Last night was the first, and likely last, debate featuring all seven ballot-qualified gubernatorial candidates in the state of New York. In addition to the shills of the Democratic and Republican parties, many New Yorkers got their first look at Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, Libertarian Warren Redlich, Kristin Davis of the Anti-Prohibition Party, Charles Barron of the Freedom Party, and Jimmy McMillan, running on the Rent is Too Damn High ballot line. McMillan is today widely seen as having stolen the show with his eccentric style and animated delivery.
Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Republican Carl Paladino perfectly embody everything that is wrong with the two-party state and duopoly system of government. Cuomo is a professional politician, and, as son of former governor Mario Cumo, a representative of the hereditary ruling class that is being bred by the Democratic-Republican party establishment. Paladino is a multi-millionaire and lifelong Democrat who changed his affiliation to the Republican party just a few years ago, likely in preparation for his campaign to purchase the GOP's nomination for governor. On stage with the five other gubernatorial candidates, long-time grassroots political activists, a businessman and a former madam, Cuomo resembled nothing so much as the proverbial used car salesman, and Paladino a broken man.
The presence of the Green and Libertarian candidates, Howie Hawkins and Warren Redlich, revealed just how superficial the opposition is between the Democrat and the Republican. If you support Democrats because you still believe the myth that they stand for the interests of the middle and working class, that they provide a viable opposition to Republicans, that they stand for social values and justice, there is no question that you should vote for Howie Hawkins (or Charles Barron of the Freedom Party, for that matter). As noted by the Daily Caller, Cuomo did his best to "distance himself from the progressive, Democrat agenda." On the other hand, if you support Republicans because you still believe the myth that they are opponents of big government, that they stand for individual rights and liberties, and that they provide a viable opposition to the Democrats, there is no question that you should cast your ballot for Warren Redlich.
As noted above, it was Jimmy McMillan of the Rent is Too Damn High party who stole the show at the debate. With his strong stage presence and eccentric style – an elaborate beard, black gloves, etc. – McMillan was an unforgettable figure. And with his fast paced delivery, he likely was able to speak twice as many words, if not more, than his rivals in the small amounts of time allotted by the debate moderators. As for his plan, McMillan stated that, if he is elected governor, he will declare an economic state of emergency in New York, and provide immediate relief to renters across the state, with an emphasis on small businesses and parents, in order to help put "money in your pocket and food on the table."
In its coverage of the debate, the headline at the New York Times reads: "Albany Governor Debate Verges on Farce." As the political establishment's official paper of record, the NYT obviously bristled at the idea that anyone other than the Democratic and Republican party candidates would be included in the forum. Yet the real farce in US politics today is most clearly apparent in the delusion that the sham opposition between Republicans and Democrats provides the people of the United States with a choice of candidates capable of representing the people's interests in government, rather than those of corporatist demagogues or the hereditary ruling class.