Look,I have no problem with rich people being full of shit. In fact, when you look at it generally, rich people being full of shit almost seems baked into the cake. People notice and listen to you because you’re rich, whether you’re full of shit or not. The ultimate example of that premise being of course Donald Trump, who rode being rich and full of shit all the way to the front door of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
But I don’t want to get bogged down today in the current hysteria of Bloomberg and Schultz telling Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren to get back into the kitchen because they want him to pony up some extra cash. I want to talk about the real reason,fir the nuclear meltdown, their threatened independent runs, and look at it in a factual manner. There are two things I want to look at, I’ll call them practicality and politics.
I’ll be 62 late next month, and in my entire lifetime, I have heard our democracy referred to in only one basic way, the two party system. This is not constitutional, nor is it legislative, or a fluke. We are a two party system simply because the system itself is set up to make it almost impossibly hard for any nosy busybodies to jump in and interfere. An independent candidate would have to pay for a ground organization in all 50 states to try to get the number of signatures on petitions to ensure that their name appeared on the ballot in each state a daunting task. It was only a few years ago that the Libertarian Party had a wet dream that they actually polled a high enough measly percentage of the votes to make their inclusion on ballots in all 50 states automatic in the next cycle.
Here’s a practical example from my past. Back in the late 60’s and 70’s, when I first became fascinated with politics, running for public in Illinois was absurdly easy, if you were a Republican or Democrat. You paid a nominal filing fee, I believe around $200 at the time, and submit petitions with somewhere around 2,500 signatures, something simple to do. But if you were running as an independent, the filing fee was the same, but since you were unaffiliated with a political party that had logged a threshold number of votes in the last cycle, you had to turn in a number of petitions with signatures totaling something like 0.5% of the total turnout in the last election, which meant well north of 100,000 signatures. And not just any signature would do. Because you were running as an independent, all of your signatures had to be from registered independent voters. And while being a full time resident of Mt Carmel cemetery may not keep you off of a Democratic or Republican petition, the board of elections was very particular about everybody else. Hence, there were no independent candidates for major office in Illinois. Every state has their own rules and procedures for candidacy on ballots, and an independent candidate would have to have people versed in the protocols for all 50 states to get on all of the ballots. Good luck with that.
It is a two party system simply because the system is set up to ensure that it stays that way. Evan McMullin ran a 3rd part candidacy against Trump and the GOP in 2016, was certainly more qualified that His Lowness, and yet the arcane system ensured that his name only appeared on the ballot in a small handful of states. So, regardless of a billionaire idjit like Schultz or Bloomberg swearing on a stack of bibles that they are not running as “spoiler” candidates, the system is set up to ensure that their candidacies are nothing more than couture exercises for personal ego gratification.
OK, so we all agree that we have an inherently two party system. Which basically means that you have a bunch of arrogant blowhards, with one of two different letters after their names, and those two letters allegedly denote some specific fundamental shared beliefs. Not very eloquent I admit, but hey, it’s what we got, and let’s call a spade a spade. But when you talk about independent candidates, there is a broader impact on national politics, and I want to look at that.
For a candidacy to be successful, it can’t be just about
head cheese and big enchilada big cheese and head enchilada. Seriously, either a President Schultz of a President Bloomberg would be useless, simply because they had no base of support in either chamber of congress to make their scatter brained fantasies a reality. To be effective, you have to run a slate of candidates, and that means a national party.
Speaking purely hypothetically here to prove my point, let’s say that our two current troublemakers are both serious, and let’s throw in a third. You have the Schultz Coffee party, The Bloomberg Know-It-All party, and the Adelson Casino party. Now, forget about any of these three muckbills actually winning. But let’s say that they do well enough in scattered places to get a handful of their congressional candidates elected on their coattails. Let’s say that all three parties log 30 representatives each. By themselves, they are irrelevant. But with a block of 90, they sre still irrelevant. Until you consider that with those missing 90 seats, it becomes almost impossible for either Democrats or Republicans to garner a 218 majority in the House to enact an agenda of any kind. At this point, we no longer have a two party democratic system. What you end up with is a European style parliamentary democratic system. You no longer have two sides horse trading with each other to get things done, instead you have the two sides endlessly horse trading and back stabbing with the smaller individual groups, playing them off against each other to try to squeak things through without the help of their major oppisition. Brexit is a world class example of how well this works.
And lest you call me a fool prematurely, I’ll give you a bright, shining example from our own current situation. Shit, dudes and dudettes, we still have a healthy(?) two party system in this country, right? Yet, for the last 8 years, a small minority of flaming asshole Teahadists in the GOP has made it literally impossible for a party with 240 seats to get anything that they want done through the House of Representatives. And they’re all supposed to be on the same side fer Crissakes!
My advice, for what little it’s worth? Everybody take a deep breath, a chill pill, and put a cold compress on your forehead. Schultz has already taken a serious wookie stomp in the middle of what should have been his glorious and serious roll out, and things only get worse from here, especially when you consider that he has neither issues nor solutions to talk about, only that Democrats and Republican parties both suck. And Bloomberg is doing nothing new. If push comes to shove, he’ll declare as a Democratic candidate, and get his snotty ass kicked in the primaries, simply because his ego is too big to become immediately irrelevant in any political conversation as an independent candidate. What good is running if you can’t get on a debate stage and pontificate for 2 hours? Our democracy is safe simply because it was set up to deal with poltroon upstarts like this in the first place.
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