My experience in running on the Michigan US Senate ballot line as a third-party
candidate in 2018 has reinforced my perception that it is difficult for a well-informed,
concerned citizen to have any real influence on policy discussions and issues.
Ross Perot, who as opposed to Trump was well-informed on policy issues,
showed in 1992 that if we want to have our elections to seriously deal with the
issues we need to discuss, we need credible third party presence.
As a result of materials I was exposed to on voting systems as an employee of
Mathematical Reviews in Ann Arbor, I realized that we needed to introduce
approval voting into our elections if we wanted to level the voting playing field
for third-party and independent candidates. Under approval voting voters are
allowed to give one vote each to the candidate or candidates they support with
the candidate having the most votes winning. This essentially costless voting
reform would get rid of the wasted vote, the spoiler role and open up our
elections to meaningful third-party participation (see: www.nationalrenewal.org )..
For 22 years I have tried to work on promoting this election reform. That has
involved trying to raise this issue with our elected officials and public figures
with the means to do something about it. Alas, to no avail.
Because of a number of other policy concerns; e.g., our Russia and Middle
East policies, our need for a better health care system than our two parties
have promoted, and other matters discusses in my campaign literature; I
sought to get on the Michigan ballot as a third-party candidate in the hope
of contributing to some much needed discussion. As part of that effort I
tried to convince the University of Michigan, its Ford School of Public Policy
and its Public Radio Station WUOM to sponsor a program with all five
candidates on the ballot for US Senator. Also to no avail.
I also set up, as candidates do, a website www.nationalrenewalparty.org
setting out my policy views on a number of domestic and foreign matters
to give voters a sense of how I view various policy areas and what I believe
an elected official can and should do about them. I did that in much more
detail than other candidates usually do. But again to little avail as far as
I can see.
Six hundred character explanations in a Michigan paper or on a League
of Women Voters website or a few minutes soundbite on Public Radio
can do very little to to promote the serious discussion of policy issues the
country sorely needs. Until our media is willing to take third-party candidates
like myself seriously, we are not going to be able to avoid an increasingly
dysfunctional two-party system that is destroying governance in this country
and assuring an increasingly dismal future for our posterity.
John Howard Wilhelm, Ann Arbor, MI, Tel. 734/477-9942