City and State
Just last week a Gallup poll
found that only 26 percent of Americans believe that the two major
parties adequately represent them, and 60 percent of the country thinks
that a viable third party is needed in the United States.
In light of these findings, as well as statistics that show
approximately one-third of voters nationwide identify themselves as
independents, the decision to deny the third-party candidates for mayor
of New York City a place on the stage in yesterday’s televised debate is
all the more unacceptable.
While the Independence Party’s nominee, Adolfo Carrión, made the
biggest stink about being excluded from the debate, all of the
third-party candidates would be right if they feel indignation at their
mistreatment. For the record, there are twelve others on the ballot:
Jack Hidary, Randy Credico, Erick Salgado, Jimmy McMillan, Daniel Fein,
Anthony Gronowicz, Joseph Melaragno, Carl Person, Michael Sanchez,
Michael Dilger, and Sam Sloan.
The criteria used to exclude third-party candidates both from
national and local debates are demonstrative of how the electoral system
is rigged to protect the “two-party dictatorship,” as former Minnesota
Governor Jesse Ventura called it in a recent interview with City & State.
Candidates are prohibited from participating unless they raise a
certain amount of money and poll at a certain percentage—the thresholds
for yesterday’s debate were $750,000 and 5 percent, respectively—yet, of
course, the most likely way for candidates without the benefit of a
major party’s backing to raise a significant amount of money and
increase their standing in the polls (if indeed their names are even
being included in them) is to have the platform of a televised debate to
make their case to the electorate.