NY-Gov: Third Party Candidates Eclipse Democrat and Republican in Inclusive Debate

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.


Samuel Wilson said...

The commentary, whether in print, on line, or in earshot has been been pretty contemptible both before and after the debate. People object to the presence of candidates who "don't have a chance to win" without appreciating that the debate itself was the time to determine whether any candidate has a chance to win on merit rather than pre-established power. On the other hand, I've heard people imitating McMillan today, but in the same way they might have chanted "pants on the ground" or whatever that crazy guy sang on that show a while back. I don't know whether his emergence as the "star" of the debate in people's mind is a good or bad thing.

d.eris said...

With respect to McMillan, there is an article today at Uncovered Politics expressing a similar concern and uncertainty, but with respect to third party politics and strategy as such. The author worries that sensationalism re:McMillan will lead to more novelty candidates and less inclusive debates and forums in the future.

I was most pleasantly surprised by Redlich, who, imo, did not initially inspire confidence with his attempt to get the GOP nomination. (The fact that the likes of Paladino won the primary demonstrates the folly of pandering to the dead-enders of the GOP.) But I thought Redlich did a good job presenting what was basically a moderate Libertarian platform, one that ran counter to the caricature of the Libertarian utopian or extremist, common in the MSM.

However, I think for third party and independent activists in general, supporting Hawkins and the Green Party, and aiming to ensure their ballot line in the near future, might be the best choice for any effort to break the Democrat-Republican duopoly in New York State going forward.

Frank Simon said...

The fact is the Republicans are like the democrats there just as bad. Big spendig and lots of hippocrisys. Go to Teapartied.com thats where the discusssion should be the Republicans are not helping us get anywhere!!!

pete healey said...

For a dissenting opinion, here goes my take. People with a "bleeding heart" will like McMillan because that was his entire appeal. It was emotional and heartfelt (quiet... did you hear that? It was the sound a child's stomach growling!) and appealling.
For Redlich, I have asked on another blog that he provide some evidence for his claim that "110,000 bureaucrats are making over $100,000 per year" in New York, or maybe he could just tell me I heard him wrong.
As for Hawkins, his appeal to "make the Green Party the third major party in NYS" was as arrogant and contemptable as I've found him to be in my past dealings with him.
I'm all for inclusive debates and hope they do it again (there is such talk, and Paladino to his credit continues to insist that all candidates be included), but I'm still uncertain where my vote is going on Nov. 2nd. But I have eliminated a couple more possibilities after listening to this debate, so in that sense it was useful.

d.eris said...

Pete, you should write to Redlich and ask him. He seems very eager to talk even with bloggers and commenters online, I've seen him join in on more than a few discussions in comments at a number of websites (IPR, Think 3).

Cranky Critter said...

If there is any real utility to a debate with 7 candidates including a few obvious kooks (and I'm not saying there is), then it's to highlight the fundamentally farcical nature of modern American politics in the current environment.

Who can watch such stuff without wondering when and how we all became so selfish, ginorant, and full of sh!t?