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Part 2 © 2009 Independent News Services
Written By: Steven Thompson "A piece of American history you won't find in any High-School or College text book."-
Following the general election in 1996, reformers across America had a few things to be elated with. In Washington state the Reform Party made the history books by becoming the first Independent political movement to obtain major party ballot status since the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party created by Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. This broke an eighty-four year drought where the corrupted two-party political system dominated (as it continues today with the aid of the equally corrupt mainstream press) the American body politic.
During the off year (local elections only) of 1997, the newly created Reform Party of Washington was busy putting together it's state bi-laws and party platform. While Washington state would officially recognize the Reform Party as a major ballot status political party, the state wouldn't allow us to have a state caucus until we'd seated a member within the state legislature. State caucuses are partisan state employees who are of course funded with tax dollars.
As with the presidential race in 1996, the press continued it's total lack of interest in the Reform Party. This obvious bias with the state media would become blatantly obvious by the time the national primary season happened in 1998.
In order to hold major party ballot status the Reform Party would need to nominate and promote a statewide candidate in the 1998 general election. The state party officials did everything in their power to attract a viable candidate to run against US Senator Patty Murray(D). The best choice for this position would have been incumbent Congresswoman Linda Smith(R) from Vancouver. Ms. Smith had previous communication with Ross Perot and appeared on the surface to be in agreement with the founding principles of government reform as outlined in the Reform Party's founding documents. For whatever reason, Congresswoman Linda Smith decided to run for US Senate as a republican.
With our preferred option unwilling to run, several meetings with Washington state reformers took place where we finally agreed to nominate one of our own. Press releases were sent out informing the media of our 1998 state convention to be held in Ellensburg, WA. Once again, the political press corp covering the state of Washington seemed uninterested in covering our Independent organization.
Following the state Reform convention, Independent candidate Steven Thompson, the author of this article hit the campaign trail. At some point, I honestly felt I would have the opportunity to meet and debate the other major party candidates. How could the new kid on the block that had obtained a historical and difficult achievement not seen in Washington state since 1914 be ignored?
Invitations to county political forums were coming into my campaign office on a daily basis. In addition, national groups were sending out questionnaires wanting to know my position on various issues such as term limits and abortion.
Just as I believe today. Yes, all members of Congress should fall under some form of term limits. If the President of the United States can only serve two 4-year terms then why should a member of Congress be allowed to serve forever? As for abortion, I believe in a womans right to choose however, I'm not in favor of late-term abortion nor do I like the idea of using tax money to fund teenage abortion for a minor without parental notification. As the potential grandparent, I'd like to have the option of accepting the added responsibility of raising my grandchild until my daughter becomes mature enough to take on the added responsibility herself. I'm also in favor of adoption over abortion but believe the pregnant mom should have some legal flexibility.
I've chosen to disclose this information to help you understand why I believe I'm an Independent. In my mind, anyone who's fiscally conservative by believing in a smaller federal government with more authority going to individual states and, liberal on most social issues couldn't be considered all liberal or all conservative. If the truth were to ever be reported in the mainstream press, I believe there would be just as many registered voters like me as there are who consider themselves as far right or far left.
Sorry to get off subject but, I thought covering this ground was important to the overall story. I'm not impressed when I hear some two-party pundit stating that so and so is a conservative democrat or a liberal republican. In reality, these individuals who aren't far right or far left are Independent voters. They run as one or the other because that's where the money flows from special interests. And, until we can get big money out of our election process the odds of any real positive political change is zero. The mainstream media sets the price and earns hundreds of millions of dollars every 4-years when America elects a new President. Objectivity in political reporting is completely trumped by enormous profits. The US electoral system is rigged and "We The People"- are left with the unpleasant and all too often unconstitutional outcome.
As days turned into weeks, organizations such as US Term Limits had time to realize they had an entire political party advocating for their cause. Why they took the time and spent their resources to send their questionnaire to me seemed like a wasted effort. No followup or support ever reached my campaign. With very limited funds this Reform candidate was running out of time. The campaign was the political equivalent of David vs. Goliath. Not because of issues or policy, but money to feed the media.
Campaign Finance Reform was a key platform issue for all Reform candidates. If you couldn't step into a voting booth to cast your vote you couldn't contribute to our campaigns. We were advancing our cause by setting the example and by doing so were limiting our ability to raise money to feed the mainstream media. No feed means no press coverage. No press coverage means the people who cast their votes have no idea of who you are and what you represent.
I traveled much of the state leading up to the primary election. When invited to speak before organized political forums in various counties across Washington I'd eagerly participate thinking that sooner or later I'd run into Patty Murray and Linda Smith. The opportunity never happened. Usually, the day after a forum, someone within my campaign would hand me a newspaper with a front page story about some well attended $500.00 per plate fund-raising dinner for one of the front runners. While I was out shaking hands and speaking with a limited number of voters, Murray and Smith were busy raising the massive war chest required so they could then buy their way into political coverage by feeding the mainstream press.