Disenchantment with the two-party system is rampant. The supposedly roaring economy notwithstanding, real life for most U.S. workers is unpaid bills, mounting credit-card debt, job insecurity, declining real wages, and vanishing benefits. In the race for president in 2000, many of them will be looking outside the Republican and Democratic parties for a candidate who promises to defend their interests against the fat cats.
Patrick Buchanan, who wants his newly adopted Reform Party (Ross Perot’s creation) to embrace him as its presidential contender, knows this. These days, Nixon adviser Buchanan sounds practically socialist as he rails against global corporate piracy and U.S. military adventurism. To hear him tell it, he’s the average working stiff’s best friend.
Hardly. Multimillionaire Buchanan is a consummate D.C. insider and the same old welfare-slashing, queer- bashing, foreign-worker-blaming, women’s-rights-hating America Firster he’s always been. His 1996 campaign cochair was Larry Pratt, known for his association with the Christian Identity Movement and Aryan Nations.
yet all of a sudden Buchanan seems to be making new friends. It’s rumored that some Ralph Naderites are considering joining Buchanan on the Reform Party bandwagon. Buchanan’s most notorious emerging alliance, though, is with supposed leftist Lenora Fulani, an African American leader in the cultish New Alliance Party who ran for president in 1988 and 1992.
Fulani and the NAP have been travelling steadily rightward and have ended up, like Buchanan, in the Reform Party. The mock Marxist Fulani and her new party colleague, the populist poser Buchanan, have a lot in common — anti-Semitism, nationalism, and highly efficient and lucrative fundraising machines, just for starters. In recent weeks, Fulani and Buchanan have “done lunch” and traded political compliments with each other in the press.
The moral of this story is clear. Rightwing electoral hopefuls, including ones with undeserved progressive auras, are out there making alliances with each other. Leftists who care about voters having a workingclass alternative to the business-as-usual Republicans and Democrats would do well to do the same.
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