Providing a Voice for the Independent Candidates

Despite the media's focus on Barack Obama and John McCain, they are not the only candidates running for the office of President of the United States of America.

The race to the White House also includes Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, Cynthia McKinney of the Green-Rainbow Party, and Ralph Nader of the Independent Party.

You can read more about the six men and women (and their running mates) at Project Vote Smart.

Because of little attention paid to the third-party candidates in the mainstream media (where most of the world's bloggers get their information), there is little discussion in the blogosphere. But some content is worth repeating here.

We begin with last month's article on Global Voices Online by Pakistani blogger Teeth Maestro about his peers’ reactions to the first presidential debate. Buried in the responses was this comment:

To be an effective leader one must also display honesty, compassion, & guts. Stand with Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, & Cynthia McKinney.

Of course, Ron Paul is no longer running in the election; Wikipedia has the facts, namely that Paul withdrew from the Republican Party before announcing his support for Chuck Baldwin.

The essence of the anonymous commenter's words remain valuable; that independent candidates hold as much worth as the Democratic and Republican parties.

This is echoed by Marcy Newman, an American blogger known for her pro-Palestinian activism, who writes in the first sentence of a Sarah Palin commentary:

This rant on Palin does not mean I support Obama/Biden. I don’t because on foreign policy they are one in the same. I support Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney.

Unfortunately, as Michael Merritt of PoliGazette recently remarked in the wake of Bob Barr attempting to remove Obama and McCain from the Texas ballot for failing to submit their nomination sheets by the deadline…

Libertarians and other third parties have always typically found obstacles to ballot access, usually the ridiculous numbers of signatures needed to even get on the ballot. Even then, they are often challenged on the veracity of these signatures.

Coming full circle, we turn to the United Kingdom and former Liberal Democrat Councilor Nich Starling who blogged about Pravda on Democracy in America. He begins with the following:

The comedy news channel Russia Today is always worth watching for five minutes if you need to be reminded how good CNN, Sky News, BBC or even Fox News is.

The story Russia Today is running with today is how undemocratic the US is for not giving Ralph Nader equal coverage with Obama and McCain, with the under current of the story being that the US is not a good democracy because it does not allow candidates equal access to the news media.

It is fair to presume that none of the independent candidates will work in the corner office, so where's the harm in writing more stories on the voices who won't win the votes?


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