The total system is rigged. The 1998 US Senate campaign wasn't about issues or policy. It wasn't about fairness or equality. The statewide election to determine who went to Washington DC to represent all Washingtonians was all about raising money to buy television and print ads. In return for all the free campaign money, the press assured the deep pocket candidates that they would continue to dominate news coverage buy totally dismissing the new major party candidate.
Televised debates among the front runners wouldn't occur until after the primary election. The way the bi-partisans wrote the rules in my home state, any candidate, major party or not, who doesn't receive 5% of the statewide primary vote is finished. There were a total of three Reform Party candidates on the primary ballot for US Senate. None would obtain the required 5%. Once again, as in 1996, the nominated Reform Party candidate was toast prior to the general election.
Information has never become available to confirm or deny whether or not the RNC and DNC had any involvement with the two additional Reform candidates that were not nominated by the state Reform Party membership.
What about Ross Perot in 1998? As stated in part 1, Perot traveled to Washington state to deliver campaign speeches in favor of the Contract For America and the GOP in 1994. Washington state Reform Party members and leadership worked their tails off for Perot in 1992 and 1996. In 1998, the very same reformers would have greatly benefited had Mr. Perot been truly interested in building our Independent political party. Ross Perot was, as stated in an old Beatles song, "He's a real nowhere Man, sitting in his nowhere Land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody. Doesn't have a point of view, knows not where he's going to, isn't he a bit like you and me?"-
The Reform Party was hung out to dry. Without a truly objective non-biased press. Without the ability to debate the front running candidates. And finally, the most important dagger through my heart, without the support of the man who'd opened my eye's in 1992 and, the eye's of tens of millions of dedicated American people. H. Ross Perot had now decided to sit on his ass, in his comfortable home near Dallas and, become the Reform Party of the United States of Americas, nowhere Man.
The 1998 general election was not without surprise or fanfare. All of a sudden the national press has decided to cover a Reform Party candidate. Jesse "the body"- Ventura has won in Minnesota. Reformers across America have something to build upon. We've somehow elected a Governor!
Our elation was quickly diminished. Like someone tossed a bucket of water on a burning campfire. The nowhere Man has called a press conference from the national Reform Party offices in Dallas, Texas. Not wanting to share the spotlight, the nowhere Man goes on national television not to congratulate our newly elected Governor for his stunning Reform Party victory but, to ask for Jesse Ventura to leave the Reform Party.
In all the chaos following the election night returns of 1998, Governor-elect Ventura was interviewed by Playboy magazine where he made some off the cuff remarks about underwear and organized religion. For something as trite as this, Ventura was asked by Perot to walk away from our Reform Party. There were no national or state meetings to discuss Governor-elect Ventura's remarks and the official reform Party response. The little dictator, aka nowhere Man, took it upon himself to deflate our only shinning star.
I attempted to communicate with Governor Ventura. I asked him to ignore the little dictator and to take the Reform Party and run away with it. With millions of supporters and Governor Ventura at the helm, the Reform Party could have matured with or without any assistance from the nowhere Man.
How could this be? Ventura's victory was historical. In itself this achievement elevated the Reform Party to the national stage. It's what we'd dreamed for in every state across America. How could our national leaders (Perot/Verney) be so ignorant? Did someone turn H. Ross Perot into the Reform Party's biggest enemy? Perhaps another massive government contract between his company Perot Systems and the Clinton administration persuaded Perot to turn against a political machine he helped create? I've attempted to get answers to these questions but the nowhere Man hasn't taken time to respond. I've also attempted to ask Dr. Pat Choate but he as well hasn't bothered to respond. Something happened but to date the truth has been very elusive. Why wont you tell us the truth, Mr. Nowhere Man?
The final nail in the Reform Party coffin happened in 2000 when ultra-conservative Pat Buchanan decided to run for President as a Reform Party candidate. Both Pat and his sister Bay appeared to be finished with the GOP who had chosen to back George W. Bush for President. On the Democratic side the nomination went to Vice President Al Gore.
Buchanan received over 12 million dollars in federal campaign funds and stated that he'd grown tired of the "beltway party"- (two-party system) that controlled Washington DC. The nowhere Man didn't endorse any of the Reform candidates but Dr. Pat Choate decided to endorse Buchanan. The candidacy of Buchanan and running mate Ms. Ezola Foster fractured the Reform Party into two groups which more resembled the far left vs. the far right.
Personally, I wasn't a big fan of Pat Buchanan. I saw his candidacy as yet another blatant attempt by the GOP to discredit or demoralize our attempt of building an Independent political force. That said, Buchanan was the only candidate in my mind who had any chance of obtaining the 5% required for the Reform Party to win back what it lost in 1998, major party ballot status. During the 2000 election campaign, I received several telephone calls from left leaning Reform Party members in Washington state voicing their anger towards me, as if I had anything to do with the Reform Party's total lack of national leadership. In other words, had Dallas officials, including the nowhere Man, really wanted to build the Reform Party, they would have begun the process of identifying our 2000 candidates for President directly following our disappointing results of 1996. I do regret what happened in 2000 and lost several good political friends in the process.
Pat Buchanan received less than 1% of the national vote in the 2000 general election that eventually went to Bush following the hotly contested Florida recount. The Reform Party was unable to regain ballot status in Washington state and has been dormant ever since.
Since the year 2000, the future of the Reform Party has been in question. Party activists from some states have attempted to keep the Reform Party alive. At least two separate factions remain to this day. Two separate websites are currently online claiming to be the real Reform Party. However, unless tens of millions of hard working dedicated Americans choose to once and for all do something other than complain, chances are good that we've seen the last great hope for any real Independent political party that has any real chance of reforming our government at every level.
I for one will hold out hope that "We The People"- will someday get off our collective butts and do something to save our nation from the lies, corruption and deception that are firmly in control of everything we hold sacred. Every branch of government, from our Supreme Court to Congress, President to Governors, State Legislators to Mayors are following the money and, all too often at the expense of "We The People."- How? Our jobs are being exported. Our financial institutions are stealing us blind. All too often, our courts look the other way when the criminals wear a white collar. When "We The People"- want to present evidence in front of a grand jury we're told we don't as citizens have that right. In essence, you and I are slaves in what is supposed to be a free society of self-governance. Just as the Reform Party, our democracy is on life support and is all but dead.