Thursday, September 09, 2004

Good Stuff From Gividen Campaign

Libertarian Kenn Gividen is running a fine campaign for Indiana Governor. For a third party candidate, the usual major obstacle is ballot access. Just ask Ralph Nader. Of course, here in Indiana, the LP has managed that issue. The next greatest obstacle is inclusion.

Kenn is being included in the only gubernatorial debate, along with incumbent Joe Kernan (D), and fellow challenger Mitch Daniels (R). Indy Star article. The debate will be held at Franklin College on Tuesday, September 28 at 7pm. They will air on WFYI-TV and WFYI-AM.

Interestingly, the Kernan campaign is taking credit for lobbying on behalf of Kenn:

"Kernan's campaign, (campaign manager Bernie) Toon said, insisted on Gividen being included, since Libertarian candidates were included in debates in 2000 and 1996."

Of course, the conventional wisdom is that any Libertarian candidate takes votes away from an Republican candidate, so I'm sure that this is the real motivation. That's fine. We'll take it.

Gividen's opponents take their own inclusion for granted. Being Coke and Pepsi will do that for you, I suppose. So what do they do with their own automatic inlcusion and dominance? One of today's Star editorials reveals that Kenn is the only gubernatorial candidate to have completed the Project Vote Smart's National Public Awareness Test. It isn't that the other guys are too busy. They're afraid to answer. Per the Star:

"It's not that either side claims bias in the survey or partisanship on behalf of Project Vote Smart. Political consultants in both parties, however, are advising their clients not to be specific about issues for fear of alienating voters or providing fodder for their opponents.

Such a dodge is unacceptable. Candidates must be willing to answer questions that reveal their stands on key issues. Voters should demand it."

Then again, voters should demand total inclusion. Alas... It takes time. A third party has to be three times as good in order to overcome the usual two-party-system biases held by the average American just to get to credibility. Kenn has done some things to help gain credibility with people that usually don't look to LP candidates to back.

Prime example is on the issue of new terrain I-69. Both Kernan and Daniels are in favor of it, while Gividen is against it. Environmental supporters are furious with Kernan for his position, and many are turning to Gividen.

Third parties with ballot access offer the opportunity to shake up the status quo. If not for Gividen, I-69 would be a dead issue. Sure, the Greens could try to make it a live one, but they lack ballot access, so Kernan and Daniels can ignore them out of hand. In league with the LP, the opponents of I-69 have a voice- one that must at least be observed and weighed carefully before being dismissed.

I'm still looking for Gividen to hit a home run on an issue where D's and R's are in agreement. I'm afraid that while I-69 is a good issue to build new bridges on, being seen as a regional issue, it does not hit home with all Hoosiers. In the meantime, I'm delighted with the new ground his campaign is covering.

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