News Release

Election Perspectives

GWENDOLYN MINK
Professor of politics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Mink said today: “What’s wrong with the two-party system is not that there are only two parties. What’s wrong is that ours is a middle-class party system that leaves out a host of programmatic alternatives and choices, and correspondingly demobilizes millions of citizens. Electoral laws protect the two parties, but that’s not the only reason electoral competition is generally so limited and limiting. Part of the reason is that the politics of solidarity in society is not as strong as it could be. Another part of the reason is that we wait for presidential years to notice and resist the two-party oligarchy. Invigorating democracy will take daily work, either to build alternative electoral institutions or to force democratization of one of the two parties.”
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BARBARA EHRENREICH
Author of numerous books including the forthcoming Nickel and Dimed,Ehrenreich said: “Support for Nader is only one small sign of a much larger growing alienation from the electoral process and the two parties that benefit from it. Much of the electorate seems unable, even after three debates, to detect any gripping differences between the major candidates. An even starker sign of alienation is that a majority of eligible voters are unlikely to vote. The working poor, who supposedly have the most at stake in this or any election, are especially well-represented among those who now abstain from voting.”
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JOHN C. BERG
Author of The State of the Parties: The Changing Role of Contemporary American Parties, Berg is director of graduate studies in the Department of Government at Suffolk University. He said today: “In the years before the Civil War, antislavery voters were told they had to vote for the lesser evil — slave-owning Whigs like Henry Clay. They refused, in small but growing numbers. The Whigs collapsed, the Republican Party was born, Lincoln became president, and the slaves were freed. Today, anti-corporate voters are being handed the same lesser-evil logic. But the sweeping political changes we need will only come when voters refuse this logic and thereby force the collapse of the two-party monopoly.”
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JOHN BONIFAZ
Founder of the National Voting Rights Institute, Bonifaz said: “Over time, the nation has seen the elimination of numerous barriers to voting rights — from property, race, gender, and age qualifications to exclusionary white primaries, poll taxes, high candidate filing fees and vote dilution schemes. Today, we must face up to the newest voting-rights barrier: the ‘wealth primary.'”
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TED GLICK
National coordinator of the Independent Progressive Politics Network and author of Future Hope: A Winning Strategy for a Just Society, Glick said: “The winner-take-all nature of the electoral system erects numerous hurdles for third parties. Instant runoff voting and proportional representation are needed reforms.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167