Mike Gravel was my favorite pre-candidate as the 2008 US presidential race got started1 The longer this campaign goes on, the more I realize why I liked him so much: For an advocate of a multiparty system, there can be no better candidate than one who:
(1) Endorses a candidate of one party, while (2) suggesting he will run for the nomination of another, while (3) still officially a candidate for the nomination of yet another.2
The first two points refer to a remark he made to Reason magazine on 18 March:
â€œIâ€™m more libertarian than Ron Paulâ€¦ I just endorsed Jesse Johnson to give him a leg up over Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader.â€ The obvious question: Since Gravel considers himself a libertarian, would he run for the LP nomination? Yes.
When Gravel endorsed Johnson, the latter candidate crowed about how this was “the most unprecedented cross party statement of support.”
Now The Caucus blog at the New York Times reports Gravel is indeed seeking the Libertarian nomination.3 As for the man himself, Gravel really is more Green than Libertarian.4
And, honestly, if Mike Gravel actually had enough influence to keep McKinney or Nader from getting the Green nomination, Bob Barr5 from getting the Libertarian nomination, while having debated earlier in the season on stage with the Democratic pre-candidates, I would say that he had performed quite a service to our multiparty system (such as it is).6
Update: While my title is somewhat flippant, “fusion” is actually not a bad idea at all, and evidently it is something Gravel has in mind. From a comment at Third Party Watch:
The Senator would like to become the â€˜fusionâ€™ candidate in this election
â€”J. Skyler McKinley
National Multimedia Coordinator
Mike Gravel for President 2008
Apparently there was a Greenâ€“Libertarian fusion candidate for US Senate in Maryland in 2006 (Kevin Zeese). I do not know if that is feasible elsewhere, but I certainly like the concept. While there are many differences between Greens and Libertarians as parties, the basic idea–to unite all non-authoritarians and non-imperialists in a “big tent” (not that it would be all that big, I realize; Zeese got 1.5%) is sensible until such time as we have proportional representation and ranked-choice voting and other rules changes that make a multiparty system more feasible.
I doubt this is feasible under the ballot-access laws in most states, however, though that is not my specialty by any means.
- To the extent that he could be said to have been in the race, that is. [↩]
- Now that he has stated on the campaign website that he is joining the LP, I assume he has formally withdrawn as a Democratic candidate (as if any Democrats would notice). However, a little time searching for such a statement turned up nothing. I would add that there is no longer a map on his campaign’s front page showing the states in which he is on the Democratic Party primary ballot. Maybe he was not on the ballot in any of the remaining states, anyway. [↩]
- Presumably he will have to withdraw his candidacy for the Democratic nomination now. [↩]
- Whenever I think of Gravel as Green, I think of all those mobile home park with â€œlawnsâ€ of, well, green gravel. [↩]
- Yes, that Bob Barr. Steven discusses. [↩]
- At last check, he had won about 0.1% of the Democratic primary vote! [↩]