The Rise of Third Parties

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by Lindsay Nicastro (Vice President) 

The opinions expressed in this piece are solely the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the BU College Democrats at large.

One myth within politics today is that each voter somehow “belongs” to either the Democratic or Republican Party. Third party candidate popularity has been steady throughout American politics. While former third parties may not have held a stronghold within the House, Senate or Executive office- many achieved political game changers. The Women’s National Party (1913-1930) was created by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns for the sole purpose of passing the 19th amendment or women’s right to vote. After the successful passage in 1920, they turned their attention to the supporting the Equal Rights Amendment. In 1896, the Populist Party (or at the time “People’s Party”) nominated William Jennings Bryan, a fighter for labor and agriculture who opposed big banks, who was later endorsed by the Democrat Party as the Presidential Nominee against William Mckinley.

Today, there are three major parties outside of our two party barrier: Libertarians, Green Party and the Constitution Party. The Libertarian Party was formed in 1971 and members boast being more socially liberal than Democrats and more fiscally conservative than Republicans. The Green party emphasizes social justice, environmentalism, peace and non-violence. The Green Party first gained recognition during Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign in 1996 and again in 2000. The Constitution Party defines it’s platform on the founding father’s documents; hence the name. They were founded in 1968 by George Wallace presidential campaign and have since focused on strict immigration laws and penalties towards illegal immigrants.

In this past 2013 Virginia Gubernatorial election, Robert Sarvis, a Libertarian candidate received almost 7% of the vote. This election was highly contested with slightly over 50,000 votes determining Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe as winner. Sarvis, who received 145,762 votes, is now being blamed by the Republican party for stealing voters away from Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli.

Third Party candidates have been the scapegoat for losing nominees for centuries. This seems unfair. As a nation, we do not make voting or participating politically mandatory- nor do we only provide a choice for Democrat or Republican on the ballot. In the past, third party candidates have shown to push other candidates into sharing more honest policy during campaigns or debates.  Third Party candidates do not run to give one opponent more competition and another an advantage. Ralph Nader did not run in 2000 or 2004 as the Green Party Candidate to steal votes from Gore or Kerry. I’m sure getting G.W.Bush elected was the farthest ideal situation for The Green Party (who again pledges pacifism and sustainability).

We need to start realizing that Americans are not drones forced to choose between Republicans and Democrats. We cannot be agitated over those who vote for a candidate they believe in, even if that candidate may not have a chance of winning (In theory, isn’t that the point of voting?). Not everything is black or white. At times people fall within the grey areas and giving  a voice to the minority parties can only benefit the American political system in the long run.

The Widening Gap Between Labor and the Democratic Party

by Alex Blankman (First-Year Representative) 

The opinions expressed in this piece are solely the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the BU College Democrats at large.Labor-Turnstyle

In the 1940s labor unions were created to protect worker’s right and give them a forum to collectively share their voices. In today’s world where corporate power continues to grow, the middle class continues to decrease and unemployment and stagnant wages persist, it would seem that labor unions have more of a place in our society than ever. Nevertheless, participation in labor unions continues to decline and American approval ratings of labor unions have also reached an all-time low.

Many economists and political scientists have offered ideas for these numbers. Some say that the nature of labor has changed. The need for unskilled workers has decreased and it is far more difficult to organize the skilled workers that are most in demand. Some cite the changing demographics and national culture. However, the most important and pervasive reason behind the decline in labor unions is a political battle.

Conservatives have gone head-to-head with unions for years. They have led the smear campaign against the unions for years, bombarding the American people with the idea that unions are simply poor economics. These actions and rhetoric are expected from the Republicans.

So, who is opposing. The answer should be the democrats but, unfortunately, over the past few decades the party has not done its job. The Democratic Party should be at the front lines of this debate. We know that destroying unions for the sake of saving some money is a short-term solution. We know that strong unions are the first step to recreating a middle class and that it is in the interest of almost every American. Yet, we have taken an entirely too weak stance on the unions’ rights.

Labor unions continue to suffer blows from every which way, yet the Democrats have effectively decided that this is not a battle worth fighting. Most recently, on November 13th, Unite Here Local 355 vs. Mulhall will be heard in the Supreme Court. This is one of the most important labor cases of our generation because if the court rules against labor, it could cripple efforts by private sector unions to organize workers.

Regardless of the case’s importance, Democrats have been silent on this issue. Our President is a former community organizer with a great amount of respect for labor unions. The democrats have no reason to not stand up for worker’s rights other than cowardice. Public approval of unions has steadily declined, which only means that it is the responsibility of the Democrats to show the country the valuable place that unions hold. It is up to us to change the precedent and it is about time that we accept the challenge

The Aftermath of Election Day

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On Tuesday, November 5th, Americans across the country voted in a myriad of state and local elections to select their new representatives to many positions.  Of primary importance were the mayoral elections in Boston and New York, and the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, as well as a few other elections of minor impact.

At 9:30 on Tuesday night, Marty Walsh was declared the winner in the Boston mayoral race against John Connolly.  Despite, and perhaps because of, few substantive differences in policy, the election came down to the wire, with the primary distinctions between the candidates on their support bases.  Walsh, a state legislator and former Trade Council Head, ran with the backing of Boston’s unions, and won the race with 52% of the vote.  He will be replacing Mayor Thomas Menino, who has managed the city since 1993.

New York City had its own mayoral election on Tuesday.  After 20 years of Republican management, eight by Rudy Giuliani and twelve by Michael Bl

oomberg, a Democrat, Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, was elected mayor in a landslide victory.  He ran

against Republican Joe Lhota on an incredibly progressive platform, effectively as the anti-Bloomberg.  He won most of the city and 73% of the vote.

Across the river, New Jersey held their own gubernatorial election.  Incumbent governor Chris Christie defeated challenger Barbara Buono in a landslide win with 60% of the statewide vote.  Despite opposing policies supported by the majority of New Jersey’s population, Christie’s handling of the economy and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy ensured his win, setting him up for a possible 2016 Presidential run.

Virginia also elected a new governor.  In an incredibly close election, Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli with 48% of the vote.  Virginia was one of the oddest elections of the year, with the candidates run

ning in front of the backdrop of the government shutdown and a Republican supported law banning “non-traditional sex acts”.  Despite polls predicting a clear marginal victory for McAuliffe, this race was one of the last to be decided, as well as one of the closest.