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Minor Parties Decline in Hyper-Partisan Age
Yonkers Times: November 24, 2018
The recent election for governor showed more New Yorkers voting, and more voting for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and fewer for minor party candidates.
Howie Hawkins was the Green Party candidate for governor of New York in both 2014 and 2018. In 2014, Hawkins got 5 percent of the vote, an impressive total for a minor party candidate. But this year, Hawkins got less than 2 percent of the vote, and the other minor party candidates for governor – Libertarian Larry Sharpe, 1.5 percent; and Serve America Movement candidate Stephanie Miner, less than 1 percent – did worse than Hawkins.
Can Bloomberg Save Us All from Ourselves
By Dan Murphy
An organization called Moreincommon.com commissioned a study on whether Americans are indeed as politically divided as we all seem to be. That study, called The Hidden Tribes of America (hiddentribes.us), found that the two wings of our political discourse, on the far left and far right, are driving our dialogue and divisions, while the majority of us sit in the exhausted majority.
According to that study, 8 percent of Americans are hard-lined progressives, while 6 percent of Americans are hard-lined Conservatives. All of the rest of us may lean left or right but sit in the middle of our American discourse and are willing to compromise and listen to the arguments on the other side to solve our nation’s problems.
A recent Gallop Poll found 39 percent identifying as Independent, 30 percent democrat, and 28 percent republican. Here in Westchester, recent enrollment data shows us that the county has 49 percent registered democrats, 22 percent republicans, and 28 percent independents or not registered to any party.
However, the presence of President Donald Trump has certainly made it appear that we are becoming more divided and either supportive or not of our current president. The recent election for governor showed more New Yorkers voting, and more voting for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and fewer for minor party candidates.
Howie Hawkins was the Green Party candidate for governor of New York in both 2014 and 2018. In 2014, Hawkins got 5 percent of the vote, an impressive total for a minor party candidate. But this year, Hawkins got less than 2 percent of the vote, and the other minor party candidates for governor – Libertarian Larry Sharpe, 1.5 percent; and Serve America Movement candidate Stephanie Miner, less than 1 percent – did worse than Hawkins. (Note: Each of the three candidates did get enough votes for their party lines to appear on the ballot automatically for the next four years).
Into our political divide steps former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg, who served as mayor for 12 years – eight years as a republican and four years as an independent– considered an independent run for president in 2016, but after a careful analysis, decided he could not win the required 270 electoral votes and ended up supporting Hillary Clinton for president.
But Bloomberg, in the past, has also supported republicans, including State Senate republican candidates in New York. Recently, Bloomberg has switched his party affiliation to democrat and has become so disgusted with Trump that he donated $110 million to congressional democrats this cycle, with mixed success. His contributions to House Democrats helped them win a majority, while his donations to Senate democrats did not stop the republicans from holding the majority.
In the final days of the campaign, Bloomberg bought an additional $5 million in advertising that featured himself. The 2-minute ad, called “Higher Purpose,” has Bloomberg reminding Americans about his centrism and experience on both sides of the aisle.
“I speak to you on the eve of the mid-term elections not as a Democrat or a Republican – I’ve been both – but as an American who is deeply concerned with the direction of our nation,” he begins.
“Political violence tears at the heart of our democracy. At these moments of great national tragedy, we look to Washington to lead, to offer solutions, to bring us together and to appeal to all of us as Americans.” The ad includes a photo of the synagogue.
“We expect to be called to a higher purpose. I don’t hear that call coming from Washington these days, do you?
“Shouting and hysterics instead of calm reasoning, pointed fingers instead of open hands, division instead of unity,” Bloomberg says. “We see this most dramatically with the fear-mongering over immigration.
“Americans are neither naive nor heartless; we know that we can be a nation of immigrants while also securing our borders,” he says in the ad. “Sadly, our greatest threats today can be found from within our borders from a government that is constantly on the verge of shutting down over partisan bickering.”
Bloomberg ends by asking Americans to “send a message” to republicans because they have “failed to lead,” and to vote democrat.
Many see the ad buy by Bloomberg as the beginning of his foray into the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. “This is not so he can be seen as a kingmaker,” wrote Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin in the Boston Globe. “This billionaire is looking for political buzz. What better way to launch a campaign for the Oval Office than by taking partial credit for taking back the House? He took his first step toward a 2020 presidential run on Oct. 10 when he re-registered as a Democrat. Trump will have a field day with an opponent who has been a member of three different political parties.
“Trump has already found a nickname for Bloomberg: Little Guy.
“Bloomberg’s decision to abandon an independent run for the White House may disappoint some of us who are looking for a qualified third-party candidate for president who can write the check that can level the playing field that the democratic and republican parties have. The question now becomes: Will democrats across the country embrace and vote for Bloomberg?
“A recent Zogby Poll shows that if Bloomberg can get the democratic nomination, he narrowly defeats Trump in 2020.
“The results were split down party lines. Trump won big with white (Trump leads 50 to 34 percent), male (Trump leads 52 to 37 percent), and older voters age 65-plus (Trump leads 52 to 39 percent). Bloomberg won convincingly with African-Americans (Bloomberg leads 76 to 5 percent), Hispanics (Bloomberg leads 54 to 30 percent), women (Bloomberg leads 49 to 29 percent) and younger millennial voters age 18 to 29 (Bloomberg leads 44 to 29 percent).
“Can a former mayor of NYC who served as a republican and an independent be embraced by a democratic party leaning farther and farther to the progressive left?
“Conservative Trump voters already are dumping on the idea of Bloomberg for president in 2020.
“He thinks he knows how to run your life better than you do.
“No matter how politically fractured the nation may seem, I believe that liberty-loving citizens of all ideologies can unite and agree: Billionaire nanny Michael Bloomberg – the soda-taxing, gun-grabbing, snack-attacking control freak – should keep his nose out of our lives and out of the 2020 presidential race.
“Bloomberg has cast himself as the great healer of the political divide, calling for us to transcend labels, ‘offer solutions’ and ‘work together’ with ‘calm reasoning’ and ‘opened hands’ instead of ‘hysterics,’ ‘fearmongering’ and ‘pointed fingers.’
“Take your phony olive branch and shove it.
“Liberal media supporters who have touted a potential Bloomberg presidential run for the past 10 years cast him as a middle-of-the-road moderate. But how can you be a ‘centrist’ when you have no center? He was a registered Republican when it was convenient, and then a Democrat, and then an independent, and then a Democrat again.
“When politicians bloviate about a ‘higher purpose,’ it’s time to watch your wallets, hide the kids, and lock your doors (front, back and refrigerator).” (End of Malkin column.)
We would love to see Bloomberg on the stage for a presidential debate one-on-one with Trump, or in a three-way debate with the democrat of your choice. Who knows, maybe Bloomberg doesn’t win the democratic nomination and then becomes a third-party candidate for the White House in two years. We hope so.