This year, members of the Reform Party, a political party formed eight years ago, are not only fighting for what they believe, but fighting each other as well. They’re struggling to decide who can best represent them in the upcoming election.
The Roots of Reform
The Reform Party wants to reform, or change, the government, which is how they got their name. They feel past governments have acted unfairly in terms of campaign laws, economic policy, and the influence of “special interest groups,” or powerful groups of people coming together for a specific political goal.
Representing the Reform Party, which he himself founded in 1992, Ross Perot ran for President in 1992 and 1996, but didn’t win. Perot isn’t running this year, so his Reform Party is looking for a new candidate to support. On August 10, the Reform Party held its convention in Long Beach, California to choose that candidate.
Two Men, One Role
Two men, Pat Buchanan, and Dr. John Hagelin, wanted to be nominated as the Reform Party candidate. Buchanan has run for President before, representing the Republican Party, and is also a television commentator. He recently chose Ezola Foster, a former typing teacher, as his running mate. Dr. John Hagelin is a nuclear scientist who is also the presidential candidate representing the Natural Law Party. As his running mate, Hagelin chose Nat Goldhaber, the multimillionaire founder of a popular website.
Dr. John Hagelin is seeking the Reform Party nomination
When the lively and often confusing convention was over, both Buchanan and Hagelin supporters claimed their man had won the nomination, though Buchanan received a majority of the votes. The winner will receive $12.6 million from the government to support his campaign. The government offers this money, called a “matching fund” to give candidates with less money a better chance of competing. Buchanan and Hagelin are going to court to decide who gets the funds.
Is the Party Over?
Estimates say that the Reform Party will probably get less than 4% of the vote if they even make it onto the ballot. But if the race between Al Gore and George Bush is very close, that 4% could make a big difference in the end. And making a difference seems to be what the Reform Party is all about.
-By Ann Ford