World Affairs Brief, September 12, 2008. Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.

Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief.


Ron Paul held his much anticipated news conference Wednesday at the National Press Club. He called the presidential elections a charade and said voters should reject the pressure to vote for the “lesser of two evils.” Realistically, however, it is the structure of our electoral system which requires a full majority in any primary or election that guarantees a two party system. Until that is changed (there are a variety of ways to do this, such as allowing minority of voters nationwide to pool their votes for an “at large” candidate for Congress) the system will always discriminate against third parties–unless dissatisfaction gets so strong that a third party can fully oust one of the majors.

Paul correctly says that 60 percent of Americans are unhappy with their choices in the race, and he urged listeners to vote for one of the third party candidates and vote against the “establishment candidates.” He appeared at his news conference with only three of the third-party candidates: independent Ralph Nader; former Georgia Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party candidate; and Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate. Incredibly and stupidly, Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate, decided to snub the event and hold his own press conference. I’ve never trusted Barr, being former CIA, and having been guilty of some major moral transgression.

While I applaud Ron for throwing his support behind the Third Party movement, I believe it would have been much more effective for him to endorse one Third Party candidates directly. Before Paul’s convention and statement supporting third parties, almost all Paul supporters would have split their votes mostly among the Libertarian and Constitution Party. Paul’s announcement failed to change any of that or give any one of the parties the attention getting boost necessary to grab the headlines.

The McCain campaign worries that Paul could have drawn votes away from him in November, but Paul’s chances of acting as a spoiler are now markedly diminished. It is telling that Ron Paul was pressured by former Senator Phil Gramm on behalf of the McCain campaign to endorse McCain. That takes real audacity given how the GOP treated Ron Paul delegates,. Paul correctly told Gramm he would never endorse John McCain, on principle. How rare it is to find a man of principle in politics like Ron Paul.