Let bygones be bygones: Cold War-era laws punish independent parties

Nothing in the US Constitution prevents a multiparty system, yet many obstacles, including laws from a bygone era, make it impossible for independent, progressive parties to take the stage, Green Party campaign manager Ben Manski told RT.

He stressed that the Green Party managed to overcome many of those challenges with their presidential candidate Jill Stein, being on 85 per cent of the ballots, yet she was still prevented from attending the US presidential debates.

Jill Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala, were arrested after being denied entrance to the debates that took place at Hofstra University on Tuesday. The presidential and vice-presidential candidates were taken away by the secret service and kept in a cold warehouse for about 7-8 hours handcuffed to chairs. They are now to stand trial for disorderly conduct.

Following the scandal tens of thousands of people joined the campaign online, Ben Manski says, adding the party had its single largest fundraising day following the arrest. “People are outraged about the fact that candidates who represent millions of Americans were prevented from entering into the debates.”

There is nothing in our Constitution which prevents a multiparty system from emerging here in the US, but we do have laws on the books all across the country and we also have the actions of private corporations that have grown up over the last 60 years, to prevent independent parties from challenging the two established parties here in the United States. The laws that we have in the books prevent or make it very difficult for independent parties to get on the ballot to give the voters that choice,” Manski explained.

Those laws date from the Cold War. They date from the McCarthy era in which there was a fear of communism and socialism. They try to make it very difficult for progressive parties in particular to emerge.”

Regardless of the alleged barriers in place many Americans do vote for the Green Party, with Manski believing it is because “we do represent the aspirations of tens of millions of Americans.” He added that major issues that are important to many people are being left out of the bipartisan debate.

For many people, especially young people in this country, climate change and environmental issues are pivotal. They are the issues of the future. Neither the Democrats, nor Republicans are addressing those issues.”

­Romney’s “binders full of women” blooper during the Tuesday debate has attracted much more media attention than the arrest of presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala.

The mainstream media likes the two-party system, they like to pretend there is only two candidates running for president,” Wes Benedict, the president of Libertarian Booster PAC, told RT. “I think they are deliberately ignoring what these other parties are doing.”

“I am confident that if the Green and Libertarians were in those presidential debates – I think it would be a long shot that they would win the election, but I think they would each get 5 or 10 per cent. And that would be a huge thing and it would alter the political conversations that are going on nationwide,” he said.