I understand that this party is neither left nor right and which is part of the reason it attracted me. I appreciate the hybrid of paleocon Buchanite and progressive Naderite which reflects on my personal views. I have long been politically homeless searching for a group as such and now I found one.
My question is in regard to candidates how far to the left or right should we accept candidates. Should we accept Paleocons like Buchanan and progressives like Nader or should we be weary of any candidate that is to far to the right or to far to the left?
First, any candidates intersted in running as a CP candidate or any candidate that we are seeking/considering will first need to agree to the clean elections/good government items on our candidate declaration form. We want candidates that want to help the Citizens Party grow and thrive. Too often we find that candidates tend to look out more for themselves. They want to know how the party can help them, but show little interest in also helping the party grow. When candidates get involved with the party, it will help the party grow. When the party grows, it can then be in a position to better assist the candidates. We will not be endorsing non-Citizens Party candidates, including independents.
We want candidates that truly want to improve the lives of the people (on a local, state and national level) even if those people will not or did not vote for them. We want candidates that care about our nation and want to help find and/or promte sustainable, common sense/ pragmatic solutions. We want candidates that are not afraid to tackle the really tough problems, even if discussing those problems aren't always popular. We want candidates that have an eye towards solving the long term problems and want to make America stronger. The Citizens Party has a thread of restoring American self reliance running through the platform. We naturally want candidates that are a good fit within our platform. It is much easier to find voters that agree with most of our platform than it is to find candidates that ageee with most of our platform.
I think it is safe to say that we do not want candidates that have already had four or five failed attempts at running for office. We want candidates that have a chance of winning. We do not want fringe candidates. We would prefer not to run candidates that have run for office with other parties (including third parties) recently.
We do not want candidates that strongly identify themselves as very liberal or very conservative. If they have those labels, they most likely do not hold enough common ground with our platform. And we do not want to be painted, or labeled as a left or right wing party. A left or right wing third party will not win. We would never amount to much more than a protest vote and be limited to a label of spoiler. Folks will say that our candidates are just helping one of the other parties. We must attract Independent, Democratic and Republican voters. We will likely attract some Greens, Reform and Libertarians around the edges. But, we want and need a certain percentage of voters from all three of those big voting blocks to be successful.
We must avoid being boxed into a liberal or conservative label at all costs. The press and the major parties will attempt to do that to us. They successfully hijacked the Tea Party (which started out with a healthy mix of independents, democrats, republicans) by inserting right leaning leaders and manipulating the media coverage. Now the Tea Party is largely seen as the fringe wing of the Republican party. Not only do we have to be careful to select candidates, but we must also be careful in selecting the various party leaders at all levels.
A pure Ralph Nader is probably too far left on too many issues to comfortably fit into our party. Pat Buchanan is probably too far right on too many issues to comfortably fit into our party. I like both of those figures. Both have some views that would be attractive to our voters. But, neither of them would be a good fit issue wise, both are boxed in with left/right labels and just as importantly, neither of those candidates could win a general election. We want to win elections. We do not want to be a just another third party that might win a few local elections in a few communities around the country, but has no chance at winning Congressional or Presidential elections. We don't want big personalities or giant egos. We want real candidates that can connect with the average American.
The candidates that best fit our party will be candidates that have a mixture of views. A mixture that shares enough common ground with our platform. We have already had a long list of possible Presidential candidates submitted by our members. Very few of them (probably 3 or less) appear to share common ground with most of our platform. We want candidates that look at each issue, carefully examines it, finds the root cause(s) and attempts to find workable solutions. We do not want candidates that simple try to just fit every issue into their big government or limited government agenda. A left leaning candidate might believe that government is the answer to our problems and a right leaning candidate might believe that the private sector is always the best way to go and people should take care of themselves. The Citizens Party believes that sometimes Government is the answer and other times the private sector provides the best answer. It depends upon the issue and the situation.
Candidates that are straight centrist accross the board on every issue and who simply just want to compromise on every issue will not be the answer either. Michael Bloomberg is an example of a guy that has a mixture of views, but his mixture of views do not match up well with our views. He has different priorities and a different vision of America.
Many of our candidates will likely need to be new to politics. Running candidates with a long track record or voting record as a liberal or conservative (or democrat or republican) would not be in our best interest.
We have to find our own identity and largely develop our own candidates. We will find our candidates as long as we continue to focus on building our organization, filling positions with people would agree with the platform, holding meetings and getting people registered. If we build it, they will come. We don't need to focus too much on our candidates right now. We have much more important tasks to complete. If we start gaining ballot access in states like California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Michigan then everything else will start to snowball and fall into place with hard work. We will get the attention and the candidates that fit best with our movement.
I consider both of those presidents as centrists.