tv Inside Story Al Jazeera October 4, 2014 11:30am-12:01pm EDT
>> communities trying to cope. what does the future hold? >> the economy, the struggling coal industry and healthcare are all impacting their vote. >> "america votes 2014 / fed up in kentucky". all next week. only on al jazeera america. >> democrat, republican. more americans are ready to answer none of the above, and that's having an impact on races across the country in the approaching mid terms. it's inside story. >> hello, i'm ray suarez. it's not like we've never third
parties in congress before. across the 20th center the house and senate had labor, prohibition, progression, and even socialist members. as we approach tight and decisive statewide races in senate and governors' contests we continue our america vote 2014 series. we take a look at candidates other than those from the traditional parties who are getting a lot of attention. >> the race where an independent candidate might have the most impact is kansas. control of the senate is at stake, and the incumbent senator, republican pat roberts, is in the fight of his political life. just not against a democrat. chad taylor was asked by his taylor to drop out, and was not replaced on the ballot. >> i'm greg roman. i approve this message because something has to change. >> it's a glow to the kansas g.o.p. that has made businessmen
and independent candidate greg orman a real threat. he's doing all he can to distance himself from any establishment as election day approaches. >> if i get elected to the united states senate there is a reasonable chance that neither party will have a majority. and if that happens that's a great thing for kansas. >> as in can kansas the alternative choice in the form of indians, libertarians and others has become incredibly important this election cycle and could be a deciding factor in a number of close races. >> i approve of clean water in my beer. >> the alternative could be the spoiler. the contest between kay hassen and republican state house speaker tillis is very tight. that makes haw a very important
guy. he's polling at 60% and threatening to take votes away from tillis. rand paul has-flown in to help tillis. >> you've got a republican governor, a republican house and senate, you need a republican governor, and i'm happy to be here. >> congress and the president both have record low approval numbers, that's cast libertarians, independents and others in a whole new light. if there is an energy behind the idea of another option it's source is most likely an overall contempt for both parties. a recent survey by gallop under scores this. when asked do the republican and democratic parties do an adequate job of representing the american people or do they do such a poor job that a third major party is needed 58% of respondents said that a third party was needed. 35% said that the two parties
did an adequate job. >> the country and our state needs fresh perspectives and a new vision of how political systems should be operated and conducted. >> reporter: it is in that spirit that jim jenkins has shaped the message for his campaign for the senate seat in nebraska. he's pro-life, a centrist running in a decidedly red state. his pledge is not to caucus with either party. third-party candidates are in play in congressional races in south dakota, iowa, oregon and several other races. some gubernatorial races feature third-party candidates as well. history would be made in maine if eliott cutler was to defeat paul paul la page. maine already has an independent senator in angle gu in angus king who was elected in 2012.
at a time of sagging approval for the two major parties its still the case that just about every single man and woman who comes to washington in january to swear in the new congress is going to be either a republican or a democrat. what role do third parties play? what role could they play in our politics? joining us for that conversation petcy woodruff, a politics writer for the washington examiner newspaper. michael shure, a political analyst, and ari robinoff from sirius xm radio. where is the room for the third party? >> ray, one of the interesting things when you play jim jenkins saying that his promise is that he will caucus with neither the republicans or the democrats. we elect independents occasionally in this country and when they get to washington, even greg orman is saying he'll
caucus with whoever has the majority. therisn't an independence once they get to washington. it's very difficult to take the traction you gain on a state level and then take it to washington, and then have that independence. it's too stifling with the two-party system. >> then betsy it's more of a strategy than an ideological reflection? >> if it's a campaign strategy it's not successful. most don't pull it off. in orman's case it makes sense because he's very none ideological. he has donated to president obama and hillary clinton and todd aiken before he made his infamous rape comment. it could be working, but in the other cases we see it's not
competitive and it's just changing the dynamics of the race. >> given where republicans are and given where democrats are, we've been told by pollsters we've never had party caucuses that are as polarizing as they are now. republicans bluer and democrats redder, where is the space for a third party. >> most of the third-party candidates we're looking at greg orman in kansas being the exception, are more to the fringes. berni sanders is an independent way to the left. you're seeing libertarian candidates who occupy more of the fringes on the right. you're not seeing a depolarization. it's further polarization. >> and the voter sentiment is that they one some of one and a little bit of other. >> voters want candidates who stand for something. and when they see a libertarian, they see a candidate who stands
for somebody. they don't want somebody who is playing on the team because their jersey is blue or the jersey is red. it's not about polarization pianoing people on the far right and far left. i don't think americans see washington that way. they see washington not working for them. >> what do you both think of michael's point really there is no such thing as an independent once you get here. you may be an independent back home and when you're running statewide races. >> i think one hand it's absolutely true. but on the other hand we're seeing more fracturing on the hill. in the republican caucus its divide and tense and more members of that caucus are bucking the system and trying to push out speaker boehner and photoing on foreign policies that do not jive what you would expect from them. people are going to be part of a certain party team, but on the other happened a lot of these riffs are becoming more acute. >> functionally you have to
caucus for something. i'm a senior staffer, i'm on the house side. you have to caucus for something or you don't get assigned to committees and get nothing done. i will say this, the power of leadership in particular in the house has gone way down. and members are much freer to vote to take on issues, to buck their leadership. you've seen this a lot in the republican caucus, and frankly if democrats took over the house you would see it a lot in the democratic caucus as well. >> michael, you heard betsy note as a practical matter being an independent or running on a third party line is not a very successful strategy. are we creating a new kind of electorate with less allegiance to parties where that may not be so true in coming cycles? >> you know, i don't--i see no indication that anything is happening to that degree as you described it. i think betsy is absolutely right. there is nothing that anyone who watch this is can forecast and
say, you know what, in the future these independent candidates are going to be able to win and win on mass so that there is a third party in washington, and i think that's the shame of it it all. but they do make a difference in these ideas, they do stand in the way of other candidates. that's sort of their only purpose. i don't know where the opening is. i don't have the foresight to be able to say that. but where you're seeing the kind of ideas of a third party candidate happen in washington is exactly what was described. the fracturing in the parties is real. and you see candidates on the campaign trail running against that. so you have somebody like ben in nebraska running for the senate. he'll most likely win. he is the republican running there. he has run from the very beginning against mitch mcdonnel mcconnell. the diminishing pow of leadership is the only glimmer of hope for independence when they get to washington, but winning is still very difficult even on a local level when
you're a third-party candidate. >> i think michael is making a very important point. they can change the way that the two parties communicate to voters. when a significant number of voters vote for an independent or libertarian that sends a message to the party let's in washington that there is this group of unstopped voters who are unhappy. one thing we see republicans do very obviously is try to reach out to young more libertarian leaning folks, especially rand paul talking about prison reform and changing the way we approach united states intervention. there is a sense that there are people who don't like odometer parties and they're battleground and the parties should be courting them. so whe when the people vote for a third party, it absolutely sends a message. >> we see rand paul trying to douse the hopes of libertarian line candidate in north carolina. >> well, he wants to be the majority. he wants his party to be the
majority. rand paul is a republican and make no mistake, he endorses mitch mcconnell in the primary in his own state. he's republican true and true. he recognizes that kay hagin in the senate is bad for his party. that means it's harder for his party to take the majority and harder to take a significant role in the policy-making process, and that's what he wants. >> we'll be back after a short break. when we return we'll talk about the effect third parties already have on our politics. whether it's endorsements ballot lines and support. do they pull successful candidates who caucus with the majors left or right? does it have a levinning affect on the political debate? stay with us.
with affordable housing getting increasingly scarce here, there's been a spike in the number of homeless. churches, food pantries, the city, are all scrambling to meet the demand. at the public library's main branch, homeless individuals rush in when the doors open, some are even dropped off by a shuttle bus from the homeless shelters. once inside, they log onto computers to job hunt or check email. they meet friends or just read, protected from the elements. >> for many years we would sort of open our doors and say "okay, we've done our job", because we're providing them a warm place to go if they've got no place else to be. >> now, social worker jean badalamenti will help provide information on homeless services and will "sensitize" staff. while government, residents and local businesses argue over the role of the libraries, david godeski is just glad they're here. >> having a place like this where things are controlled,
it's a godsend. >> so godeski will be back every day he can. >> welcome back to "inside story" on al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. the libertarian has a balance line in 30 states. the libertarian in 20, and constitution party in 13. while the working party has ballots in five states one of them is giant new york, and candidate have sought the working families endorsement. we're looking at third parties in the run up to third term election, might it have an effect not necessarily winning on that line, but if you have another access to a different group of voters who might not look at you when you can run in
multiple places. does it help you, or does it effect the way you talk to voters? >> without a duty. look at florida in the gubernatorial race you have rick scott and charlie crist. both of them have mere 100% name ideal, but they barely rank 42% in the polls because their approval ratings are so low. so the libertarian candidate has been competitive. he has been able to capitalize on the rand paul infrastructure existing in florida. the fact that they're see teague voters even though small, noticeable energy in favor of the libertarian, i think it's absolutely going to change an impact the way they talk about issues particularly medical marijuana issues, which is on the ballot there. >> michael, do they poll a candidate who wants to steal thunder left or right, or does the access create openings for candidates in states where that
is an affect. >> my feeling with those ballot lines and parties with so many different names it dilutes the message of an independent party. if you have an independent running as independent in this brushover that so many people give to politics they give the constitution party. they don't know what in a means. i would argue that there are a lot of people younger voters who have no idea what a libertarian is. when the libertarians formed they were very different as pointed out by ari. they were very different from what rand paul is as a libertarian. if you have an independent candidate in a state that is running as an independent it would give them far more i would say far more of a following. i do think, though, that you're seeing--for example, in maine and north carolina two states we've discussed, in maine you see mike misho the congressman from the second district running as a democrat who knows that eliott cutler got 36.5% of the vote in 2010, and needs to take
some of that in order to beat la page. they don't do it on issues but electability. if it comes down to issues it gets wonky and i would argue that it would help la page in that case. and in north carolina, they say rand paul is afraid that he'll take republican votes, which he very well may as a libertarian, but he's also for medical marijuana and those issues could attract democratic votes. i just see the messages get something die lewded that they don't stand as independents. they stand as obstacles. >> why do they court those candidates and look for their nod. >> you have a situation where it's called fusion voting. there are very few states that you can do this. in new york the democratic
candidate always wants to be on the working family parties ticket. the democratic candidate want to go on the ticket just as the republican candidate wants to be on the conservative party ticket in new york. now for voters working families andrew cuomo is a signal to andrew cuomo that i'm voting for you but i'm to the left. it's a way of pushing candidates to the left in states where fusion voting, but that is actually few and far between. the bigger cases are places like north carolina, places, frankly, like the presidential electio election 2000 which i think gives ajita. >> democrats have ajita given
the 2000 election situation. >> but the presence of another line. >> yes. >> you either don't want another human being in that line because they may end upstanding neck to you in a debate, or they'll still your thunder. don't you want to ko-op their message. >> andrew cuomo gave the working families' party a budge of things they wanted from pushing to commitment for pushing for a living wage to internal deal in new york politics where he had to campaign against a bunch of senators who had swapped the senate to republicans. he had given up and negotiated a bunch of things with the working families party. there was controversy but there was victory for labor in the state. >> betsy, there is some purpose to be played here. you could in one state threaten a candidate with an opponent unless they want to talk to you
on a certain number of key issues. >> absolutely and these third party candidates can change the way incumbents move. times they're christmas present for incumbents. paul la page has never gotten more than 40% of the main voters but because eliott cutler always fights and takes a huge chunk of would be democrat voters he has been elected and has a great shot at being re-elected. and sometimes these guys are very impactful particularly the new york case with governor cuomo. over times they do a huge favor to candidates who went further to the fringe and took their opposition in a split. >> third party races this time
complicated. the republicans need 51 senate votes to run the place. the democrats need 50. with vice president joe biden president of the senate has their tie-breaking vote to maintain control. it's easy to come up with combinations of outcomes that feature 50 republicans, 49 democrats, and greg orman. the kansas independent trying to unseat republican pat roberts in kansas. still with us betsy woodruff is a politics writer. michael shure political analyst, and ari robinoff is host of "agenda" on sirius xm radio. you can run similar placings six ways to sunday, and end up.
>> you'll see fundraising promises of other types of protection, promises of legislation, promises of prominence being tossed by both parties. i don't think that greg orman is going to win in kansas. i think that's a long shot. i think as you get closer to the election you'll get more and more dissatisfied voters rico alessing around their natural parties because the senate is so close, because electability is an issue and democrats would like to see harry reid as majority leader and republicans would like to see mitch mcconnell as majority leader. >> that would explain the downward trend for sean haw. his scary double digit numbers are now less scary single-kingdom numbers, but there is still the margin of error and depending on the poll, tillis or hagin are ahead. >> i think people do come home and that gives democrats pause in states like georgia where there are more people who can
come home to republicans. we hear so much about rhinos, the republicans in name only but there are dinos who say they're against this and against that. when it comes time to cast their vote they're going to go to the republican or incumbent. that's something that will help mitch mcconnell and help the run for governor. betsy brought up the race in south dakota, that's one to pay attention to, i believe. there is an independent there. he happens to have been a former republican senator pres presler. i think that's more than what sean haw can don't in north carolina. the democrats are going to pay more attention to that race. yes, i disagree, i think orman kansas is one ever these anoma
anomalyist states, and i don't see how pat robertson can get traction back and i don't think coming home will happen in kansas because they're not sure what their party is there. >> and you have a tight kansas governor race, which may hurt or help on the senate side, right, betsy? >> governor brown back is in huge trouble. he's far and away the governor in trouble. it's state's bond rating was downgraded. national republican editorial committee which is responsible to getting the republicans the majority in the senate is headed by jerry moran from kansas. if republicans don't get the senate majority because of the head of the nsrc could not win a race in his home state, that's going to be mortifying. there are personalty issues on the line and we'll see political muscles showing up in kansas. keep in mind, if republicans can nationalize that race and make
it about obama and capture the anti-obama anim uus. it could have effect in kansas. >> elected officials across the board, incumbents are unpopular in general. they take heat for managing the country. and when you have a situation like kansas where sam brownback, his policies have created a down grade in the state's credit rating that's going to impact your electoral process. that's coming home to roost in this election and they'll have to pay a price for it and they may take a number of governorships. >> not that i want to you look in a crystal ball, michael, are you as down cast about prospects in the senate for democrats as a lot of analysts are?
>> yes, i would say realisti realistically yes. i would say if i were a democrat i would not be excited so i would be doing what we're doing, looking at places where they might have a chance. but it's going to be a tough slot, as everyone knows. their incumbents are not performing with great strength. you look at prior in arkansas and louisiana, looking more grim every day. even colorado has turned both races have turned. i wouldn't be excited. >> that brings us to the end of this edition of "inside story." thanks everybody for being with us. the program may be over but the conversation continues. we want to hear what you think about the issues raised on this on this or any day's show. log on to our facebook page. send us your thoughts on twitter, our handle is aj inside story am or you can reach me directly or follow me @ray suarez news.