We live in a country where a two party system reigns supreme over who or who does not take political office. Every major election, like the presidential election for example, always has to come to either a Democrat or a Republican choice. Why are we a nation built on the notion that a third or fourth party is not necessary? Why is it that we use the same broken system over and over and over again expecting a different result each time? What about diversifying political affiliation is so scary to the ‘powers that be’? These and so many more questions are vital to understand our current political climate predicament.
Thanks to the U.S. Constitution, we have been given the Bill of Rights and all so important Amendments we need in place to securely govern the nation. Seeking after the common good of all people should then be the goal for each and every one of us. For most of us, all we have armed on us is our conscience, whether that is properly conformed or not, for better or for worse it is what we have. So why then are we expected to mash our unique or even ancient standard of beliefs into just two parties? If I could address the two party people, can you honestly say, whether you claim Republican or Democrat, that you FULLY identify with your chosen party?
The ENTIRE platform of that party? So when you proclaim your political affiliation, you can without a shadow of a doubt say that your party is entirely you? Of course not, that would be impossible as we cannot simply fall into just two categories when it comes to politics. If we were all given a canvas to paint upon, would we all do it the same? Certainly not! Some of use would scribble, others with long broad strokes, many would joyfully make a mess and a multitude would express themselves in such a way as to never be imitated again. So when one thinks of the “scribbles and broad strokes” of the thoughts and beliefs we hold so dear, why is it so hard to realize we need a multitude of voices talking about what truly matters to them?
If I got a dime every time I spoke to a serious voter, whether Democratic or Republican affiliate, where they stated at most times regardless of the party they registered with, they feel more like Independents. In a Democratic society, we are supposed to be given a voice, aren’t we? Yet we are given two choices… “the Left” or “the Right”…1 or 2 and if we are using the spectrum of “Left to Right” or rather 1 to 2, why can’t we have a 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc.? Not to mention, the utter hypocrisy of the two parties as they stand now concerning this dramatic display of Democrats and Republicans going head to head but behind closed doors they largely work to the same goal and often times not for our benefit?! In my opinion, it would also cut down the level of control certain lobbyists and power brokers have over a vast amount of people all situated within just two parties. In other words, it is easier to control two parties for malevolent reasons than a multitude of parties with different platforms. So should there be a vast amount of people standing up for what they believed in?
Well, our founding fathers thought so, otherwise they would not have given the authority to the people in order to set proper representation for their beliefs. Will this catch on? It’s hard to say but the more we make the same mistakes with the same old broken system, the more people will wake up and realize they aren’t being truly represented. Until then, I’ll see you at the voting booth!
Third Parties 2016 Elections
Every presidential election in the US has seen a wide range of third party candidates competing for the presidency. The 2016 elections will be no different but exactly as in previous elections the perspective of a third party securing a single state win, a single electoral college member or indeed being competitive anywhere is a long shot.
A few of the notable third parties running for the 2016 presidential elections:
The Libertarian Party
The libertarian party is one of the oldest in the US. They have never gotten an electoral breakthrough but do influence the policies of especially the Republican party that has a significant libertarian wing.
The Libertarian party is still in the process of finding their presidential nominee. The favorite being former republican Gary Johnson.
The Green Party
With Jill Stein as a prolific candidate the Green Party has gotten some attention with an environmentally friendly, progressive left-wing platform this season. The Green Party will be hoping to pick up some Bernie Sanders supporters once Hillary Clinton is officially named the Democratic candidateRead more
Panama Leaks Update – 8th April – 2016
The Panama Leaks keep drawing headlines. Causing problems for leaders across the globe. Currently a lot of attention is focused on the UK, which appears to be the center of the links to the Panama tax haven. Calls for the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron are sounding loud on social media and in British press after his admissions that he indeed held personal stock in his late fathers Panama based fund and sold them for a profit.
Further government links in the UK have been hinted in the British media with George Osborne being accused of stashing away profits from a 6m pound property deal in a Panama company.
Aside from the UK there is still talk about Russian president Putin having links to the Panama scandal. However, no further solid evidence has been presented and in fact Kremlin has hit back with accusations of the leak being information warfare aimed at their president.
In Iceland the prime minister quickly resigned following the scandal. New polls in Iceland show The Pirate Party surging to more than 40% support, however for now the government there is attempting to avoid elections by simply naming a replacement prime minister.
The Panama Papers
The panama papers have already started making heads roll. The Icelandic prime minister resigned after being directly implicated in the leak. Several others are taking heavy fire in the media. However, the Panama Papers have the ability to topple many more heads of state and public servants across the globe.
What are the Panama Papers ? Basically a leak of files from a law-firm helping high earners move income and wealth to Panama to avoid paying taxes in their home countries. As such the Panama Papers are a simple whistle blower case. The unique thing about the Panama Papers is that they do not expose the wrongdoing of any specific person or government, but the potential legal and moral wrongdoings of thousands of government members, public servants and business people across the world.
It is worth noting that sending money to Panama, having a company or a bank account there is not necessarily illegal in any way. In fact usually it is specifically set up not to be. In terms of perception however being named as making maneuvers of this sort is what is damaging, it is not about legal but moral.
Panama Papers Downfalls ?
The panama papers signify a new form of information warfare. Someone found the files. Sent the file to a newspaper and exposed thousands of people across the world. We have no overview yet over everyone implicated. We do not know if the whist blower had a hidden agenda. Was he targeting someone in particular. Has he deliberately left someone out? Months of investigations of the terabytes of documents might reveal the answers down the line.
What we know right now is that several prolific politicians have found themselves in the firing line. First to fall was the Icelandic prime minister as mentioned. Highest in the headlines so far has been Vladimir Putin of Russia and David Cameron of the UK.
Putin is not actually directly implicated by the papers, but media reports link him to funds moved to Panama to the tunes of 2bn dollars via friends, backers and family members. Is that a problem for Putin ? Honestly. No. Whilst democratically elected Vladimir Putin is in a uniquely strong position in Russia in which a perception of him being a bit too close to something dubious matters little and surprises less. As such, Putin does in fact seem like more of a distraction for more vulnerable targets tarnished by the leak.
David Cameron Tax Dodging Links
David Cameron, prime minister of the UK, is a bit of special case in relation to the leak. He is not yet directly implicated, however his father is and several primary donors of his party are as well. That in itself is embarrassing, particularly the family link to tax evasion. However, David Cameron has himself raised himself above the fray on tax evasion by publicly maintaining that being legal is not enough, acting morally is required too.
For instance David Cameron was explicitly outspoken on the amoral but not illegal tax dealings of British comedian Jimmy Carr:
Aside from these moral stances on creative tax dodging David Cameron has stated that the UK was a world leader in combating tax havens and curbing tax dodging. Such statements obviously sound almost outer worldly after the revelations that “the UK are at the heart of tax dodging networks“.
And worse: David Camerons own father was an active perpetrator of these tax avoidance schemes, thus raising clear questions about David Camerons own wealth, efforts to combat tax dodging and honesty in general. To make matters almost comical David Cameron chairs an international conference about stopping international tax evasion schemes next month.
David Cameron is unlikely to fall as a consequence of the Panama Leaks despite being heavily tainted. He has a solid majority in parliament backing him and is not running for re-election. As such the opposition has no possibility of removing him. His own party could but given he is already a dead-man-walking politically it would make sense to keep him in nr.10 till after a potential EU referendum loss, another unpopular budget and other issues that would harmfully tarnish a new Conservative leader.
Prominent Casualties ?
Are we likely to see other prominent casualties of the leak ? Yes. But exactly who is quite unpredictable. Aside from David Cameron, the Icelandic Primeminister and Vladimir Putin most of those implicated are either having more indirect links to the scandal or they are simply difficult to remove by democratic means.
For instance the King of Saudi Arabia has been named. Does it make him unpopular at home? Maybe. Does it topple him? Unlikely. There is no process for removing a Saudi king, nobody to do it and presumably no great shock that he has wealth stashed away either. Similar is true for several Middle Eastern, African and South American leaders and ex-leaders.
In several cases it is possible that the revelations could have influence down the road. The scales could be tipped for the next presidential elections in Argentina. The Ukrainian president could stumble to uprisings or votes. The United Arab Emirates president could face problems. But there is no automatism to it. It would require local public outrage
Is There More ?
More ? The Panama Papers are but a fraction. These are the papers from one big law firm specialized in helping companies and individuals stashing away cash in Panama. Several other companies have the same metier. Plenty of other tax havens are as big or bigger destinations of wealth than Panama. Hong Kong. Cayman Islands. Seychelles. Andorra. Bermuda. British Virgin Islands. Switzerland. Mauritius. And many many more. Each one could have its own leak. From each of the law firms working it. The current leak is might look enormous but it covers a fraction of the entirety.
This of course means too, that nobody is off the hook simply because they are not listed as implicated in this leak. They might simply keep their stash elsewhere. The interesting thing for us though is the political and electoral outfall. We have seen one actual fall. Plenty of humiliation. The longer term consequences are harder to predict. Voters might rise to demand a stop to these practices. Voters might demand measures to hold their leaders accountable, personally and politically. Or. We might settle back into X-Factor and Big Brother when the Panama buzz is over.Read more
The path forward for the republican frontrunner Donald Trump basically has 3 possible outcomes this point. He can win the nomination outright, he can enter a contested convention being just short of 1237 or he can opt to run as a third party candidate.
If Donald Trump wins outright the road ahead is clear for a general election, presumably against Hillary Clinton. However, unless Trump reaches the magic 1237 delegates he seems like a certain loser in every scenario, unless he pulls a clever rabbit out of the hat.
Contested Convention Scenario
A contested convention occurs when no single candidate reaches 1237 delegates on the first vote. What happens next is basically quite messy and not yet set in stone as the republican convention committee has not yet written or published the actual rules for the upcoming convention. What we do know is that the majority of delegates are set free for the second and subsequent votes.
This is where Donald Trump gets in trouble. Not only would he need to attract votes from more delegates for the second vote, he would need to retain his own delegates too. Both seem extremely difficult for him. The delegates won by and pledged to Donald Trump are generally not Trump supporters. Quite to the contrary, they will typically be elected to fill the role by local GOP committees at the lower level of the republican establishment. In other words they are going to the convention bound to vote for Donald Trump on the first vote but likely with no intention of doing so in following votes after they have been set free.
Could Trump come out a winner of a contested convention ? He could of course. If he makes superior use of his self-proclaimed magnificent negotiating skills. He could secure backing from unbound delegates. He could be backed by one of his opponents in return for some future favor. He could put a scheme in motion to reach out to the individual delegates one by one and convince them. It is possible. It is not likely.
Plainly spoken all other candidates are in a better place to do the things required to tilt a convention in their favor. Simply things like easy access to the delegates by having support in the GOP locally suddenly matters. Experience with delegate math becomes important. Wheeling and dealing abilities in republican circles attains crucial importance. Trump is a beginner at those games, the establishment has decades of expertise to lend their favored alternative.
#Daysofrage by Roger Stone
What happens if Trump enters the convention a frontrunner with a lead in delegates and the popular vote but still ends up losing on the convention floor? Chaos. Turmoil. GOP splits. 3rd party run. Basically the situation becomes unpredictably volatile with a huge part of the primary voters for the GOP feeling cheated, a Donald Trump likely firing up his troops and thousands of his most ardent supporters in or around the actual convention center.
Trump-supporter Roger Stone is already rallying under a #DaysOfRage and #Stopthesteal banner. The intention seems to be getting the maximum number of riled up Donald Trump supporters riled up and rallied to the Cleveland convention site. How is that going to end? It could be anywhere from mudslinging, lawsuits and animosity to actual violent riots, a split in the party or a third party run.
A Trump Third Party Run ?
Donald Trump has all but said in recent days that if he feels “treated unfairly by the RNC” he might launch a third party run. In reality such a third party candidacy has very little chance of getting anywhere close to the presidency. It will however fundamentally change the race for everyone.
Donald Trump has consistently surprised us. Doing so by being competitive on a third party ticket would require a miracle. In a general election where all states are first-past-the-post it requires amazing nationwide backing and organisation to compete. In fact it would be a huge surprise if he won a single state. Ralph Nader and Ross Perot both failed to do so. Simply put: The odds are heavily stacked against third parties. Even if they have high favorability ratings in the general population. Donald Trump does not. He has strong support from a core but incredibly high negatives with those not supporting him.
Why run as third party candidate then ? Donald Trumps only motivation does not appear to be winning the presidency. He seems to enjoy the spotlight and he has made it a brand to always counter-punch when attacked. The ultimate counter punch against a GOP that stole what he perceives as his rightful nomination would be a third party run.
Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton vs a GOP winner of a contested convention is almost certainly guaranteeing a Hillary Clinton presidency. Donald Trump will pull some white collar democrats for sure, but he is likely to draw much more heavily on those voters otherwise landing on the GOP candidate. It would further be surprising if GOP downballot tickets did not suffer too. Plenty of races at all levels are tight enough that even a small boycott of GOP candidates from Trump supporters will tilt the balance in favor of the Democrats.
Trump or Bust For the GOP ?
To sum up: Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has 3 ways forward: Winning 1237 delegates, a contested convention or a third party run. His only realistic chance of the nomination and presidency is an outright win in advance of the convention.
Does that mean the GOP is home safe if they stop Trump enough to get to a contested convention ? To the contrary. That outcome might please the #neverTrump crowd mightily, but it more or less guarantees some level of split in the party too.