Third parties keep pushing for support

By Dave Gomez

As the election race between President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry comes down to the wire today, several other parties will be looking to pick up support during the election.

The war in Iraq has been at the heart of this year’s election.

Many people felt upset about the war, but fell into line because they didn’t want to be seen as unpatriotic, said Val Vetter, chairwoman of the Libertarian Party of Chicago.

Others against the war are voting for Kerry without realizing he still supports it, but disagrees with how it’s being run, Vetter said.

“We feel the biggest way to be behind the troops is to bring them back safely,” Vetter said.

Green Party members agreed.

“We need to get our troops out of there [and] refocus our resources on things that need to happen in this country,” said Wes Wagar, a member of the Illinois Green Party Coordinating Committee and Green Party USA.

Wagar said there was a failure to allow “so-called lesser parties” to participate in debates and bring out discussions other parties were trying to ignore, such as health care, environmental crises and the “cutting down” of the lower class.

Luring voters during one of the most heated elections in history has raised challenges for third-party candidates.

“That fear of the wrong guy getting in office is keeping a lot of people from voting their true beliefs,” Vetter said.

A nationwide CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll conducted Friday through Sunday showed Bush and Kerry each receiving 49 percent support among likely voters, with Independent Ralph Nader receiving 1 percent and other candidates receiving another 1 percent.

Nader, running as an independent this year, pulled in 2,878,000, or 2.7 percent of the vote, in the 2000 presidential election as a Green Party candidate, according to the party’s Web site.

This year, the Green Party is fielding Texas lawyer David Cobb as their presidential candidate.

Strong anti-Bush sentiment has cost the Green Party some votes this year, Wagar said.

“The mantra is ‘anybody but Bush,’ [who] has well-earned the repulsion he’s gotten from people here,” Wagar said. “There’s a lot of folks who would vote for Nader or Cobb that are voting for Kerry.”

Libertarian Party nominee Michael Badnarik will be the sole third-party presidential candidate to appear on the DeKalb County ballot today, with other candidates available as write-ins.

“We are hoping that if nothing else, the presence of our candidate will get people to think about who they’re voting for,” Vetter said. “People are really ready to look at something different.”

Third parties in 2004

Green Party of the United States

Presidential candidate: David Cobb

Platform issues: Environmentalism, non-violence, social justice and grassroots organizing and a strong stance against corporate abuse.


Libertarian Party

Presidential candidate: Michael Badnarik

Platform issues: Laissez-faire policies that emphasize individual freedom and responsibility over government involvement, favors repeal of taxes as well as anti-drug and anti-gun laws.


Constitution Party

Presidential Candidate: Michael Peroutka

Platform issues: Pro-life, anti-homosexual rights, anti-free trade, pro-Second Amendment and opposed to unconstitutional interventionism.


Socialist Workers Party

Presidential Candidate: Róger Calero

Platform issues: Strong pro-union, pro-workers stance, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialism.