...Ron Paul is a patsy, or a reliable stooge--the Denny Kuciny of the Republican Right, a convenient sheepdog to herd the slouches and stragglers back into the sheepfold.... They reinforce the loyalty of the more ideological fringes of the parties while also ensuring that many marginal types hear some hint of hope, honor, decency . . . reform within the system. Well Ron Paul might not win, some libertarian somewhere is telling himself, but if he can at least run a campaign . . . You fool; you rube!
If you want to know anything about the diversity of the modern American governmental campaign, you can tell a lot by the fact that you have a bajillion candidates in the primaries and... two, consistently, for the general election.
I know that the system is like totally fucked for ever and ever and it'll never really give us anything, but if I wanted to improve it ever so slightly, I'd introduce the same chaos of the primaries to the general election campaign. Top four candidates at least. Fuck, if the SWP is on my ballot, why aren't they on CNN? Let's make this interesting! Get every fucking crazy in the world out there! I don't want to wait once every millennium for a Ross Perot! I want the floor show in between episodes of mass murder, national theft, and gross corruption to be as entertaining as possible.
But in seriousness, Ralph Nader got three quarters of a million votes in 2008. Bob Barr, running for the "Libertarian" party, got a half million. Those people matter (pardon the melodrama), and odds are they cared a hell of a lot more than most of the people who followed one of the main camps out of a sense of obligation. In all honesty, can anyone say that things would be damaged if we just invited two more white dudes (usually) to the presidential debates? What the fuck is wrong with us that nobody seems to be bothered by this? The two-party system is enshrined by our shitty constitution de facto, but it's never specifically mentioned. Um, right?