More Voices: Our Two Party System Is Failing

The following post originally appeared on Medium.

I got an email the other day from Penn Jillette, a dear friend of mine, asking me to consider adding my name to a growing list of individuals endorsing the Johnson/Weld ticket for 2016. I have considered it, but have decided against it for a couple of reasons.

First, I’m not sure anyone needs another voice in their ear telling them how to vote. Second, even if I were, I’m still looking for my candidate. Governor Johnson may end up getting my vote, but I won’t be making an endorsement. I can’t imagine Governor Johnson will be losing any sleep over it. Considering how hard his campaign is courting disgruntled Bernie supporters, my endorsement may be the kiss death.

The fact of the matter is that I have endorsed only one candidate in my many years of public life. That candidate, as you know, was Senator Ted Cruz. Senator Ted Cruz is someone with whom I share bedrock principles and values. Additionally, as a Senator from the great state of Texas, he is someone I had the opportunity to get to know on a personal level. And, although he wasn’t a “perfect” candidate — I accept that he comes off as a bit (a lot?) stiff — the more I got to know Senator Cruz, the more I liked and respected him. The Senator is a good man who cares deeply about this country. He is a true-blue constitutional conservative. But don’t take my word for it — do your own homework.

As host of a nationally syndicated talk radio show, more often than not, I have some limited personal interaction with candidates for president who are campaigning to win the support of my audience. Naturally, my personal experiences influence my opinion. Governor Johnson is no exception. We had him on the show last month; it wasn’t exactly his best work. My biggest issue with Governor Johnson is that I don’t think he trusts the people enough. I have concerns with the Libertarian Ticket’s view on several issues, the most notable being abortion. But I also agree with many of its positions. I personally go back and forth between calling myself a Libertarian, Constitutional Conservative and a Classical Liberal. The net of my belief system: abide by the Constitution and leave each other alone. Governor Johnson certainly gets closer to that than the respective nominees of the two major parties.

RELATED: Can #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary Voters Get Behind Gary Johnson?

Though I will not be endorsing the Libertarian Ticket (I don’t plan on endorsing anyone this election cycle), I do believe it is important that more voices are heard. One of my hopes earlier this year was for a Senator Ted Cruz vs. Bernie Sanders general election, and not (only) because I’m a strong supporter of Senator Cruz. I loved the idea of having two consistent and starkly contrasted ideological directions for the future of America: Limited Government and Maximum Personal Liberty and Responsibility or Maximum Government and Limited Personal Liberty and Responsibility. This is the debate I wish we were having as a nation.

Instead, we have two candidates whose positions are almost impossible to define. On foreign policy, Hillary Clinton is to the right of Donald Trump. On trade, Donald Trump is to the left of Hillary Clinton. Even setting aside my opinion of their respective principles and values, the choice for our country is far from black and white. It feels as if up is left and down is black. I believe having a few more voices in the debates is a great idea, especially if those voices are more ideologically coherent than those of our major party candidates.

I do not know how to achieve the right balance between the competing, legitimate interests of setting the stage for productive debate vs. greater inclusivity. But I think it is important to show the American electorate that there are other viewpoints and other options. The two party system is incapable of adequately serving all of the shades of gray that exist in our country. It’s producing far more losers than it is winners. The concept of a big tent party may not be over forever, but it is certainly on hiatus.

I do hope that enough people will come out in the polling to get Gov. Johnson (and possibly Ms. Stein as well) into the debates. The more voices, perspectives, and choices (within reason — a 12-candidate debate is not conducive to productive debate (see Republican primary) the better for our country during these, shall we say, interesting (and frightening) times.

Featured Image Source: Getty Images

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?

There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…

But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…

John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...

Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…

A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...

Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…

And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…

When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…

"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…

At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…

Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…

This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…

It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.