After thoroughly studying the present crowd of presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat, I surmise that maybe 2008 may be the year for an independent presidential candidate who can pull it off. It has been a long time coming for me as I became a declared Independent Voter back in 1988. Now personalities such as Lou Dobbs on CNN News are pushing for all of us to consider doing such through his recent book "Independents Day." As he stumps, there is frustration with both political parties to the extent that it doesn't matter who is in control. The issues remain the same and the solutions still never come. What difference does it make?
This field that we have now is most disappointing from my point of view. We have a team made up of bigots, crooks, neophytes who haven't led an organized picnic, flip floppers, jokesters, racketeers, weirdo's, and some without an ounce of a leadership trait. We are in trouble if this is the best we can do. If we don't watch it we can have the lowest voter turnout in history and that would be bad for the safety of democracy. Democracy is supposed to be about choices. What we have now is "Who's the lesser fool?" or "Who will do the least damage?"
My friends, we are in serious trouble. Our adversaries are smiling. We have a CIA that is a total mess and no one with an ounce of courage to bring them under control. Will America actually have a president, in effect, or just a puppet for the military/industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower's prophecy alerted us about.
Third or independent parties have had a profound effect on our national elections since 1992. Ultra-conservative and pro-business advocate Ross Perot became a formidable force in the 1992 campaign. Reaganites were upset that George H.W. Bush reneged on his pledge of "no new taxes."
Perot seized the moment and built a formidable constituency. His organization earned so much respect that he was allowed to enter into the final presidential debates. He didn't win, but what he did was quite serious and historical.
He took enough votes from the incumbent and heir to the Reagan Legacy, President George H.W. Bush, that William Jefferson Clinton pulled the upset and the Democrats took over the White House.
Eight years later, Election 2000, we saw a similar action. Vice President Al Gore and his boss, President Clinton, did not deliver on many promises made to the far left environmentalist organizations. There was anxiety about this, and the Republicans certainly weren't going to accommodate their extreme proposals. Thus, that old "fifth wheel" Ralph Nader steps in with his Green Party to run as the environmentalist candidate. He ran a good organization but it did not get the props that Ross Perot had in 1992. Still the votes gain by Ralph Nader and the states he had impact on made the difference in the election. Al Gore would have defeated George W. Bush if the Nader votes had gone to him.
That's two out of the last four elections were decided by third party activity. It is not far fetched for an independent to step into this topsy-turvy 2008 election and make a difference – maybe even come out victorious.
Who could that be? Whoever it is they are going to have to be able to generate instant cash to meet the promotional and advertising demands. It will have to be someone who has experience as a political executive, such as a governor, mayor of a big city, top cabinet official.
It will have to be someone who will address the major issues that are being ignored by the current two gangs of "wall bumpers" — The Iraq War, Social Security, Medicare, Healthcare, Energy, Immigration, Education, Subprime Mortgages, Taxation and the economy as a whole, such as our shrinking dollar versus the EU and Yen.
There are some who think current New York Mayor Blumberg is likely to get into the fray as an independent. He certainly has the money.
His net worth is somewhere near the $200 billion mark. Is he of the right mind and attitude? That will be the mystery if he chooses to jump in. With people like Lou Dobbs and others there could be a rallying call that could create an effective campaign and generate enough votes. Whether it is Mayor Blumberg or not, the candidate representing neither the Democratic or Republican parties may have an opportunity of historical proportions.
Lord, send us somebody.
Mr. Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.