NPR Online
Election 2000
Republican National Convention
The Shadow Convention:
Outside the GOP Convention Halls
The Shadow Convention

Philadelphia, July 30 -- The City of Brotherly Love hosts two conventions this week -- one for Republicans, and another, called the Shadow Convention, for those who say that two-party politics is part of a broken system that fails to address some of the nation’s more pressing problems.

The Shadow Convention 2000 opened on Sunday with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the insurgent presidential candidate in the Republican primaries who made campaign finance reform a key element in his challenge to the frontrunner, Texas Governor George W. Bush.

audio buttonListen to a report from NPR's Lynn Neary for Weekend All Things Considered.

Conservative columnist and former Republican, Arianna Huffington introduced McCain as "the most prominent advocate for reform in this country,” but when the maverick Arizona senator conceded that Bush would be the GOP nominee and then encouraged support for the Texas governor in the coming election, hecklers booed and hissed.

At one point, McCain asked if he should continue speaking. Huffington then returned to quiet the crowd, telling them that the event would be a forum for discussion of different views.

McCain then continued his speech, driving home his message on the need for campaign finance reform, something he acknowledged that differs from Bush's view. Yet, McCain said that stopping the flow of unregulated soft money into the political system is the only solution to breaking "the iron triangle of money” made up of lobbyists, money and politicians.

The end result, he said, is “a system that is nothing more than an elaborate influence-peddling scheme in which both parties conspire to stay in office by selling the country to the highest bidder.”

It is a theme that Huffington and a company plan to address in the coming days as they meet at the Annenberg Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Other issues to be addressed include the “growing” inequalities between rich and poor, and the failed drug war

In addition to McCain, Huffington and fellow organizers expect a variety of well-known politicians, writers and political activists that include Rev. Jesse Jackson and comedian and political satirist, Al Franken.

A similar alternative convention is planned for in Los Angeles later this month when Democrats hold their convention there. Among those expected to attend are Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., former Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado, actor Warren Beatty, and talk show host Bill Maher.

For more, see the Shadow Conventions Web site.

You will need the free RealAudio Player to listen to audio.

Copyright © 2000 National Public Radio