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Column: Lack Of Information About Third Party Candidates Probably To Their Benefit

This story was written by Drew Everson, The Duke Chronicle

As we all know, Al Gore invented the Internet. Barack Obama invented change. Now we know John McCain invented the BlackBerry. Joe Biden is foreign policy. Sarah Palin is the original VPILF. Reaching back to the primaries now, DukeMed alum Ron Paul is just awesome. Hillary Clinton put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. Mike Gravel is a potted plant. Dennis Kucinich saw a UFO! Bill Richardson is funny. We can always associate something with major party candidates.

I think I have found the real problem with third party candidates: We know nothing about them.

First, we have Gene Amondson of the Prohibition Party who only has one issue on his platform: prohibition (doesn't appear to be going after the college-age vote). Other items available on his Web site: his beautiful artwork including wood carvings and Alaskan landscape oil paintings (maybe Sarah Palin will put one up in her office), as well as pictures from his 1999 cruise.

Next is Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, who believes no non-American citizens should be able to own any property or asset in America. Only Americans are allowed to own America. He also thinks anyone should be allowed to shoot illegal immigrants. Which also brings up the point that anyone should be allowed to own a gun.

Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party has a pretty sweet alliteration in his name and believes in limited government. He also has a sweet moustache and emo glasses.

Roger Calero is the Socialist Workers Party candidate. After being convicted of felony drug trafficking in 1988, he turned to journalism, now publishing two Spanish-language newspapers. Born in Nicaragua, he can't constitutionally become president. His campaign Web site is a page for his newspaper, The Militant.

Charles Jay is running for president for the second time on the Personal Choice Party ticket, but picking up the Boston Tea Party (no joke) nomination this time around. His VP choice in 2004, porn star Marilyn Chambers, is way cooler than this year's VP nominee Thomas L. Knapp (who is simultaneously running for Congress in Missouri).

Alan Keyes is back in the presidential race, challenging Obama again (apparently he didn't learn from his 43-point defeat in the 2004 Illinois Senate race). He opposes abortion and likes values. He failed to get the Republican and Constitution Party nominations before settling for America's Independent Party, which he created. While some say, "Try, try again," Alan Keyes says, "Fail, fail again."

Gloria la Riva is running on the Party for Socialism and Liberation Platform. This is her eighth time running for office, all on Marxist platforms. Her Web site features cries like, "Build class unity against racism!" and "Environment: for a rational and planned economy." Plus her running mate Eugene Puryear is one of the dweebiest looking fellows ever.

Bradford Lyttle is running for the U.S. Pacifist Party, but they are on zero ballots thus far. They have cool buttons, though. I think the party name speaks for the platform.

Cynthia McKinney has won the Green Party nomination, which means she's a Ralph Nader wannabe. She supports slave reparations, full employment (uh, who doesn't?) and freedom (a cornerstone of the Bush Administration).

Brian Moore of the Socialist Party seeks to establish a "radical democracy that puts people's lives under their own control." Moore is a former member of the Peace Corps which is so cooler than a community organizer (although Giuliani would still probably laugh).

Ah, so we come to Ralph Nader, another consistently losing candidate who refuses to give up. The former consumer advocate is a fervent environmentalist, which is probably to protect hisgnome brethren.

Tom Stevens founded the Objectivist Party Feb. 2, a party devoted to Ayn Rand. Now he is running for president on that party's ticket. Their Facebook group has 335 members now!

Last, but not (quite) least, Ted Weill is running for the Reform Party. No. 1 on the agenda is the Balanced Budget Amendment. No. 2 is a paper ballot because the butterfly ballots made Palm Beach County a Pat Buchanan (the 2000 Reform Nominee) stronghold.

Now you know all of the third party candidates so you can make an informed decision. Now you understand why they aren't major party candidates.

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