Political Thuggery: They Laughed at James Polk, too

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The original dark horse of 1845, James Polk, pales in comparison to the one running in this election. While Polk may have been a relative unknown, there was no concerted effort on behalf of his rivals to blackout coverage of his candidacy simply because he was an unknown. It was a testament to our Constitution that he was ever elected president.

Times have changed.

It’s sad to say that we have another dark horse candidate who could potentially win the election, albeit much darker and much more under the radar of national attention. Michael Badnarik (Libertarian Party) is very much being swept under the rug and out of sight, which could potentially benefit his position should the veil be pulled back. While Polk only had to contend with the jeers of whigs who asked: Who? Badnarik has to overcome the deafening echo from the national media, which simply says: Who cares.

The blackout is very much real, and it is obvious at this juncture that there is a hidden hand behind the scenes ensuring that threats to the status quo cannot be seen or heard. The agenda for domestic control of the private sector by government regulation is so eerily similar between both parties, that it’s unlikely that anyone would have noticed it if it hadn’t finally been challenged.

Michael Badnarik and David Cobb (Green Party) did just that on Oct 9th, by protesting their exclusion from the debates run by the Commission on Public Debates — a private organization established and managed predominantly by Democrats and Republicans. While both of the candidates meet the requisite 270 potential electoral votes to win the election (49 ballots for Badnarik and 28 for Cobb), there has been massive under-reporting of their candidacy in the media, and thus, no way for them to garner support from those who would like to weigh their options. A recent search for Badnarik as various websites for networks uncovered a startling anomaly with the blackout on 3rd party campaigns:

CNN – 0 mentions (interesting, considering the LP convention was hosted in the same city as their headquarters, Atlanta GA)
FoxNews – 6 mentions (0 since July 20th)
MSNBC – 4 mentions
ABC News – 24 mentions / only 5 shown
CBS News – 0 mentions

If a voter were relying solely on television for their coverage of the candidates, it would seem as though there were only two men running in the race. And of course Nader, who it seems is mentioned purely because of his celebrity status and as the ‘spoiler’ for 2000 and possibly 2004. In such an environment where network media coverage is crucial, it seems logical that the best way to raise one’s stature would be to buy advertising, however that is secondary the amount of free publicity and press that is given at will to those candidates presented by the two primary parties. Clearly, something is amiss

In today’s political climate, television time is paramount to any national candidate’s prospect for being elected. But since the media market has been regulated and overseen to the point that straying from the Republican and Democrat controlled government’s agenda is tantamount to shredding one’s own FCC license. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that the national media’s agenda is the same of the Republicans and Democrats who oversee them: to shut out opposing voices and maintain the status quo of government regulation. With an unconstititional federal election system that is gamed to give massive amounts of matching funds to the two major parties (while discouraging others from trying), to a federally regulated media which applies a perversely unbalanced quid pro quo system of reward for advertising, it’s no surprise that third parties have languished.

The Internet serves as the ultimate leveller for candidates; However, political strategy is still in it’s infancy as far as reaching out to general audiences and is largely seen as a message coordinating strategy for campaigns. The network media plays an integral role in disseminating information to voters about candidates, and for a drastic lapse in coverage to occur, it presents unattainable requirements for campaigns to overcome.

The public is owed fair representation in campaign coverage for determining their choice, and to bypass that obligation will eventually render these regulated markets obsolete as people choose to find news that is trustworthy. When representation cannot be attained through this stacked system, it is clear that founding principles of America have also been swept under the rug and out of sight.

[Stephen VanDyke is a volunteer for the Badnarik/Campagna `04 campaign as the Web Team Coordinator, his opinions may not reflect the views of the campaign nor of the candidate, Michael Badnarik and are not to be interpreted as official statements]

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