Will Rogers once famously said that: “The more you read and observe about this politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that’s out always looks the best.”
The established political machinery in Connecticut is gearing up for the November big event: the election of a governor to lead the state for the next four years.
The Democratic Party has determined that it is in its best interest to stick with the incumbent.
I have been a lifelong Democrat. My parents left Puerto Rico in the 1950s and made Bridgeport their home. They registered to vote as soon as they arrived. They registered as Democrats and when I reached the legal voting age, the first thing my dad did was make sure that I registered to vote, also as a Democrat.
After all, the Democrats were the party that celebrated the worth of the average citizen and looked out for the common person.
Sadly, the Democratic Party that I once was honored to serve in a variety of positions from delegate to national conventions, deputy counsel to the Democratic State Central Committee and in leadership positions in national, state and local Hispanic Democratic organizations, has morphed into a party which promotes corporate welfare, rather than worker’s welfare.
The Republican Party, on the other hand, isn’t quite sure whether it wants Wall Street or Main Street, diversity or uniformity, or just a chance to be relevant. It seems that it has resigned itself to be Connecticut’s perpetual minority party or, as in Bridgeport, the Democrats’ wholly- owned subsidiary.
Until very recently, those were the cards dealt to the taxpayers and residents of Connecticut, a choice between two not-very-different political parties or, as is often said, a vote for the lesser of two evils.
Enter Jonathan Pelto, a potential independent third party contender for governor.
The mere fact that he is considering forming an exploratory committee to determine if a credible third party independent campaign for governor can be organized, is creating, what we would say in Spanish, “un revolouz.”
Spoiler, extremist, and egomaniacal are some of the favorite terms used by those in possession of political power, to describe a third party candidacy. Every effort is being made to marginalize a third party opponent, from ridicule to character assassination.
It is tragic that our democracy has been so co-opted by an elite group of privileged power brokers that it cannot tolerate third party candidates.
Third parties should not be dismissed and disrespected in this manner.
They should be encouraged. Third parties force the candidates of the two major parties to confront and address issues they would rather not talk about. Third parties ask tough questions, which establishment candidates would rather not answer.
They make the major party candidates nervous, and that is always a good thing.
Issues such as the corporate control of public education, the erosion of local control, politicizing the courts and the justice system, and a disproportionate tax burden on the middle class are only a few of the issues that would be subjected to a comprehensive review and discussion with the presence of a third party candidate.
A third party candidacy in Connecticut, the Land of Steady Habits, will provide an opportunity for hope and a greater participation by many who feel as Will Rogers declared “that each party is worse than the other.”
Our Democracy is on life-support; a third party candidate can supply some much needed oxygen!
Carmen L. Lopez of Bridgeport is a retired Superior Court judge