Monday, March 31, 2008

Mike Gravel: A One-Man Multiparty System

No Fruits and Votes:

Mike Gravel was my favorite pre-candidate as the 2008 US presidential race got started. The longer this campaign goes on, the more I realize why I liked him so much: For an advocate of a multiparty system, there can be no better candidate than one who:

(1) Endorses a candidate of one party, while (2) suggesting he will run for the nomination of another, while (3) still officially a candidate for the nomination of yet another.

The first two points refer to a remark he made to Reason magazine on 18 March:

“I’m more libertarian than Ron Paul… I just endorsed Jesse Johnson to give him a leg up over Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader.” The obvious question: Since Gravel considers himself a libertarian, would he run for the LP nomination? Yes.

When Gravel endorsed Johnson, the latter candidate crowed about how this wasthe most unprecedented cross party statement of support.”

Now The Caucus blog at the New York Times reports Gravel is indeed seeking the Libertarian nomination. As for the man himself, Gravel really is more Green than Libertarian. And, honestly, if Mike Gravel actually had enough influence to keep McKinney or Nader from getting the Green nomination, Bob Barr from getting the Libertarian nomination, while having debated earlier in the season on stage with the Democratic pre-candidates, I would say that he had performed quite a service to our multiparty system (such as it is).

Update: While my title is somewhat flippant, “fusion” is actually not a bad idea at all, and evidently it is something Gravel has in mind. From a comment at Third Party Watch:

The Senator would like to become the ‘fusion’ candidate in this election—J. Skyler McKinley National Multimedia Coordinator Mike Gravel for President 2008

Apparently there was a Green–Libertarian fusion candidate for US Senate in Maryland in 2006 (Kevin Zeese). I do not know if that is feasible elsewhere, but I certainly like the concept. While there are many differences between Greens and Libertarians as parties, the basic idea–to unite all non-authoritarians and non-imperialists in a “big tent” (not that it would be all that big, I realize; Zeese got 1.5%) is sensible until such time as we have proportional representation and ranked-choice voting and other rules changes that make a multiparty system more feasible. I doubt this is feasible under the ballot-access laws in most states, however, though that is not my specialty by any means.

[já agora, pelo que sei da politica norte-americana, não me parece que essas ideias de alianças entre Libertários e Verdes façam grande sentido: podem ser parecidos em questões de politica externa e de liberdades civis, mas penso que demasiado diferentes no resto]

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