We need more choices.
OK, I'll admit it. I am voting for John Kerry mainly because I do not want to see George W. Bush reelected. Voting for Kerry is the only plausible way I can think of that I can help prevent another four years of King Bush. I would have liked more choices! Yes, of course technically there are like Nader, Peltier, or Badnarik, but they don't have a shot in hell of winning. And they can't even get on the ballots. Why?? Because they are not Democrat or Republican?
Pennsylvania, for instance, required Nader to have 25, 697 (what an odd, arbitrary number) signatures on a petition to get on the ballot. Nader doubled that. Different states require a different number for independent candidates to procure to get on the ballot, but what that number is doesn't matter much to me. What matters is that this system is in place in the first place. Does George W. Bush have to have a certain number of signatures on a petition to get on the ballot? Does John Kerry? I did some research here (http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/democracy/dmpaper3.htm). Apparently, from what I could gather, they do. But you never hear about them getting such petitions. It's nothing more than a formality, maybe. My interpretation of something said in that website: it is important to make it hard for third party candidates because of this logic: the more candidates, the less the number of votes is needed to win, e.g. the winner in a contest with three or four actual, serious, vote-getting candidates will have only been wanted by 1/3 or 1/4 of the people. But multiple-party systems work in other countries. I think more choices matter than that.
What can we do about it? Well, we need a strong third party, one that can seriously challenge the Mules and Elephants. It's been done before. Look at the Whigs. They got four presidents into office: William Henry Harrison (1841)(who died of pneumonia and only served 31 days as President), John Tyler (1841-1845, Harrison's successor, who was actually later thrown out of the Whig party), Zachary Taylor (1849-1850), and Millard Fillmore (1850-1853). True, these are some of the more obscure Presidents, but this shows it can be done. What can we do to promote and give a good third party legitimacy in the political spectrum? Books, movies, television shows perhaps featuring families or strong main characters with allegiance to this party, perhaps? This may sound shallow but it may work, make it cool or hip to belong to this party. It's a sad commentary on the priorities of this country, but get Hollywood behind it and this party will become engraved into the national consciousness. Of course, there's also the internet. We would need scores and scores of websites dedicated to this party, blogs, forums and the like. The next generation will grow up on the internet; it will be like television was for the previous two or so generations. You might even call the party the Internet Party or something similar. The platform could be freedom for all of the real world, the same freedom we still enjoy on the internet! Or something.
Of course, if the third party does get a majority of the popular vote in the election they will predictably get no electoral votes. Then, my friend, sparks will fly!! Let the fun begin!
Well, think about it. Time for me to get back to work.
I got info on the Whig party from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Whig_Party