Third parties have long history in local, national politics

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The 2013 election in New York City is coming soon and it includes both the primary and general elections for mayor and all elected executive city officials — that is, in addition to the entire City Council being up for election or re-election.

As in previous campaigns, third parties have played a significant role in adding to the political strength of candidates. The Independence and Working Families parties have chosen mayoral candidates, and the Conservative Party will be choosing its in the near future.

Although John Catsimatidis and Joseph Lhota are probably considered the two most likely candidates to receive Conservative support, nevertheless George McDonald has asked for Conservative backing.

In a recent interview with Queens Republican Party Chairman Thomas Long, we discussed the upcoming mayoral race in terms of the Conservative Party’s views of the campaign. When asked what generally is the Conservative Party’s main concern in choosing a candidate for mayor, he said the candidate should give some priority to the taxing policies of the city government in addition to creating jobs in the private sector.

Long also mentioned that the anti-crime policies of the last 20 years, including stop-and-frisk, should continue. Long believes a Conservative Party endorsement is important, since it could determine the election results this year.

Regarding former Gov. George Pataki’s endorsement of Catsimatidis for mayor, Long said he was not saying Catsimatidis is not the right candidate, but he thought Pataki should have waited a while. Long believes it was too soon for an endorsement.

The Conservative Party will probably make its decision about its mayoral candidate in March or soon after that.

Long also said there is a need for strong leadership in the mayor’s office to lead a city of 8 million people, especially during this time of economic crisis.

Long will lead a Conservative Party county organization in the battle for the mayor’s office. He intends to continue the fight to bring more conservative-minded people to public office.

Third parties have always been an important part of the American political landscape, especially in New York City after World War II, when a group of third parties entered city politics from the 1940s to the ’80s.

Among these political parties were the American Labor, the Socialist Workers, the Liberal, the Right to Life, the Conservative, the Independence and the Working Families parties.

Over the years, third party endorsements formed the winning margins in various close elections in New York City and the state.

We have in the past referred to American politics as having a two-party system. That is not exactly the case, since we have had several third parties run nationally and affect the national outcome.

The 1912 presidential campaign, for example, had Republican William Howard Taft, Democrat Woodrow Wilson and third party candidate Theodore Roosevelt, who ran on the Progressive Party ticket.

With the Republican vote split between Taft and Roosevelt, Wilson was able to win.

The GOP began as a third party in the 1850s and became one of the two major American political parties in 1860 with the election of Abraham Lincoln. As time goes by, there probably will be more third parties coming into being in the American political system.

Posted 12:31 am, March 29, 2013
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