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Third Parties Speak Out

Two-party system offers no real choice, says former Republican candidate Ron Paul

By Madison Hartke-Weber | September 11 , 2008
Representative Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas and former 2008 presidential candidate, left, takes part in a news conference with third-party candidates at the National Press Club in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008. From left: Paul, former Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney from the Green Party, Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, and Ralph Nader. (Photo: ©J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images)
Representative Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas and former 2008 presidential candidate, left, takes part in a news conference with third-party candidates at the National Press Club in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008. From left: Paul, former Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney from the Green Party, Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, and Ralph Nader. (Photo: ©J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images)

While most voters in America will be drawn to voting for either Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain for President, some voters will instead cast their votes for third-party candidates on November 4.
 
Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who recently ran in the presidential primaries as a Republican candidate, urged voters to do just that—vote for the third-party candidate of their choice. He made his declaration at a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
 
To emphasize his point, he brought with him three third-party presidential candidates: Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, and Ralph Nader of the Independent Party.
 
Paul invited these particular candidates because they are on enough state ballots to theoretically win a majority of electoral votes to be President. Also, they all share similar views on foreign policy, civil liberties, the national debt, and the
Federal Reserve.
 
"The truth is that our two-party system offers no real choice," Paul said.
 
Saying that many people believe that voting for a third party candidate is a wasted vote, Paul suggested that the real wasted vote is voting for "the lesser of two evils." He suggested that a stronger statement could be made by rejecting the two major party candidates.
 
The event was a chance to get a look at some of the top third party candidates in this election cycle. Third party candidates traditionally garner few votes and little media attention.
 
Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney spoke out about the three values that define her party: peace, justice, and a fair democracy. She also believes strongly in people voting on the issues that matter to them the most.
 
Another third party candidate, Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, spoke about his disillusionment with the Bush administration. "The Republican Party no longer lives up to what I live up to," he said. Baldwin is a pastor who once worked for President Ronald Reagan. He said he was drawn to the Constitution Party because it is the main party for many conservative Christians.

Independent Ralph Nader, like the other third-party candidates, is also very loyal to the Constitution and the concept of liberty for all. To demonstrate his loyalty to this historic document, Nader pulled a copy of the Constitution out of his lapel pocket. He urged Americans to vote for third-party candidates. 

A fourth third party candidate was invited to appear at this event but decided at the last moment to decline. Former Congressman Bob Barr, candidate for the Libertarian party, had asked Ron Paul to be his running mate. Paul said no, and Barr decided to hold his own press conference. Both were in the National Press Club, back to back.

Barr sat down for a one-on-one interview with this Scholastic News Kid Reporter after his press conference.

ELECTION 2008

Scholastic Kid Reporters are on the campaign trail. Keep up with the latest election news in this special report.

MORE NEWS FOR KIDS

Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from Scholastic News Online.

 

About the Author

Madison Hartke-Weber is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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