by Robert L. Hanafin

Since neither established political party has been able (or willing) to get us out of Iraq or Afghanistan except for lip service, promises, and more deceit, I’ve dreamed of the demise of two party political control over the American political system, because I see that having a multi-party system would be preferable to the one party dominance that the two party system represents.
For example here in Ohio, at least until NOW, the only way a third party or independent minded candidate (one not blessed by the Ohio state Democratic or Republican party apparatus) could get on the ballot was by running as lets say a Libertarian/Republican or Green or Socialist running as a Democrat. Now finally a slew of independent candidates from Tea Baggers to Socialist have gotten enough signatures to break dual party hold over the ballot box.
The Ohio Secretary of State’s office was recently asked this question about two party ballot control. I noticed that now when I vote in a primary election in Ohio that I can vote for a political party other than just “Republican” and “Democratic.” Why are there different political parties holding primary elections this year (2010)?
The response from the Ohio Secretary of State was that citizens have the right to form political parties and to have the candidates of those political parties appear on the ballot with the party label.
Minor political parties have been granted access to Ohio’s primary elections process for the 2010 election cycle. Therefore, voters will see a list of political party choices (other than just the two major political parties) on their absentee ballot application, and both major and minor political party ballots will be available to vote as an absentee ballot and on Election Day.
The upside of having more than two parties is that each party would more closely represent the views and values of party members instead of a spread from let’s say left of center to moderates representing the Democrat Party and moderates to right of center the Republican what we are witnessing is the birth of not a third party movement stealing votes from the two but the emergence of a multiparty system that both the Dems and Republicans will do everything to prevent in the name of corporate greed, wars, hidden agendas, and yes special interests that have kept the established party in power at state level for far too long.
The downside is that even I have to accept the coexistence of people and parties that do not share my values and yet reach some kind of compromise or understanding not to kill each other out of hate, racism, or shear anger. If I register to vote as an Independent, Green, Socialist, Libertarian, or Democrat then I have to learn to compete fairly, honestly, and respectfully with Constitutionalists, or Republicans to get my views and vote across.
Frankly, I believe the hardest part is not accepting the existence of more political parties to choose from, the hard nut to crack is being willing to accept defeat at the polls. For instance, I believe there is more about being sore losers at the polls to the Tea Party movement than there is any real or imagined threat to the public from Big Government.
In Ohio for the longest or first time that I can remember, now that I’ve lost interest in supporting any of the two party candidates, because I can tell little difference between them, I’m thrilled to see the emergency of more than two parties making it on the ballot.
My wife and I have not decided yet which party or candidate to support (well really candidate) but it will not be a Democrat or Republican nor some yahoo running as a Dem or Repub claiming to be an independent. We now have from the Independent, Socialist, Constitutional, Libertarian, Green, Democrat, and Republican parties to choose from.
Yes, the two parties still hold dominance over our political system at the lower city and county level, but that is because the independent parties if I may have yet to learn to organize at the grassroots level. That much credit I will give the Tea Bag movement or Constitutionalists Party if I may. They are showing an ability to organize at local level that the Libertarian or any other fringe party has not except maybe at state and federal level.
Suffice it to say, at least from Ohio, I feel a warm and fuzzy that not only do I now have freedom of political choice, I’m finally seeing more than one flavor to register as. I for one plan on registering either as an Independent or Socialist. Socialist some of my former conservative friends would say, how could a retired military officer even think that way.
When all is said and done I am not arrogant enough to tell anyone how to VOTE, but only to ask our readers to VOTE SMART regardless if you endorse or worship the status quo of the two party system or are a anti-incumbent like me, at the minimum check what exactly each party really stands for?
How does what they say they stand for represent your views and values?
Once you understand what each party represents, then check out the specific candidate to see how closely he or she represents your values and view then go from there.
Again not telling anyone what to do one way or another but speaking for myself, I intend registering as anything but a Democrat or Republican in this primary, because by our Ohio State law during a Primary is the only time a voter can register party affiliation.
Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, Veterans Today News
Is the Two Party Political System Doomed?
Looking at the emergence of more than the traditional two parties in Ohio, I would not go as far as to say that the two party system is as much doomed as in trouble or hurting. Using the emergence of multi-parties in one state also IS NOT a measure on how effective this anti-incumbent passion really is nationally.
No more than a single survey taken by one mainstream media outlet tells us that most Tea Baggers are more educated than the media assumed, make more money on average than media assumed, and related stereotypes made by the media. The picture mainstream media made of gun toting, racial slur spitting, angry white men and women did not quite fit the stereotypical image the media now wants to paint Tea Baggers to show they are a serious threat to the established Republican Party.
Frankly, the rise of the Constitution Party clearly shows Tea Baggers just may be able to hold their own as a political party who knows. However, we shall see.
Regardless, besides the Democrats and Republicans, voters in Ohio can now select to register party affiliation with the Green Party of Ohio, Constitution Party of Ohio, Libertarian Party of Ohio, Independent Party of Ohio, and Socialist Party of Ohio.
The Green Party of Ohio has been around a lot longer than the two party system controlling the ballot would like. Like a thorn in the side of the Republican Party that the Libertarian Party can be, one could consider the Green Party as moderate to left of center to leftists voters.
It is composed of grassroots activists, environmentalists, advocates for social justice, nonviolent resisters, and regular citizens who’ve had enough of corporate-dominated politics. A good portion of the Peace movement would may also be found in this party in growing numbers.
The Constitution Party of Ohio has not been around as long as the Green Party, but it has been around a lot longer than the Tea Party movement that today has given a reawakening to the Constitution Party not only at national but local levels. One would consider members of this party to be moderate fiscal conservatives, to right of center, to far right in political views.
In fact, it is their fringe element that makes them a break away from the Republican Party. The founders of the Constitution Party feel that most Americans want the same thing: Peace, Prosperity and Freedom. For these ends our Founding Fathers created a Constitutional Republic, which for the first 100 years prospered like no other nation in history.
But for the last century, America has grown weary from war, debt and tyranny. Our nation’s own history has verified what our founding fathers keenly understood: that as government grows and becomes more centralized, the liberty of the people inevitably recedes
Despite their slight emphasis on Peace and Americans being weary of war, and debt, very few members of the Tea Party Movement have expressed fiscal concerns about the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, admitting war weariness leads to an open door for these fiscal conservatives to find some common ground with people in the Peace movement the only thing needed is a two way olive branch that neither established party has offered either group of fiscal conservatives or Peace activists.
The Libertarian Party of Ohio some would consider a close cousin of the Constitution Party. The most notable national figure in the Libertarian Party movement has been Congressman Ron Paul of Texas who has continuously run as a Republican. Like the Green Party of Ohio, the Libertarians have been around quite a while. In fact at least since 1971 nationally, and 1972 in Ohio. Also like the Green Party, the Libertarian Party of Ohio has managed to get a candidate or two on the ballot in Ohio as Republicans.
To sum up the political philosophy of the Libertarian Party would be quite difficult for like the established parities there is a left, center, and right wing. Suffice it to say that like the Constitution Party, the Libertarians do not believe in Big Government, never have. However, unlike the Constitution Party they are more passionate and serious about no involvement in foreign entanglements, no foreign aid, no military draft, and have taken a public opinion against both the Iraq and Afghanistan War without hitting the streets in significant numbers to protest or oppose the wars.
However, they do recognize the fiscal costs of the wars. On balance, unlike the Green Party or Socialist Party that I will discuss next. The Libertarians also do not believe in social welfare or entitlement programs for these are subsidized by Big Government. For example, Libertarians may be willing to compromise and accept the funding of Veterans Health Care and Benefits at taxpayer funding, but not government subsidized health care for those who never served the nation in some way.
Then of course they also may not compromise when the cost of Veterans Care goes up too much. Point is where does the Libertarian Party draw the line on which social programs it will support and which it will not.
The Socialist Party of Ohio (SPOH) was founded in 2010 however the Democratic Socialist Party of Ohio has been around since the turn of the 19th Century. In fact the Socialist Party has been a part of Ohio history longer than any other party outside of the Democrat and Republican. Today it is the state chapter of the Socialist Party USA The current SPOH is the successor of the state organization of the Socialist Party of America. SPOH was founded in 2010. The party has finally qualified itself for ballot access in Ohio for the 2010 primary election.
From the SPUSA Statement of Principles….THE SOCIALIST PARTY strives to establish a radical democracy that places people’s lives under their own control – a non-racist, classless, feminist socialist society… where working people own and control the means of production and distribution through democratically-controlled public agencies; where full employment is realized for everyone who wants to work; where workers have the right to form unions freely, and to strike and engage in other forms of job actions; and where the production of society is used for the benefit of all humanity, not for the private profit of a few.
We believe socialism and democracy are one and indivisible. The working class is in a key and central position to fight back against the ruling capitalist class and its power. The working class is the major force worldwide that can lead the way to a socialist future – to a real radical democracy.
Just as the election of Barack Obama brought out the Tea Party movement to energize the Constitution Party, Obama’s election has brought out the Socialist Party at National level that could create just as much a thorn in the side of the Democrat Party as the Constitution and Libertarian do the Republican mainstream.
In the words of Ohio Socialist Senatorial Candidate Dan La Botz who has the signatures needed to get his name on the ballot for U.S. Senate in Ohio, when asked by the media what his working definition of socialism was, and did he think Americans have a good/bad view of socialism, and why?
Dan responded: “The Republican’s battle against the Democrats’ health care plan has had a surprising result. The conservatives accused Obama of being a socialist because of that plan. This has led many to draw the conclusion that if they believe in health care for all, then they must be socialists. So overnight, millions of people have become open to thinking about the socialist alternative.”
‘We live today in a country where capitalism and the corporations provide the model for life: selfishness, competition, greed, and disdain for others. It’s a poor model, violent, and destructive,” Dan said.
He believes that,  “as a people should take collective, social control over the largest industries and corporations in our country. We should democratically elaborate a plan to use our wealth to provide a decent life for all. Most Americans, I believe, share this vision of a just society. We might make our nation one where we take care of each other, where we insure that all are taken care of. We might in that process, create a nation where one loved one’s neighbor as one’s self.”
Like the Green Party, a growing number of Peace activists and members of the Peace movement are beginning to see the Socialist alternative. However, what I’ve learned about multi-party political systems that evolved in democracies elsewhere on earth (England and Japan come to mind, but are not the only examples) is that the minority parties somehow have to form alliances with other minority parties in order to challenge the dominance of a one or two party system of power that is controlled by corporations and a wealthy elite.
For multi-parties to thrive in the American experience would take achieving something that the two party system has failed to do FIND COMMON GROUND on everything from health care of all, smaller government, and fiscal conservatism that does less harm than good for our people.
One closing comment on the emergence of multi-political parties is that a few have not an will not get mainstream media attention due to their heritage and by nature. The Constitution Party should now be able to gain mainstream media coverage due to the news generated by the Tea Party movement. In comparison the Socialist Party will get very little attention, because this party challenges the very corporate dominance of mainstream media.

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