On Friday May 13, two people announced their intentions to run for President. Jason Gatties announced that he will seek the nomination of the Boston Tea Party, “I want to ensure the BTP members have a true liberty minded candidate to consider for the nomination when we all come together and vote in December.”[BTP] Though Ron Paul’s announcement that he will seek the Republican Presidential nomination garnered much more media atention. Paul said “Time has come around to the point where the people are agreeing with much of what I’ve been saying for 30 years the time is right.” When asked why he would not run as an independent candidate Paul said, “Running as an Independent here is just about impossible unless you’re a billionaire like Ross Perot. You don’t get on debates. If I was an independent George, you would not have me on this program (Good Morning America) this morning.” He continued by saying that he is a Republican and has been “all these years” except for 1 year and that he will “nudge Republicans to stick to their guns on fiscal conservatism.”
Ron Paul is partially correct, he likely wouldn’t get into debates if he were an independent or “minor party” candidate. Though to say it’s “impossible” to run as an independent is not true. It is difficult, though not impossible to obtain ballot access in enough States to theoretically win a majority of the Electoral College votes. In fact, in each of the last 5 Presidential elections,at least 3 candidates that were not members of the Republicratic Duopoly were on enough ballots to theoretically win the Presidential election. In 2008, Ron Paul even held a press conference inviting the four “minor party”/independent Presidential candidates that could have theoretically won the election. Only three of the candidates attended – Constitution Party Chuck Baldwin, a Baptist minister; Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney, a former Congresswoman from Georgia; and Independent Ralph Nader – united in agreement and support of a four-point platform on foreign policy, privacy, the national debt, and the Federal Reserve. Bob Barr opted not to attend claiming it would be a “waste of time” to attend since Paul was not going to endorse anyone for president. During the press conference Ron Paul called upon voters to reject Democrat Barak Obama and Republican John McCain and cast their ballots in November for one of the four third-party candidates instead.
“This (election) system is driven by the conviction that only a major party candidate can win,” said Paul. “Voters become convinced that any other vote is a wasted vote. It’s time for that conclusion to be challenged and to recognize that the only way not to waste one’s vote is to reject the two establishment candidates and join the majority (of Americans), once called silent, and allow the voices of the people to be heard.”
I’m curious if Ron Paul will once again call upon voters to reject the Republican & Democratic parties if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination. If Ron Paul does win the GOP nomination, will he agree to debate his “minor party” opponents? I for one, would like to see a debate between Ron Paul, Ralph Nader and the nominees of several minor parties. However, that debate can only happen if the GOP allows Ron Paul to become their nominee AND Ron Paul is allowed by the GOP to debate a candidate not named Barack Obama.
I will not discourage anyone from campaigning for Ron Paul or any other candidate seeking any party’s nomination. That being said, instead I will focus my energy on building the Boston Tea Party, ensuring the party nominates the best candidate possible and obtaining ballot access in as many states as possible.