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What Brought the Green Party and the Libertarian Party Together? This Wall Street Tycoon’s Lawsuit…

Peter Ackerman has a flair for timing.

The former Michael Milken acolyte and Wall Street tycoon, who maintains a guarded set of offices one block away from the White House, has managed to make a political splash just as members of Congress head for the exit, just as cable news channels start covering shark attacks again, and just as media pundits look for a news story, any news story, to include in their next political column.

Here’s the political splash: the Wall Street tycoon and the Libertarian Party have joined up with the Green Party to file a joint lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission and, through them, the Commission on Presidential Debates. You read that right: Peter Ackerman, on behalf of Americans Elect and his new organization Level the Playing Field, filed a lawsuit today (June 22, 2015) along with the left-leaning Green Party and the me-leaning Libertarian Party. The goal: change the rules for the presidential debates in 2016.

There are a lot of interesting details in the text of that lawsuit, and I’ll have something to say about it over the next few days, but for tonight let me just share the link so you can read it for yourself. Read the full text of the lawsuit here — and please tell me what you think.

17 thoughts on “What Brought the Green Party and the Libertarian Party Together? This Wall Street Tycoon’s Lawsuit…”

  1. PDiddie says:

    I’m all in on this deal (including third parties in the debates). It’s the most serious challenge to the duopoly that can be mounted. And there’s no good excuse for having excluded them to this point.

    1. Korky Day says:

      Agree completely.

  2. Bruce Nappi says:

    Jim,

    Sure, this type of effort makes sense. But it’s a finger in the dike – the tip of a big iceberg of corruption – and fodder for “media pundits looking for a news story” to avoid addressing the larger issues. Those larger issues are: how does modern society STOP its governments from failing to implement laws they pass; from taking actions that are violations of existing laws; and, why do people put up with it? Answering these questions leads to the much larger problems I’ve discussed a number of times already.

    First, is THE COMPLEXITY OF MODERN SOCIETY. MOST PEOPLE CANNOT INTUITIVELY COMPREHEND COMPLEX ISSUES. This is why two political parties, and a media driven by the notion that there are “always two sides to an issue” is so popular. A TWO sided arrangement allows issues to be polarized into extremes that are easy for people to discriminate.

    Second, is THE COMPLEXITY OF MODERN SOCIETY. MOST PEOPLE CANNOT INTUITIVELY COMPREHEND COMPLEX ISSUES. ( Does this sound like I’m repeating myself??) Because people can’t intuitively understand the complexities of modern life, they bungle a lot of things. To try to get the best out of their mistakes, they “cut corners”; they “bend the rules”. This has become THE way of life world wide. Who drives 65 mph on highways? Who reports all their finances accurately to the IRS? Where do we find equity for race or social status? Society has created a “cheating” culture. It pervades our lives. It is rampant in business, both private or government, which is rife with incompetence and fraud. So, out of self defense, the last thing people want is a culture, or a government, that is strict about INTEGRITY. They are constantly afraid that “what goes around, COMES around”.

    The irony of this view is that it was already completely clear to the founding fathers of this nation. They did their best to structure the federal government with THREE parts, each having OVERSIGHT on the others, hoping to prevent any one from gaining control of the whole. They tried to put rules in place to limit the power of corporations. About every 80 years in our history, the controls have broken down. When Reagan and Clinton handed control over to the banks and corporations, and removed controls on their buying congress, the founding dreams of this country collapsed. And I will repeat one more time, this is not just due to greed. In this latest round, a new driver has emerged: the COMPLEXITY of modern life created by technology in the hands of cave-man evolved human brains unable to understand it. When this is added to the problem of a population size that EXCEEDS the planet’s carrying capacity by almost 300%, and the rising shortage of many natural resources, mounting an effort to fix election law seems like straightening the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    1. Korky Day says:

      Thanks, Bruce Nappi.
      Interesting ideas, but overall you’re wrong. Other countries are just as complex, but they don’t have Duopolies. The USA does because of an accident in 1789. The founders tried to create a non-partisan system, but accidentally created the foundation for the Duopoly, which arouse after Washington’s terms.

      1. Mark says:

        I would argue that the reason the “duopoly” exists in the US is because legislative districts contain too many people. The population of the US is just shy of 320 million. There are 435 seats in the US House of Representatives. That’s an average of 735,000 people per legislator. Compared with other countries, that’s really high. Here’s a link that gives you an idea where we stand in comparison to other countries:
        http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/04/representatives_parliament

        An ideal size for legislative districts would be no more than 100,000 people. In fact, the first amendment proposed to the US Constitution attempted to limit legislative districts to 100,000. See the web site http://www.thirty-thousand.org/ for more on this story. For the first 130 years legislative districts were of this size. But in the 1920s Congress passed legislation limiting the number of US Representatives to 435. It’s not in the Constitution. It could be easily repealed. It probably won’t happen because it would require Congress to vote for something that would reduce their power. By having legislative districts this small we would have over 3000 members to the US House of Representatives, but that might be a very good thing.

        The power wielded by any one Representative would be cut dramatically.

        The District of Columbia couldn’t house all these representatives. They would have to have their primary offices in their home districts. With telecommunications today, there’s no need for them to be physically present in DC. They might go there occasionally, but for the most part they would be in their home districts where the electors would have easy access to them. Only representatives who are on committees or hold special positions (Speaker of the House, etc.) would have offices in DC.

        The influence of lobbyists would be drastically cut. They would have to spend far more money to influence a significant number of legislators.

        Campaigns would truly be local. Most cities would be divided into many districts. Campaign costs would be far lower.

        Minority candidates and candidates from third parties would win more seats.

        The political “Center” would be much better represented and those on the extremes would have a lessened voice.

        The cost to pay these additional thousands of legislators and their staff would be a few billion a year, but when we’re spending more than that on military hardware that we don’t need, what would it matter.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          Thanks everybody for chiming in; you’ve given me something to think about. Mark, that’s a really interesting chart to which you’ve linked. India’s really up there. To play a bit of a devil’s advocate, Mark, would you say that the experience of one legislator representing 100,000 people is really that qualitatively different than the experience of one legislator representing 500,000 people?

          1. Mark says:

            I do think it would be qualitatively different. I live in the First Congressional District of SC which stretches more than a hundred miles along the coast of SC with a population of 668,668.
            Here’s a map of it:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Carolina%27s_1st_congressional_district#/media/File:South_Carolina_US_Congressional_District_1_%28since_2013%29.tif

            Notice that much of the city of Charleston is not in this district. The southern tip of the city (where all the rich white people live) is part of the First District, but the predominantly black northern part of the city and North Charleston, are part of the Sixth District. It’s a gerrymandered mess. The people in the NE section of the district really have nothing in common with the people of Hilton Head in the SW. And those in the middle are different from those on each end. Then there’s the big ‘arm’ that stretches inland.

            With districts of 100,000 people or fewer this would be broken up into at least 7 separate districts, each would be much more representative of the people living there. I live in Mount Pleasant and to have a district that encompasses little more than our ‘town’ (population 70,000) would be great. I would feel a more intimate connection to our representative and he/she would truly represent our specific interests in Congress. During elections the candidates would campaign in a small area and would be available continually for questioning. With an office in town he/she could meet with constituents nearly every day of the week and year-round.

      2. Bruce Nappi says:

        Korky,

        I wish life was so simple. If the Constitution sets the stage for two parties, and that is causing the problem, we could change it. Here’s an article that discusses it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/willard-sterne-randall/founding-fathers-political-parties_b_1843593.html It’s key words are, “One of the enduring American myths we cherish is the two-party system. We must have two parties! To have three parties or more is impossible; to have only one, unthinkable… To begin with, the Constitution did not provide for any political parties. It’s not that the Founding Fathers didn’t think about them but, to them, even the word “party” was anathema.”

        While we think of the U.S. as a two-party system, it’s actually far from that. This graphic plots the number of “registered” parties in the U.S. since founding: http://www.ballot-access.org/2005/numberofparties.gif After a short stint in the late 1700’s with 2, we added parties quickly, reaching around 9 in 1992. But, there’s a difference between the number of parties, and how many people the parties represent. Here’s a graph of the membership in the parties in 1996 http://www.cc.gatech.edu/gvu/user_surveys/survey-10-1996/graphs/general/general_Political_Party-dg2.gif If you add the main line members plus what it calls Independent Dems, and Independent Republicans, it adds to 70% in the two major parties. Add in half the remaining independents and the number is 74%. So, while the other parties exist, they don’t have much influence on the POLARIZED and heavily paid for debate generated by the two leaders. Here’s a pie chart for 2014 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Political_Party_Affiliations_in_the_US_-_2014.png The current confrontational mania has pushed the two-party affiliation to 97%.

        One of the comments in this post mentioned India. Good case. Here’s a graph showing their party count https://2nafqn3o0l6kwfofi3ydj9li-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Number-of-political-parties-in-India-Registered-Unrecognized-Parties.png The 2013-14 bar shows 1643 REGISTERED parties. While far from those high numbers, European countries have good multiparty representation: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/files/2014/06/mudde12jun.jpg , with Germany having 13 parties represented in their Parliament. But even then, the number of parties that constitute a majority is small. Two for Germany and the UK.

        So, this leads us back to my point about how the public deals with complexity. When the press tries to size up the situation, what kind of terms do we hear? Liberal vs. Conservative … Greens vs. Conservatives … Capitalists vs. Socialists. These very simplified generalizations even apply in India with their 1643 parties. There is strong psychology that drives most people to black / white thinking.

        Look at this in a different way. The are very few people who would be willing to sit down and listen as 15 parties presented their views on 20 issues important to them. A presentation featuring 1643 parties would never be considered. And those that would listen to 15 could not make a decision about what they heard based on listening alone. They would need decision TOOLS like rating sheets to be able to draw some kind of conclusion. YET just “listening” is what I claim our voting process forces people to do during elections. They are barraged by candidates talking and then expected to make a decision. This is also what is expected when we have to make major decisions about big issues like Social Security.

        As I’ve said in other posts and at A3society.org , modern society has become too complex to govern with the democratic forms we now have that were first envisioned for sparse populations of farmers. If the world does not wake up to this, human society will be consumed by conflict.

    2. Dave says:

      Very thoughtful analysis, Bruce. My concern for a lawsuit of this type is that it will no doubt be adjudicated by a Democrat or Republican judge. A viable third party is the only answer to the problem, as I see it. To the dismay of some here, I think the numbers of conservative people who find no representation in the government (and that may be around half of the electorate who identify themselves as such) are the most likely source of voters in a strong third party. Look for a split in the Republican Party, as folks like Paul and Fiorina will never get anywhere with that albatross around their neck. The Republican Party split in 1854 and was thought to be headed for the dustbin of history, but by 1860 the radicals in the new party elected a president.

      1. Mark says:

        Dave,
        You make some excellent points. I think that the only thing keeping the Republican Party together is the fear that a third party (The Tea Party) would get lost and have no power or representation in Congress. If we fix the system so that third parties have realistic shots at gaining seats in Congress then they will form. I can also see a branch of the Democratic Party (the far left) breaking away.

  3. Korky Day says:

    No, I don’t have much respect for Americans Elect and all that bunch.

    However, as a veteran Green, I think the decision to use their $ is wise.

  4. Robert Milnes says:

    PLAS could bring the Green and Libertarian parties together.
    But The ZOG wouldn’t like that.

  5. Bill says:

    Did the Libertarians and Greens really miss the fact that the Petition for Rulemaking filed by Level The Playing Field (LPF; Petey-peet Ackerman’s sock-puppet organization) specifically called for the ONE highest-polling third-party or independent candidate to be given a place in the debates? And (as stated in the complaint itself), that LPF intends to recruit an “independent” candidate for president (AKA, Michael Bloomberg, Ackerman’s BFF). And do either the Greens or the Libertarians really think that their own widely unknown candidates could have an ice cube’s chance in hell of outpolling a billionaire independent with wide name recognition and backed by his fellow-billionaire BFF?

    Just how droolingly stupid are these clowns, anyway? This suit might as well be called Bloomberg v Everybody Else. Inconceivable to me that they wouldn’t bother to do their homework regarding Ackerman before having unprotected sex with him.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Bill’s right: the lawsuit vs. the FEC clearly, repeatedly states that Americans Elect/Level the Playing Field DOES intend to run candidates for President in 2016, even while Americans Elect/Level the Playing Field emphatically declares in public that it DOES NOT intend to do so. See the evidence of this duplicity in action for yourself: http://irregulartimes.com/2015/06/23/level-the-playing-field-to-public-were-not-running-candidates-for-president-lpf-to-fec-yes-we-certainly-are/ .

      There are legitimate questions about fairness in the presidential election contests. Big-money-funded shenanigans like this are transparently problematic and don’t help the cause.

  6. Mark says:

    I agree with the complaint that the 15% rule sets the bar too high for third party candidates to get over. It’s a ‘Catch-22’. You need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to get the name recognition that would earn you the 15% to get into the debate, but without a guarantee of getting into the debate, there’s no way to feasibly raise that much money.

    There does, however, need to be some sort of minimal expectations for a candidate/party to gain access to the debate. It would be chaos if every minor candidate and party were guaranteed access. I think that if a candidate is registered in enough states such that the total electoral college votes of those state constitute a majority of the electoral college, then a candidate should be allowed into the debate. Only candidates who have a mathematical chance of winning will be allowed to debate. Getting on the ballot of enough states would require a national campaign and considerable public support. It’s enough of a hurdle to weed out a lot of fringe candidates, but still allow third party candidates access to the debates.

  7. Robert Milnes says:

    The 15% hurdle is not a problem…IF enough voters think a candidate/ticket JUST MIGHT win.e.g.
    Teddy Roosevelt
    Ross Perot
    And a progressive/libertarian (PLAS) ticket JUST MIGHT win.
    It could draw upon a HUGE reservoir of potential voters.
    The apathetic. The independents, the alienated from the democratic party progressives, the alienated from the republican party libertarians. ETC.
    A LOT more than 15% there.
    But no, the ZOG will resist this.

  8. Stephen Kent Gray says:

    On March 24, 2016 Monmouth University Polling released their March 17-20, 2016 poll results.

    http://www.monmouth.edu/assets/0/32212254770/32212254991/32212254992/32212254994/32212254995/30064771087/7714a05b-515f-4ad3-bdaa-e72a6e5f8e61.pdf

    Hillary Clinton 42 (6-88)
    Donald Trump 34 (3-70)
    Gary Johnson 11 (4-16)
    Other Candidates 1 (0-3)
    No one 7 (2-10)
    Undecided 5 (2-10)

    Numbers are percentages with registered votes and the ranges from lowest to highest among specific deomgraphics in parentheses. Party includes Republicans, Inpdepedents, and Democrats. Genders includes Males and Females. Age includes 18-34, 35-54, and 55+. Race includes White and Other. States include Swing, Lean, Red, and Blue from their 2012 election categories not their 2016 roles.

    Even if the lawsuit doesn’t go anywhere, Gary Johnson may rise to polling at 15% or more. He is already at 16% with Independents and Age 18-34.

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