August-September, 1980 Home   Newsletters

October, 1980

November, 1980

Juveniles and the Justice System
President's Message (Barbara Farwell)
Toot Your Horn
October Units
City Prosecutor Forum (Barbara Farwell)
Presidential Elections Forum (Pat Shutt)
Learn to Lobby Workshop
Happenings at Honolulu Hale
League Office in an Election Year (Carol Whitesell)
Election Day Anecdotes...
Big Winner!
Thoughts on TheBUS (Ghost Rider)
Year of the Coast
Aloha Tower Festival

President's Message

The National League has been in the headlines recently with the "debate over the debates" controversy. We have been criticized and praised, denounced at arrogant and lauded as open-minded. But sometimes lost in the controversy is the real issue -- that of the role of third parties and independent candidates in American politics.

At the recent State League workshop on presidential elections, several speakers reminded us of the barriers to those running for president outside the two major parties: structural barriers, such as state-by-state ballot requirements; institutional barriers, such as the electoral college; cultural barriers, such as the historical notion of third party candidates as frivolous or even dangerous "fringe" elements. Such candidates have enormous difficulty getting media attention and raising money.

As the workshop speakers also noted, no independent or third party candidate has ever been elected president. But such candidates have raised issues not being discussed by the major party candidates, and therein lies one of their greatest values, one that League is now affirming.

The National League was heavily criticized in 1976 for not including independent or third party candidates in its presidential debates. This year the League opened up the debates by setting criteria by which independent and third party candidates could participate. This should remind people that there are more than two candidates for president, and it also expands political debate and public discussion. (Your local Board supported a further move by suggesting to National that a forum be put together of all eligible candidates who could theoretically win by being on enough State ballots to receive at least 270 electoral votes.*)

No matter what our political views, we can be proud of National League as a power broker. It is a role to which we are becoming more and more accustomed, and while we may not be perfect at it, we're trying. Best of all, we here in Honolulu have found that we can transpose the national experience to a local setting. "Power broker..." Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

*Letter can be read in office, in Honolulu Board Reading File.

Barbara Farwell

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