Martin Van Buren
A third party, the Free Soil Party, was organized for the 1848 election to oppose further expansion of slavery into the western territories. Van Buren received 10.1 % of the popular votes.
FOR THOSE BERNIE SANDERS LOYALISTS WHO ARE EITHER 1) THINKING OF STAYING HOME ON ELECTION DAY, OR 2) VOTING FOR A THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATE LIKE JILL STEIN (GREEN) OR GARY JOHNSON (LIBERTARIAN), OR 3) VOTING FOR DONALD TRUMP BECAUSE HE’S “ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT,” THINK AGAIN.
The first alternative, which is sometimes justified by saying, “My vote won’t count anyway,” is simply irresponsible.
The second will only shift votes away from the Democrats and could hand Trump the presidency. The third alternative makes no sense at all if you have progressive views, because Trump’s Republican Party and the Democratic Party are polar opposites.
There are times for third parties and times for protest votes, but this is not that time.
Hillary Clinton does have character flaws, but Trump is lacking even the most basic ethical standards, or even more spot-on, he lacks basic human decency. Some say he’ll change once he’s sitting in the Oval Office—I doubt it. Already, he’s isolating us from our allies as he embraces one of the world’s leading despots, Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Demagogues do indeed make strange bedfellows.
Supporters of both Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein have pressured the Democratic Party to move closer to its roots of championing the middle class and the disenfranchised.
Over the past 20 to 30 years, the party moved so far to the right that it became a shadow of its former self. The simultaneous drift of wealth toward the so-called one-percent is one symptom of Washington’s failure to provide the mechanisms needed to redistribute wealth, rather than concentrate it. This election cycle’s Democratic platform shifts the party back to its progressive roots.
The myth that American corporations have a tax burden that is inhibiting growth is now being told by Trump and the Republican cohort. The statutory rate of 35 percent is a joke. In reality, the rate for large corporations is roughly 14 percent, and for 50+ companies on the Fortune 500 list, it is zero. The reason for this is simple: corporations, in the form of K-Street lobbyists, essentially write the tax code, one that favors both stockholders and corporate officers.
Simply put, the tax code is riven with loopholes designed to concentrate wealth. One result is the obscene compensation paid to some CEOs that range from 400 to 600 times the average worker’s. The theory of “trickle-down economics,” where reducing taxes at the top will mean more for all Americans, has been discredited time and again. A critical component of “wealth redistribution” (a dirty term among the plutocrat class) is a progressive tax rate, whereby tax rates increase as incomes go up. Over the past 50 years, the wealthiest have seen their tax rates cut in half, almost to the same rate as the middle class.
By itself, a more-equitable tax code will not stop this drift, but expanding the middle class would. One of the keys is making education affordable, without having graduates face years of loan repayments.
Another would be massive public works programs designed to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure, not only roads, bridges, and tunnels, but also the electric grid, water supplies, water treatment and sewer systems, and airports and seaports. Neither private enterprise nor local municipalities have the resources to fund such projects at the level required.
Leaky water infrastructure in Skokie, ILL. 22 billion gallons of water lost.
We as a nation are kidding ourselves if we believe that flat or decreasing tax revenues will make America great. Who benefits from efficient, modern infrastructure? Certainly, the average person does.
But, arguably, the greater beneficiary is American business. The need for efficiency does not stop at the loading dock or at the interface connecting commerce with the Web. Nor does it take focus groups or market studies to conclude that increased efficiency increases profits. And with an equitable tax code, the common good would be enhanced along with those increased profits.
In November, Americans will choose between hope and engagement with the world, and hate and disengagement (or engagement with the wrong people). To me, the choice is obvious.