Published in The Denver Post on November 8, 1995
In his column of October 12, Cal Thomas asks, "Will the last Democrat to depart please turn out the lights?" One the same day, your unsigned editorial cites polling date that reveal widespread grassroots widespread grassroots support for a third major political party.
Unfortunately, the Democrats will be very much with us for quite some time. Moreover, it is unlikely that a third party will pose a serious threat the the Republicans and Democrats any time soon. This is because a plethora of election and ballot access laws guarantee the hegemony of the Republicans and Democrats. We are unlikely to see a serious overhaul of ballot access laws anytime soon. Democrats have fought tooth and nail against term limits. Indeed, former House Speaker Tom Foley sued his Washington State constituents for voting for term limits.
Republicans, who were the minority party for 40 years are reveling in their new status; they are unlikely to implement any reforms which may prompt too much competition at the ballot box.
Broadening ballot access is, therefore, something on which common citizens will have to take more initiative. Reforms are most likely in states that allow citizens to petition to place measures on the ballot. At a more fundamental level, no one is forcing anyone to vote for candidates who don't represent their views.
If you do what you have always done, you will get that you have always gotten. If we continue to insist on supporting only the established parties, we should not complain about the deteriorating quality of our government.
Douglas F. Newman
Freely Speaking: Speeches and Essays by Doug Newman
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