses, and find out what it really means to win that state. The surprise this week, though, is talk of a possible third party run in 2008. Nothing's official yet, but New York Mayor Michael Bloom is scheduled to meet next week with a dozen other pols from both parties. The goal: lay out plans to form a government of unity in Washington. Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman will be a part of the mix, and she'll talk third party politics with us today. And Ken Rudin tables not one but TWO trivia questions! Do you want to see a third party run for the White House? Do you think an independent can win?

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Actually, there is a third party already: The Green Party. Their candidate is Cynthia McKinney, the former Democrat thrown under the bus by her party for questioning support for the war.

Sent by Erik Shelley | 2:25 PM | 1-2-2008

There will be no changes in our political system until campaigns are publicly financed. Until then, pandering will run rampant in the race for the dollars. Bloomberg's ability to self finance means independence. He should run as a third party candidate.

Sent by Steve Barger | 2:29 PM | 1-2-2008

Folks, our system isn't set up for a third party. I am referring to the electoral college. It is what keeps us a two party country. Try all you want for a third party this election cycle with someone like Bloomberg, and all you will get a Republican in the White House. We don't need that right now.

As stated above, our system isn't designed for it. And forcing the issue won't work either. What will be needed for this to succeed is for there to be a change to out Constitution that would abolish the electoral college to make third parties more of a viable option. That will never happen.

What we need is to get the best Democrat or Republican elected to clean up the mess we are in. The only thing a third party would do is muddy the waters. And that is something we don't need right now.

Sent by ecotopian | 2:36 PM | 1-2-2008

It is a shame that in the country that boasts and often tries to impose its democratic ideas/process around the world there are only two political parties that basically amount to nothing more than a covert dictatorship controled by powerful corporations.. and it is even more apalling that the citizens who are affected and often complain about it show the greatest ignorance and apathy during this important time. Shame on all!.. we will get what we put in to it.. shame!

Sent by Pablo | 2:47 PM | 1-2-2008

Re partisanship out of politics, your guest, Gov. Whitmore (sp?) stated that we have always had parties--My Public Radio info differs. parties didn't evolve for quite some time after the founders (though with issues) cooperated as humans to develop towards a democracy. I would value discussion on making a non-party approach work again. We may owe this to our founders and to those who were here before them. The Iroquois people gave us the word caucus. Cheers and Good Everything to Everyone.

Sent by Dennis S. Ferche, Ph.D. | 3:01 PM | 1-2-2008

Forgiving and not Forgetting.
Thanks for the topic.
I was beaten by my father, and emotionally abandoned by him. After my second divorce I entered Al-Anon, and found this quote of great value.
"Having resentments is like taking poison, and expecting the other person to die".

Sent by bob belden | 3:45 PM | 1-2-2008

I'd love to see a third party! But, not the likes of Perot, LaRouche, Buchannon, or Nader. Someone more serious, with a plan, with some backbone!. Not some "just that simple" plan, because NOTHING in politics is simple (for long). A real plan. A real agenda, that people would be willing to vote for (because it makes sense)!

But, the vendictive side of both the Republican and Democratic parties would see to it that the new "Third party President" would not hav ANY support in congress. So, we would have to elect (approx.) 141 Independents to the House at the same time. Include at least 30 Senators. (yes, an Independent sweep of the Senate) And you see, it just won't happen! A third party can not be tolerated by the current system.

Sent by Harold | 4:56 PM | 1-2-2008

The horse race coverage of an unrepresentative sample of American voters in Iowa is simply ludicrous. There is no serious discussion of issues that affect America, only an obession with who is leading in the polls. It is unfortunate that truly qualified, thoughtful candidates, such as Joe Biden and even more outrageous candidates, who do bring valid issues to the fore, like Mike Gravel, do not get ample coverage.

Sent by Aboud Dweck | 8:08 PM | 1-2-2008

I think the first poster is incorrect. Cynthia McKinney is not the Green Party candidate, she only recently announced her candidacy for the Green Party nomination.

Sent by mike | 9:47 AM | 1-3-2008

Harold, a few posts north, has a great point. All of us that watched the movie, "Man of the Year" with Robin Williams, and had our eyes light up with excitement need to realize the selfishness of our Republic. (This really isn't a democracy) Anyways, imagine the crap we would have to listen to if Ron Paul was voted in to office or if by some biblical notion, a man or woman with real intelligence was voted in like Steven Colbert or Bill Maher.

Of course these people aren't perfect, but for example's sake; do we really think the Congress would allow ANY change whatsoever? Our candidate, who may seem like a breath of fresh air would end up looking like a hot-air balloon.

Sent by Joseph | 11:27 AM | 1-3-2008

Dennis S. Ferche, Ph.D.:
John Adams (President #2) was a Federalist. How much earlier can you get!

Joseph, thanks for the nod. Machine politics is still too entrenched to shake (us vs. them, our plan vs. their plan). The third parties are too single-minded. After saving all the trees, what are the Greens going to do? Bring back the buffalo?
I wish it were different, but I accept it for what it is.

Sent by Harold | 2:30 PM | 1-3-2008

McKinney was "thrown under the bus" by her fellow Democrats because she is a loony and foolish. She therefore, and others just like, belong in the Green Party.

Sent by Patrick Spicer | 5:49 PM | 2-7-2008

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