Is there hope for the Reform Party?

A viewer asked this question on 8/24/2000:

What is a Reform Party?

stevehaddock gave this response on 8/24/2000:

The Reform Party was founded by Ross Perot in 1992 as part of his efforts to run for the presidency. The Reform Party has since outgrown him and has a number of registered members and is getting a little more organized. It's only major elected official is Jesse Ventura, the governor of Minnesota.

However, the Reform Party has gone through some bad times. It's current presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan (a former Republican) fought a very difficult convention where a good proportion of the party delegates simply walked out of the convention to start their own convention to nominate another candidate.

Reform doesn't have a well developed platform, but their candidates are generally in favour of smaller government and lower taxes.

JesseGordon gave this response on 8/30/2000:

The Reform Party actually has TWO candidates for president right now, Pat Buchanan and John Hagelin. They had a big fight during the Reform Party convention a few weeks ago, and split into two separate groups. Perot endorsed Hagelin's wing; it's up to the FEC who will get the $12 million in campaign funding available to the party. It's also up to each state which candidate will appear on the November ballot; some states chose randomly, some chose to include both. It's a mess!

This split in the Reform Party is a SECOND split; Jesse Ventura also split away from the Reform Party last year. He was one of the leaders of the party, since he was its highest elected official. The other faction, led by Perot, was the one that split into to at the convention.

I think the real tragedy is that had Perot, Buchanan, and Ventura gotten together, they could have had a serious third party right now. Perot has money; Buchanan has recognition as a serious candidate; and Ventura has political power. Those three combined make for a serious party. The tragedy is that those three couldn't get past their differences to that point. That would mean they'd have to agree that creating a third party was more important than the details of social issues (the basis of the Hagelin-Buchanan split) or the details of who runs the party (the basis of the Perot-Ventura split).

Had they succeeded in getting together, think what COULD have happened: In 1992 & 1996 Perot is a presidential contender. In 2000, Buchanan is the candidate; he's excluded from the debates because of the 15% rule but gets a 5% showing in November so the FEC pays the party next time. In 2004, after an overwhelming re-election victory in Minnesota, Ventura is nominated as the Reform candidate for president after a serious primary battle with Buchanan. I'd say in that scenario, Ventura WOULD muster a 15% showing in the polls (nothing is better for polls than debating someone like Buchanan for a few months!), and he'd make it into the national Democrat-Republican debates. Then the 2004 race would be a serious three-way race!

Those three had the potential in their hands to reform US politics forever, and discarded it. It makes me feel like they're not that interested in reform after all.

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